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.

Saludos,

– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2

Two great weeks in Salamanca!

Sojourns in Salamanca

Excitement and joy filled the air today as the students celebrated finishing their two weeks of Spanish classes at Mester. A special congratulation goes out to Sarah Firth for passing the class and a very difficult exam for university credit! Our Salamanca sojourn has been filled with many adventures and it is hard to believe that we’ve already been here for two weeks! In hopes to share some of the amazing experiences we’ve had I’m going to highlight some of the main events.

Cooking Connoisseurs

The cooking class was designed to be small and intimate and therefore, we split the group in two. One group went on Tuesday and the other went on Wednesday. The students learned how to make sangria (without alcohol), gazpacho, tortilla espanola and paella. After learning how to make all of these wonderful dishes they also got to eat all of them. Emily Vokach-Brodsky a self taught wonder even found a way to make her crawfish sing “Ave Maria.” After this great experience the students should be cooking connoisseurs ready to prepare a Spanish meal for the whole family!

Our spectacular scavenger hunt

On Wednesday night the students went on an amazing race to discover the secrets of Salamanca. The group was split into two teams and they competed against each other as they ran like crazy throughout the city. Needless to say we wouldn’t let them have such an adventure without having a theme. Thus, they were given a costume contest for the night to dress up as if they were going to run with the bulls in San Fermines. The winner of the costume contest was chosen by peer votes and it went out to Diego Guerra. It was quite entertaining to watch the students in full costume run through the plaza. However, don’t think that this race was easy, the questions were hard and required a lot of interaction with the locals and finding important historical sites. One random question asked, “how many windows are there in the Plaza Mayor?”

Saludos,

– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2

Bull “Fighting” in Salamanca

Salamanca 2 group learns about a Spanish tradition

Today is the first official day of the San Fermines festivities in Pamplona, Spain. To honor this cultural activity we went to the Plaza de Torros in Salamanca to get a taste of what bull fighting is really about. We were greeted by a true matador who has killed over 500 bulls the first of which he killed at age 15. He explained the sport to us as if it was a beautiful art (which he thinks is more beautiful than baseball or football).

The students were highly engaged and asked many questions such as “have you ever been hurt by a bull?” His answer was “yes.” Natalia asked if he knew the bull fighter that had a bull horn pierced through his throat. He replied “yes, he is a good friend of mine. I have his number and we talk all the time. He is doing a lot better now.”

After a demonstration on how to fight a bull he gave the students the chance to try as well. This was just practice so the bull was a special practice bull with wheels that the matador maneuvered as if it was a bull. Henry Guerra, Illana Greenberg and Nick Lvoff all tried. The rest of the students enjoyed watching this exciting event.

Saludos,

– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2

Our first day in Madrid

Salamanca 2 is ready to explore Spain!

All of the students arrived safely to Madrid. Needless to say, they were tired after their long journey. Despite being tired, they found the energy to take a nice walking tour of Madrid and see the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, and the Mercado de San Miguel. Many students purchased fresh fruit and fresh squeezed juice at the market. I was impressed at their healthy choices. While at the market they also admired the beautiful pastries, desserts, cheeses, meats and other delicacies. Food in Spain is always delicious!

Hanging out with Spiderman

While at the Plaza Mayor, some students joined in a street performance with Spiderman, which was very entertaining. They practiced their karate moves, flying abilities, and super hero posses with him. I’m sure some students will return with funny pictures from this show.

After dinner I offered to provide a special tour of the nightlife in Madrid (as a joke). However, not one student was interested in the idea. In fact one student just looked at me and said, “Can we just go to bed now?” Thus, at their request we called it a night and went back to the hotel. They were excited to get some rest, but will be ready to discover more of Madrid on Saturday before we depart for Salamanca on Sunday.

I’ll have more updates soon, and will upload photos as soon as I can!

Saludos,

– Kelli, U.S. chaperone, Salamanca 2