My Summer: Nina Sparre

Holy Cross Athletics   07-06-2017

Hey Crusaders! I’m Nina Sparre and I am from Holliston, Mass. I am one of the senior captains of the women’s swimming and diving team. This summer I went on a Maymester to Madrid, Spain. I traveled all over Spain and Portugal with 13 other Holy Cross students and I had the time of my life! Check out “My Summer”!


There were 14 Holy Cross students on my Maymester and we traveled with Holy Cross Visiting Associate Spanish Professor Ellen Lokos, and a professor from Madrid, Juan Iso. Our group was made up of five seniors, four juniors and five sophomores. There were four other student-athletes on the trip including junior Sam Devine and Erin Boddie of the swim team, sophomore Natalia Luna of the track and cross country teams and sophomore Maegan Moriarty of the rowing team. We lived, took classes, traveled and ate together for a whole month and by the end of the trip, the entire group was incredibly close! Our home was Madrid but we traveled to Seville, Granada, Bilbao, Santander, Barcelona and Lisbon. It was awesome to leave the trip with 13 new friends and countless memories!


We lived in a hostel in the center of Madrid in the Barrio de Las Letras neighborhood. We were in the middle of everything: restaurants, museums, nightlife and theaters were all within walking distance! We lucked out with amazing weather the entire trip and were treated to beautiful sunsets like this almost every night. It took the group a little time to adjust to the Spanish way of life where we would “siesta” or take a nap in the middle of the day after having a huge lunch and would eat a small dinner of tapas at around 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. After about a week, we fell in love with the relaxed way of life, the food and the bustling city we called home.

Right outside our window at our hostel was amazing live music at all hours of the day and night, and awesome street markets were everywhere. We also were lucky enough to be surrounded by great restaurants and a tapas market that had thousands of delicious different foods. I have a bunch of food allergies and I was super lucky because we were right across the street from a gluten free grocery store and down the street from a completely gluten free restaurant so I didn’t miss out on eating any authentic Spanish food.


The focus of our Maymester was Spanish theater and culture. We saw over six different shows in theaters across Spain. From the first show to the last, we were so impressed with how wonderful the performances were. After most of the plays we were able to meet the actors and talk to them about the show and acting which was super cool and it gave us an up-close look at the play. All of the plays were in Spanish, which was difficult at times but by the end of the trip, all of us could understand the plays completely and we were really proud of how much our Spanish had improved. The theaters, like this one, were so beautiful and incredibly old. The theaters made the experience of watching such wonderful plays even better!


Two other members of the swim team were on the trip with me. This was an incredible experience for us and made our bond even stronger. It was pretty easy to stay in shape because we were walking almost 10 miles every single day. Because our program was only a month, we had to cover as much ground as possible so we walked entire cities in the span of a couple days. When we were in Seville, we walked over 13 miles in a matter of hours! Over the course of our travels we went to some amazing places such as the unbelievable rose gardens in Madrid, the Plaza de España in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada.


On the final weekend of our trip after classes were over, I went to Lisbon, Portugal with three of the girls on my trip. We woke up super early to catch a quick flight to Lisbon and spent two days there exploring the amazing city. Lisbon is situated on seven hills and we definitely realized that as we walked up and down the windy, old city streets. The city is so beautiful and the streets are lined with gorgeous mosaic tiles. After walking to the very top of the city, we were able to see the entire city and the ocean from the Sao Jorge Castle. We spent the weekend touring the city, eating delicious food, and exploring the beaches and seaside towns near Lisbon. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our European adventure!

My trip to Spain was an incredible experience. I am so excited for this coming year and swim season, and I can’t wait to be back at HC!

Keep checking back to for more of the "My Summer" series.

2016 "My Summer" Stories:

Mary Patalita, Women's Lacrosse

Parker Greiwe, Men's Lacrosse

Isabela Bagi, Women's Ice Hockey & Women's Tennis

Emily Iannaconi, Women's Cross Country and Track and Field

To support amazing student-athletes like Sparre, please consider making a gift to the Crusader Athletics Fund by going here. 

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