Archives for July 2011

¡Nos encanta Salamanca!

More fun studying abroad in Spain

Everyone is having a great time! Lots of great activities happening here along with warm and breezy temperatures. The group is terrific and we are so enjoying getting to know them!

Visiting Segovia

The weekend kept us busy as we took a day trip to the famous Spanish town of Segovia. Along with a guide we explored and learned about the very old, enormous Roman aqueduct and its history. It remains in perfect condition and still functions today.

Then on Sunday, we met up and then headed to the local open air market where we all picked up fun trinkets, clothes, and a souvenir or two. Since it was hot out the group headed home for lunch and a siesta all afternoon. We wrapped up the evening by meeting up with our Language Partners for conversation practice and a tour of Salamanca at night with all of the incredible monuments illuminated.

Horseback riding

This week we also headed to a beautiful ranch where we went horseback riding, swimming & tanning at the pool, kicked around a soccer ball and even played a little golf. The ranch raises horses, sheep, and bulls. We were treated  wonderfully by the owners who spent the afternoon with us around the pool. No one wanted to leave. It was a great day!

Yesterday we stuffed ourselves silly with paella, tortilla de patatas, and gazpacho at the cooking class. Everyone jumped in and helped chop veggies, saute, and beat eggs to create the meal. We then all sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Everyone is taking home a packet of the recipes to try at home.

I’ll check in one more time before we leave on Sunday for San Sebastian to meet our immersion families!


– Jennifer Brown, U.S. Chaperone, Salamanca 3

Goodbye Santander, Hello Nerja!

Last week of travel after our True Immersion Week

“Parting can be such sweet sorrow,” and that it was in Santander. The students spent one wonderful week with Spanish families living the authentic Spanish life. They were able to integrate into the culture and life of Spain and each student had a unique and special experience. When it was time to leave, there were lots of hugs and Spanish kisses. We had to continue our journey, so we said goodbye to Santander and headed to Bilbao so that we could catch our flight to Sevilla.

Dinner in Sevilla

Upon arrival in Sevilla we were greeted by great weather. The temperature was about eighty-five degrees, which was a lot better than the usual scorching hot hundred degree weather. In Sevilla, the students were given the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens of the Alcazar. Half of the group chose to make this visit and the other half chose to relax at the hotel. Afterward we had a delicious Spanish dinner at La Cueva in the plaza Dona Elvira. Students choose between a first plate, a second plate and dessert. The first plate options were gazpacho, melon with jamon serrano or salad. The second plate options consisted of paella valenciana, fried calamari, garlic chicken or spaghetti. For dessert options were fruit or chocolate cake, of course majority of the students elected the chocolate cake! In the morning we said goodbye and headed to Cordoba.

Visiting Cordoba

Upon arrival in Cordoba, the students were given free time for lunch followed by a guided tour of the Mosque. The Mosque in Cordoba is especially unique because it is the only one in the world that has a Catholic church inside. The combination of the original Arabic architecture with the later alterations that consisted of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque design make it very authentic and interesting to visit. After this historical visit we made a relaxing visit to the Arab baths. Here the students were able to bath in pools of different temperatures and relax. It was a nice way to escape the heat and rejuvenate. Afterward, we went to an Arab restaurant and had an Arab dinner. After getting a good taste of Cordoba we left the next morning and headed to Granada.

Seeing the amazing Alhambra in Granada

The English translation of Granada is pomegranate. Thus, the city is speckled with images of pomegranates. Even the street posts have pomegranates on top. Granada was the last city to be conquered by the Catholic king and queen and thus, it has a strong Arabic influence. Upon arrival in Granada the students were given time to grab lunch and relax. Afterward, we met up to take a guided tour of the amazing Alhambra. The Alhambra (which can be translated to mean “the red fortress”), it is an amazing fortress as well as a palace. The Alhambra also has breath taking gardens that we got to explore. This was breathtaking visit was one that all the students enjoyed!

We then had a delicious dinner at Azafran. The students said it was their favorite dinner of the whole trip. They also really enjoyed the views from the restaurant which consisted of a view of the Alhambra amongst many other things. After the dinner we went to the Cuevas las Tarantos to see a Flamenco show. After this fun filled day the students were ready to go back to the hotel and sleep. The next morning we said goodbye to Granada and headed for Nerja.

Our arrival in Nerja

We arrived in Nerja around noon today. The students are excited to spend the next couple of days by the beach. We have a lot of fun activities planned for today and tomorrow however, the students will also get some time to relax and enjoy the beach. It is hard to believe that we only have two more days left, time flies when you are having fun!


– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2

Exploring Madrid with Salamanca 3

Hello family and friends of Salamanca 3 students,

This is Jennifer writing, the U.S. chaperone for the group. I work together with Ana, my Spanish counterpart, to make sure the students have a fantastic trip! Our wonderful group of ten students all spent a whirlwind couple of days in Madrid enjoying the sights, while catching up on sleep after the long flight.

First day in Madrid

Our first day in the capital took us to the Real Madrid soccer stadium to the view the grounds of this world class soccer team. We got to see a lot behind the scenes, from the locker rooms and numerous trophies to stepping onto the actual playing field.  That night we toasted to our trip together in Spain over a delicious tapas dinner featuring local specialties: tortilla de patatas, jamon serrano, calamares, and queso manchego, to name a few. ¡Delicioso!

Visiting El Prado and Retiro Park

The following day we headed out for a day of art and cultural. We started the day at El Prado museum with a guided tour highlighting the art of Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. We then took a stroll through El Retiro Park and then the students went out in groups for lunch, practicing their ordering skills in Spanish. The next visit was to the Reina Sofia Museum with another favorite tour guide, who brought to life the works of Salvador Dali and Joan Miro. We also learned in depth the meaning behind Pablo Picasso’s striking piece “Guernika.”

First days in Salamanca

After some free time Sunday morning for exploring, we packed up and left Madrid to head towards Salamanca, our host town of the next two weeks. We made a visit to the walled city of Avila, where students were able to explore and enjoy this very charming historic city. Next stop was Salamanca, where students were met by their host families who took them home to get settled in, have dinner, and to get ready for Monday morning Spanish classes. Monday students met up with their Language Partners (local university students) for continued conversation practice and to learn more about life here in Salamanca.

We have much planned for the students, and I will write again soon with more details!

¡Hasta pronto!

– Jennifer, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 3

Last days in Aix and on to host families!

This will be a quick update, and sadly without pictures since my camera is not cooperating right now! On Friday, students finished up their classes with great praise from their teachers. Next, we attended a fencing lesson!  It was a fun and memorable way to wrap up our stay in Aix. We then shared a wonderful farewell dinner, our last as a full group, and then packed up for the next part of our trip!

Saturday morning we said goodbye to David and to our French chaperone Jeremy (for now, he will rejoin us for Paris) and took a bus to Hyeres, where we met with our host families and dispersed for the week. The town of Hyeres is a wonderful spot to spend a week of total immersion, with plenty of beaches, a medieval town center, and plenty of cultural activities. I will be checking in with everyone soon and will update with pictures as soon as possible! In the meantime, the students will be in total French immersion. What an experience!

A bientot!

– Erin Simmeth, U.S. chaperone, Aix-en-Provence

Goodbye Salamanca, Hello Santander

Ready for True Immersion Week!

Our time has come and it is time now to leave one adventure for the next. Salamanca was lovely and it was filled with many great memories however, we must move on. Thus, we are off to a new adventure in Santander. The students will have a true immersion experience this week and will have the wonderful opportunity to live with a local Santander family. When we dropped them off with their families there was a lot of nervous excitement. Nevertheless, a sense of peace was brought to many of the students when they saw their hosts’ smiling faces awaiting their arrival.

We wish the students the best this week as they are able to truly experience Spanish life, food, friends, family and of course improve their Spanish speaking skills. To ensure that things are going well over the duration of their stay, Caitlin and I will be calling each student to check in with them. For the rest of this week I will not be making posts to the blog because it would be impossible to write about the various experiences of 20 students. However, I will continue to keep everyone updated on our journeys once the group reunites and heads for south of Spain this Saturday.


– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2