Walking to Santiago de Compostela
Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters
El Camino, “The Way,” is a collection of traditional pilgrimage routes that end in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. A monk said, “The only thing all pilgrims have in common is an interior necessity—I must go, I don’t know why...” As we study paths to Santiago, you will learn from—not just about—the Camino. It may teach you why you had to go, about yourself, or how you want to live. This walk is a “focal activity” that makes demands and requires discipline, helps you sense relationships even when walking alone, reassures you about unknown capabilities, and, as one writer put it, gives you a “glimpse of life-giving possibilities.”
In winter, we will study, first, the political history and the art of walking, especially the connection between walking and writing. Then we will take up the historical, religious, political, and cultural background of the Camino and its place in contemporary Spain. Pilgrims’ accounts provide many takes on why people go to Santiago, what is required—physically, mentally, and financially—for walking routes that vary from 100 kilometers to more than 1,600 kilometers, what “pilgrimage” might mean in our time, and the kinds of meanings people make of their experiences after they return. Readings will range from the mystical realm to first aid for blisters, from spirit care to foot care, and everything in between. This portion of the program will involve significant lecture time, guest presentations, seminars and writing. And we will—all together, in small groups, and alone—take some walks. A substantial independent study project will give each student a personal entrée and continuing connection to “The Way.” Projects will be designed to continue during the students’ walks in the spring.
In spring, after an in-country orientation in Santiago, everyone will take public transportation to their starting points and begin their walks. Students will continue their independent studies and will provide at least four days of volunteer service at pilgrims’ shelters along the way. We will meet back in Santiago and together walk the Camino Finisterre, the path to “the end of the world.” We’ll spend the final two weeks on campus reflecting on our experiences and, through papers, presentations, and celebrations, demonstrating what we have learned and how we have grown in all respects.
For a comprehensive program description and supplementary material on the Camino, visit http://blogs.evergreen.edu/camino/.
If you are a student with a disability and would like to request accommodations, please contact the faculty or the office of Access Services (Library Bldg. Rm. 2153, PH: 360.867.6348; TTY 360.867.6834) prior to the start of the program.
Fields of Study
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day