Summer study abroad student Tyler Habig kept a blog recording his 6 week experience at Berklee’s campus in Valencia and traveling around Spain and Europe.
9/7/2016 (Spanish date) – blog post 6
Five weeks down, one to go. It’s been an experience of a lifetime here in Europe for these past 6 weeks. I’ve met so many amazing people and I’ve learned a lot about myself and certainly a lot about music from Berklee. This week I scored the main title to a documentary called Blue Planet. I also wrote video game music to the first Jak & Daxter game.
Last Saturday my friends and I got free tickets to go to the Oceanogràfic. It’s Valencia’s aquarium, and it’s INCREDIBLE. The aquarium is actually attached to the East end of Berklee’s campus in the City of Arts and Sciences. It is a large aquarium and has similar futuristic architecture as the Palau (opera house). Many of the fish tanks had tunnels that you could walk through so the fish would swim right overhead. This included the shark tank, where there were large, scary sharks that were able to be walked under. There was a cool outdoor penguin exhibit (I guess this kind prefer it to be hot?), sea lion exhibit, and many others. The dolphin show was quite impressive with 8-10 dolphins all doing flips and tricks in sync to music. We had lots of fun, and enjoyed a couple hours there before spending the rest of the weekend in the lab scoring a scene from The Incredibles.
As an English speaker trying to teach my foreign comrades English as well as learn their languages, too, I’ve been baffled by how much I use idioms. The idioms generally don’t make sense to foreigners, and when I am asked what they mean, I sometimes accidentally explain them with other idioms. But the tables have turned and the shoe is on the other foot, as I’ve been frustrated many times when trying to speak Spanish to native Spaniards because they don’t understand my super-proper idiom-less Spanish. For instance, I ordered a chicken sandwich at Burger King and was doing well ordering (numero siete menu con una cola y lo necesito para ir) until I got to the “I need it to go“. They didn’t understand what I meant by “to go”. I just kept saying it because that’s how we would say it in America. Finally after some wild gesturing, she understood and I received two bags: one for my food, and one for my empty drink cup… strange. Anyway, afterward I learned that the phrase used in Spain literally means in order to take instead of to go so that’s where it went wrong, I guess.
Regardless of the difficulties, Spain is a lot of fun and I have many great memories. Last night, after another long week in the labs, we Berklee students went up to the rooftop of our dorm and sang and played guitar together until early in the morning. It was a special moment, and one that I’ll remember as this program comes to a close next week. Next weekend, I will post my final blog summarizing my thoughts about Spain and this trip and international experience in general including tips I have on traveling in case you ever go. ¡Hasta luego!
Final blog post
This week, Week 6, I completed my last week of school at Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain. It was stressful finishing the final projects, but it was overall a rewarding experience. I wrote cues for Far Cry 4 and How To Train Your Dragon.
Last summer, I attended the Palomar Film Music Workshop in San Diego, California, where I made many great new friends and learned where to begin with film scoring. One of my good friends from that trip, Jordyn Davis, was in Europe at the same time as me this summer, so she came over to Valencia to end her study abroad trip before heading back to Michigan about two weeks ago. I took her on a tour of campus here at Berklee, and then we enjoyed dinner and reminisced our wonderful memories of last summer at PFMW. It was great to have Jordyn visit, and she gave me some great travel advice that I wish I would have known much sooner.
Last Sunday, some friends of mine and I traveled to Madrid, the capital of Spain. We took a bus for 4 hours from Valencia. Once there, we toured west/central Madrid around the Gran Via, where our hostal was. Gran Via is like the Broadway of Madrid. We saw the Royal Palace and some monuments and tried to see The Lion King live show, but it was sold out. Instead, we got to see the St. Petersburg Ballet perform Swan Lake. Later, we met up with Claudia, a friend from Berklee session 1 who lives in Madrid, and we enjoyed dinner and drinks on Gran Via. It was a fun short trip!
I’d like to share with you some final thoughts on the program here in Valencia, Spain. During my 2 sessions, I took 4 grueling courses, 3 of which were on film music and 1 that covered video game music. I learned many useful skills that will hopefully help me get more job opportunities in the future. Some of those skills were unexpected, such as working efficiently under extreme pressure, eating less (not overindulging) in order to work more, and keeping a positive attitude in the midst of adversity. I also was able to work on leadership, planning, teamwork, foreign language, and people skills everyday abroad. I’ve never been pushed so hard to do something that I love, and I’m pleased with everything I personally got out of the program. I will miss my new friends from the film scoring group Dani, Miguel, Stephanie, Adam, Emily, Simon, and Sydney and all the other great people from around the world that I met at Berklee. I’m going to miss my incredible professors Alfons, Vanessa, Lucio, Sergio, and Fabien. I’m not going to miss my cot at the dorm, though!
Of everything in Spain, what will I bring back to ‘Merica? I’m really not sure what will stick with me. I’ve enjoyed using military time which is 00:00-24:00. I never accidentally set my alarm for 8:00pm instead of 8:00am when using military time. I now enjoy walking because I’ve had to so much while in Valencia. I also realize how crucial my cup of coffee is in the morning. I’ve come to enjoy wearing sandals and living in beach weather everyday, but I realize that probably won’t happen in Indiana.
I’m really glad to be coming back to America. I like my personal space, I like my bed, my friends and family, and my home studio. European people, I have found, don’t mind sharing space so most days I play bumper-people (think bumper cars) to get to class. It’s not bad, just different! You have to be able to hold yourself stronger to get around in crowded areas in Europe than you do in the States. So coming home will be easier in that sense. I love cooking and will be able to do that again. My diet here has consisted of bread, pan (bread), and rice. I like to cook and eat meat. As my friend Simon says, “Man need meat!”
I’d like to especially thank my girlfriend, Erin, for being so understanding of and believing in me enough to allow me to be gone for eight weeks straight (sorry!) and my parents for their support in this journey as well. I’d like to give a shout out to my brother, Daniel, who will begin a new phase of life in Japan in August. You will have so much fun!
Thanks for reading my blog in these past weeks! I hope you have enjoyed learning about my experience, and I hope it helps you if you decide to travel in the future.
Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus
6 Week Summer Study Abroad
Film and Video Game Scoring Program
Continue reading blog n.6.