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WYD: Madrid, Spain

This fall I got to start out my sophomore year with an event that only occurs every other couple of years.

WYD MassThat event is called World Youth Day, which this year happened to be in Madrid, Spain. A group of 19 students from our very own campus had the privilege to attend and experience this event. For those of you that don’t know what WYD is, it’s basically an event for young adults from all over the world that get together to share one faith, Catholicism. That doesn’t mean that you have to be Catholic, but you learn about the Catholic faith and what it’s like to be a Catholic. It was such an awesome experience that I cannot begin to put words together to describe what it was like.

We arrived on August 16th in Madrid, but our minds had been prepared for this trip much longer than that. Once we saw the crowds all over the city, the excitement began. We were all of a sudden surrounded by people from all over the world that had come to Spain to experience the very same thing that we were there to experience. Getting to know people from all over with different stories, cultures, backgrounds, and languages was the best part. Sometimes we would have to use hand gestures to communicate with them. One of the things that we did that was incredible was play games with Spanish and French speaking pilgrims, the hard part was explaining to them how to play the games when there was an obvious language barrier. We were all able to somehow manage and make the most out of it.With Iraqi Catholics

At our events we had a lot of speakers that inspired us to come home and share all the knowledge that we had been able to acquire through the Holy Spirit. We attended workshops, met with other Holy Cross schools from other countries around the world, walked through exhibitions, and participated in sacraments. We were able to walk through the streets of Madrid, screaming and chanting songs in different languages. We didn’t know if we were saying the Italian chant right or not, but at least we were trying. Also, seeing the Pope was a huge plus!

So many great things happened on this trip and I’ve got to say that the thing that I liked the most was the community that we (UP students) were able to bind together. I am surprised at how close, how quickly all of us became attached to one another, that when we all returned we became a community. It’s great to have that at UP, there are so many opportunities for us to have different sorts of communities. One of the reasons why I came to UP was because of its community it’s so tight and family like that there’s no reason why I couldn’t have chosen it.

I’m so blessed to have been given this opportunity to go abroad and meet people from all over the globe to share my faith with them and have them share what they knew with me. This is definitely one of those trips that will never be forgotten and my new friends will never let me forget it.


More about Fatima More about Fatima

Fatima Ruiz Villatoro

Name: Fatima Ruiz Villatoro

Class: Sophomore

Major: Engineering Management and Spanish


Hometown: Seattle, WA

Activities: OLE, Coffee and Catholicism, Entrepreneurship Club, College Republicans


Favorite Professor: Dr. Male

Favorite Class: EGR 110

Favorite Commons Meal:  Salmon with mashed potatoes and vegetables


Why I Chose UP: The campus was amazing and the community at this school was exactly what I wanted. I liked that my classes would be very small and I would be getting the right academic attention. I believe strongly in the mission of the school and I felt at home when I made my decision.

Favorite Thing About UP:  Close enough to home that I can go for a weekend, come back and not be totally exhausted. There are so many things to do in Portland and I like that we have a lot of studies abroad opportunities.


Advice for Prospective Students: Visit the school; you don't know what you're getting yourself into until you truly experience it.

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