Sunday, July 20, 2014

Semana 6

Hola padres, and welcome back! This week was students´ last full week of classes before they start preparing to head back to the states! 

Monday and Tuesday students went about their days with their regular schedule. We did have another Disney night on Tuesday where we watched La Serenita (The Little Mermaid). 

On Wednesday morning, students woke up early to head to the Museum of Don Quijote, which exhibited  excerpts from various versions of the renowned novel along with an audio tour guide that explained other aspects of the museum and finally gave a synopsis of the novel with visual effects and images.
Immersing ourselves in the wonder that is Quijote...

Until next time! 

Wednesday evening, some students headed over to Foster´s, a classic American style restaurant in Ciudad Real. It seems as students are neared their return to the states, their cravings for home cooking got the best of them!

 The food was absolutely delicious, and we had no problem licking our plates clean! (Not really, but you get the ideaJ)

 Saturday evening most of the students headed to the town of Manzanares to attend a traditional Spanish bullfight.Tears were shed by some, as this can be quite an emotional event, however students also enjoyed experiencing first hand this aspect of the Spanish culture.

Students wrapped up the weekend most likely writing essays and studying for quizzes that they will be hit hard with next week as classes wrap up. Students will also finish up their rehearsals for the farewell show including theater, song and dance, it´s gonna be a wonderful show!

Until next week!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Semana 5

We meet again, padres! Welcome back to the blog. This week we had a different mix of activities. 

On Monday, students had a pretty normal day full of classes, lunch, sports and theater and choir practice. As we approach the end of the program and thus the farewell show, the plays, we can say for sure that the songs and dances are coming together very nicely. 

On Tuesday, we took a half hour bus ride to a city called Almagro to watch a play called "Donde hay agravios, no hay celos" (Where there's offense , there's no room for no jealousy). We arrived well before the start of the play, and thus had time to kill in the Plaza Mayor where students ate snacks brought from home, did a little souvenir shopping, enjoyed coffees and desserts, and relaxed and chatted with each other as well as with some of the host families who came along as well. 

In the Plaza Mayor
 Just the chicas guapas
 And I guess we need one with those handsome boys too...

We had to take advantage of some photo ops with the beautiful  night scenery in Almagro of course!

 Stay tuned for the program magazine (a kind of yearbook of the whole trip) that your son or daughter will bring home, as it will feature all of the selfies and much more!

Finally it was time to head down to the theater to watch the play under the open night sky.

Almost time for curtain call!

Students all enjoyed the play very much and while the Spanish at times was difficult to comprehend, students were able to understand much more than they thought they would. They have all made such significant progress with their Spanish!

On Wednesday, per the normal ritual, we headed to the cinema and to the restaurant 100 Montaditos to chow down some delicious bocadillos. I wonder how we will survive without this place upon arrival back to the US!

Thursday we had a Disney night where students gathered at the school to view The Lion King in Spanish. This idea was definitely a hit and there are many requests to have another Disney night next week. Unfortunately, we have dozens of requests and only one night open...we look forward to seeing which flick the students decide on.

Friday rolled around and we headed out of Ciudad Real, Madrid bound!

Here we are, awaiting the train AVE, Alta Velocidad Español (High Speed Spain train) to zip us over to Madrid.

Aboard the train! 

Here we are upon arrival to Madrid, just outside the AVE station,  ready to explore the city.

 Quick pitstop for some breakfast. Here we are in one of the grandest cities in the world, and where do most of the students head for a coffee? Yep, good ole' Starbucks! Never seen such excitement over a Starbucks before, it's as if it's their first time :)

After breakfast, we separated into two groups, one headed to The Museum of Reina Sofia, and the other to The Prado Museum. 

Here is the Reina Sofia group in front of the museum.

 On our way inside Reina Sofia, posing in front of some interesting artwork that we are not really sure how to describe or interpret!

 A little Salvador Dalí inside the museum...:) Taking photos was not aloud in the Picasso exhibits :(

After touring the two museums, both groups met back up together to continue the adventure in Madrid.

While waiting for the other group, we had to get a shot with the local policía, and they were all about it!


 Here we all are at the Palacio de Comunicaciones (Communications Palace), in the shade of course trying to take as much advantage of it as we can--we've got a long day of trekking in the sun is ahead of us!

 Here we pose real quick on our way to our next stop, the Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of the Deputies)

Here we are at our destination, Congress of Deputies, about to head in and get an inside look at where the most prominent and influential Spanish politicians convene to discuss the issues of the day. Unfortunately, taking photos was not permitted inside,  but we were all amazed by the intricate architecture and beautiful ornament of where the President of Congress along with the congressmen and women meet to conduct business.

Marching our way through the streets of Madrid, heading to a meeting point where we would then depart for lunch and free time to purchase souvenirs.

 After lunch, our next stop was the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). 

Here we are about to head in to the palace.

We took a guided tour through the  palace, exploring dozens of rooms where previous monarchs and their families dined, slept, and of course, we got to see the previous thrones of the monarchs.

Sadly, our day in Madrid had to come to an end at some point. Here we are in the Plaza Mayor before we head back to the train station to travel back to Ciudad Real. Hopefully some students will have the opportunity to explore this fabulous city again if they return to Spain in the future!

Hasta luego Madrid! 

Over the weekend students unwound and relaxed with their host families. Some stayed in Ciudad Real while others traveled with their families to neighboring cities. Students are all doing extremely well and have had the time of their life, but they are beginning to grow a bit sad as they realize their journey in Spain is quickly coming to a close. 

Hope you enjoyed the blog! Until next time, padres!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 4

Welcome back , blogging padres! Can you believe we are already done with week 4?! Time sure is flying, but we are definitely having a fabulous time here in Ciudad Real. Before we get into the nitty gritty of this past week, here is a video that was taken on the way to Córdoba the previous week. Quality is a tad low towards the end, as it is a video that was accidentally deleted and then recovered. Enjoy!

 On Monday, the students got to visit the Ayuntamiento (Mayor's office of Ciudad Real, currently Ciudad Real's mayor is Rosa Romero Sánchez). The Jefe de Protocolo (Head of Protocol) as well as the Concejala de Educación (Education Counsel Representative) gave us a very nice presentation. Students got to sit in the chairs where the Mayor's office representatives sit during important meetings while we all got an insider's view of how politics work at the local level in Spain, specifically in Ciudad Real, with a special talk about the education system as well. The two representatives engaged the students asking them questions about what they like the best about the city, their future studies, the host family experience and their experiences with learning Spanish.


Tuesday students went about their normal days, classes, lunch and theater and choir activities. However, in the evening, we all headed over to a nearby restaurant to watch the USA Belgium World Cup game. While we were quite disappointed with USA's second loss, and consequential elimination from contention, lo pasamos muy bien! (We had an incredible time!)

 Students showed off their skills singing along to the national anthem before the start of the game.

Wednesday after classes, students got to attend the local cinema. Students saw either Juntos y Revueltos (Blended), Maléfica, or Xmen.
Quick shot before the movie starts!

After the movies ended, we headed to our fav spot, 100 Montaditos Restaurant like last week. I don't think students ate nearly as much, but the food was as spectacular as always!

Buen provecho! (Bon appétit, a Spanish-French translation, but you get the idea!)

Thursday after the students finished lunch, they had free time for sports during the whole afternoon. 
                            Only a few felt like hittin' the court for volleyball, but here are four, going strong!

Most interest was in soccer on this day...

...and rumor has it that the girls pretty much own the guys in soccer, so a rematch was in order later in the evening at a local park, despite the rain!

Friday was a jam-packed day for sure! We spent all day at Playa Park, a local water park where students basked in the sun, dared to go down one of daunting slides, or wade in the freezing cold water! Despite the water being like ice, the hot sun made up for it and we all had a great time.

Doesn´t get much better than this...

European style!

U  - S - A !!!! 

Luckily students saved enough energy up for the evening, since it was the night of our long-awaited 4th of July party. The party was held at a local Merendero called El Jaleo, which is basically an outdoor restaurant/bar. Temperatures were perfect with clear skies to make for a perfect evening for the event. Instructors, the onsite coordinator María José, students and their immediate and extended host families attended the event.

These kids sure know how to get down. Choir and dance afternoon activities are yielding very positive results!  Here it is...Enrique Iglesias´s ´´Bailando,´´  hands down the official song of summer 2014...

(BTW, the videos are very zoomed in, i am not sure why this is, sorry! :/ )

Un poco de limbo!

Warming up those vocal chords...

Such patriots!

Happy 4th!!!!!

Students spent the weekend relaxing with host families and friends and catching up on homework for the following week. Until next time! Hasta luego!