Lots to learn in Nerja

Improving our Spanish skills at La Escuela de Idiomas

The girls have settled into their classes and the part I like most is that they are in classes with students from all over the world. They are meeting new people, hearing new accents, but what I like most is they now know more people in Nerja because of it. Everywhere we go someone sees someone from class. The girls, “las chicas,” are doing great in school. I have only heard compliments about them and how they are doing great in class. This is the first year I have heard so much Spanish being spoken in the group; it’s awesome!

La clase de cocina or “cooking class”

Wednesday was the cooking class, and las chicas made the traditional dish “Paella” dish. With a little bit of direction, they made a delicious meal. Everyone had a different job to help prepare the food. Some made the salad, some cleaned the prawns (removing heads and all), and others cooked the chicken. It turned out to be one of the best paellas I have tried in Nerja.

¡Hasta Pronto!

– Anne Johnson, U.S. Chaperone, Nerja

We are in Nerja!

Wonderful two weeks ahead in Southern Spain

We made it to Nerja and we are settling in. Monday was the first day of classes, and after school the whole group headed down to the beach. Everyone seems to be having a great time and this group of girls is awesome. So awesome, that when I misunderstood something on the menu yesterday and fried sardines showed up to the table, the girls just smiled and tried them anyway!

I felt bad, but they had great attitudes and wouldn’t let me. I am sure the delicious fried potato dumpling that they were expecting would have tasted nothing like the fried sardines, but they were so sweet and tried the sardines. But not to worry, there was plenty of tasty food to go around so no one went home hungry.

More updates to follow, especially when the girls are “ready” for a photo of them to be taken. Thank you for visiting our blog!

Saludos,

– Anne Johnson, U.S. chaperone, Nerja

Saying Farewell to Salamanca!

Ready for our True Immersion Week in San Sebastian

These last days have been a whirlwind and a lot of fun. I am including photos of the cooking class from this week. As you can imagine, the food we made was amazing!

We say farewell to two members of our group: Chelsea Watson, a student who is returning to the U.S. tomorrow. We will miss her sunny disposition! And we say hasta luego to lovely Ana Garcia, our Local Spanish Leader, who is working now in the south of Spain. As a goodbye to them, let me share this quote from Chelsea, “Salamanca is like a beautiful pearl you find inside a closed oyster… in your paella. And, yes, all the calamari are my friends.”

Final weekend in Salamanca

We are into our final weekend here in Salamanca as we wrap things up and head north to San Sebastian on Sunday 7/31. We will spend a week there as each student lives full-time with a Basque family for a full immersion experience. We will reunite as a group on 8/7. Once reunited after the immersion, we will head to Madrid to enjoy some final sightseeing before taking off the following morning for home.

Beautiful San Sebastian

The picturesque city of San Sebastian is one of my personal favorites, located just miles from the French border in the Basque region. I will be in touch regularly with the group, will be in the area, and the students all know they can reach me at any time by phone.

So, as a final farewell to this wonderful city, ECI is taking students out for tapas tonight! ¡Delicioso! I will take a break from writing the blog next week while students are doing the immersion, as everyone will be involved in different activities with their immersion families. I’m signing off for a bit.

¡Hasta Pronto!

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

¡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!

¡Chao!

– 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!

Saludos,

– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2