UTSA study abroad students learn Spanish Civil War history in Alicante during visit to Interpretive Center

Study Abroad UMH

7 June 2024

UTSA study abroad students learn Spanish Civil War history in Alicante during visit to Interpretive Center

This activity, part of module 1 of the second edition of the program, which also included a visit to the Alicante Central Market, bomb shelters at Séneca Plaza, and Balmis Plaza, aims to shed light on Spanish and Alicante social and historical contexts, and some of the country’s history.

June 6, 2024

On Monday, Students from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) began the second edition of the Medicine and Humanities Study Abroad program, and they visited the Spanish Civil War Interpretive Center in the city of Alicante. This activity is part of the program’s first module, the objective of which is to enlighten the students on Spanish history and culture and some of the country’s historical past.

This visit was coordinated by doctoral candidate, Federico Sabater, and journalism professor, Carmen María López Rico. There, they toured the Machine Room, warehouses, and other spaces staged to demonstrate different periods of the civil war and the dictatorship that followed it.

They relived historical episodes, such as the final sailing by thousands of people aboard British ship, SS Stanbrook, bound for Algeria from Alicante during the war’s final days. The students also learned how the civilian population coped during this violent conflict, and while there, they also saw a space dedicated to poet, Miguel Hernández.

There were also stops at points of interests from the war period, such as the commemorative plaque for the victims of the Alicante Central Market bombing. That was the site of one of the Spanish Civil War’s worst attacks, committed by the Italian Air Force of Mussolini’s fascist Italy against a purely civilian population. A clock there was damaged and stopped working precisely the moment the attack began, leaving this object as a silent testimony to the massacre. UTSA students also visited bomb shelters at Séneca Plaza, and there they took part in a simulation, learning how people found refuge from air attacks.

Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Amparo Alepuz, focused the events from Monday on Spanish culture through art. She explained the Spanish Civil War to the students, and was aided by Picasso’s, Guernica. This painting depicts another bombing, this time committed by German and Italian aviation against a Basque population.

Upcoming modules in this study abroad program include events that focus on public health and preventive medicine in Spain, and they include a visit to Elda Hospital.