Getting to know San Francisco

Photos from the students time abroad in California

On Monday we went on a guided bus tour of San Francisco, where we went to the beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. On Tuesday we played Baseball and some of us turned out to be really good at it. In the afternoon and evening we went to Santa Cruz. On Wednesday we went to the Oakland A’s Baseball Game.

The students visited a professional dance studio in SF to learn a hiphop/jazz dance routine. Byron was a great instructor, and the kids did well! Everyone gave it a try and had a full routine by the end of the hour and a half lesson.

We also had free time in Union Square for shopping and photos. A few students walked on to the ferry plaza building to visit the farmer’s market and grab lunch.

Learning about Native American history

Native American history, as taught by Dino, became a very interactive lesson for our group. First we learned about how they hunted deer (as demonstrated by Arsene), then we twisted hemp to simulate how they created string to use in rope and decorative jewelry. Then we made beads from sanding the shells and boring a hole in pinon nuts. Finally we tried to start a fire with a stick and a board with slots/holes cut in it. Two teams were successful in making smoke and starting fires, but I think all had a fun time learning and trying new things.

Hiking up to Coit tower

We enjoyed the views from Coit tower today, and the beautiful gardens and mansions on the Filbert steps on our way down. Ferdinand and I enjoyed a rest after the hike up to Coit tower. Christopher Columbus is the figure of the statue behind us. Unfortunately, no view of the Golden Gate today as the famous San Francisco fog was in residence.

Here is a photo showing Diego Rivera had a sense of humor…of all the frescos he painted on the interior walls of Coit tower, his painting of the SF Chronicle announcing the completion of his paintings in April 1934.

– Beth Burdick, Local Leader

An August Abroad in California

Summer study abroad students enjoying their time abroad

This is Beth Burdick, the local leader with ECI. I have been working with ECI with the Immersion team, helping to find host families for our visiting students. I am enjoying the opportunity to show the students California as they study abroad with local host families.

I’ve enjoyed meeting our visiting teens and host families. My husband, Brian Burdick, had fun teaching Baseball/Softball on Tuesday, and even recruited a softball teammate and little league coach to assist.

Visiting the majestic Muir Woods

Our first trip, was with a small group from Germany and Austria, who arrived a day earlier than the other students. Our destination was a drive up North, to Muir Woods and Muir Beach. We had an excellent volunteer guide, Linda Cahill, lead us through the woods. We learned the significance of FDR to this National Monument, and how he raced to protect this land. They stopped the bulldozers 1,000 feet from the tallest and probably oldest tree in these woods. The trees are so large that they can even survive a forest fire!

At the beach, we had fun tossing the Frisbee around, and learning “wiffle ball”. The soccer game didn’t last all that long, as running in the sand can be quite exhausting.

Touring the San Francisco Bay Area

On Wednesday, we went to San Francisco and did a walking tour of Chinatown and Union Square. San Francisco is really an amazing city, and it was great to see it through the eyes of the students.

On Thursday we went to the Pleasanton Police Station and enjoyed a tour by a Community Service Officer. Afterwards we did a Scavenger Hunt, in which we discovered Pleasanton. In the evening students and host families met for a barbecue.

On Friday we rode on the famous San Francisco Cable Cars and explored Fisherman´s Wharf. After that we went to the island of Alcatraz, where we heard a lot about the history of the island on their self-guided audio tour. The students are getting a true immersion in the San Francisco experience. More updates to come soon.

– Beth Burdick, Local Leader

STEP 1 in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard St, and Cable Cars

Touring San Francisco with the STEP 1 group was a fun adventure. We hopped off the cable car at the top of Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the city. In the distance you can see Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Here we are at the foot of Lombard Street, off on foot to explore.
Naia, Eukene, Maitane, and our wonderful chaperone Ainara hold on tight as we ride up and down the hills of San Francisco on a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf.

All of the students were together for our Friday bus tour, which culminated in the Golden Gate Bridge hike. Nick and Lacey, host family siblings joined us that day too. The weather can change quickly in San Francisco. When we began our journey across the bridge, the fog obscured the tops of the towers, and the wind blew coldly. Jakes and Edu resting after the hike. Maitane and Itziar take in the grandeur of the bay. By the time we reached the south end of the bridge, the fog had cleared and the sun shone warmly.

San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden

Friday morning began with a stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens of the Japanese Tea Garden. A visit to the de Young Art Museum included an incredible view from their observation tower. Marta notices the various neighborhoods and land features of this beautiful region.

Dancing in the Pacific Ocean

Our Friday tour continued along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, where we rolled up our trousers and tip-toed into the frigid surf. The chilly water temperature and grand vastness of the ocean inspire Maitane and Itziar to dance.

– Gerry Weiner, Local Leader, STEP 1 2012

Fun abroad in San Francisco and L.A.

Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and touring San Francisco

We had a great time doing a San Francisco tour. The highlight was walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. I hope you enjoy the photos of students!

Great America, baseball lesson, and Native American workshop

Students went to one of our best amusement parks, Great America. Shown are some of our girls lounging after going on a water ride.

We will be going to a professional baseball game but before, we had host families help us teach the students how to play the game. America has a rich history and diverse people. We had the opportunity to attend a Native American Craft workshop and learn about native culture.

Exploring LA and Universal Studios

Los Angeles was the trip the students were looking forward to the most. It was a 3 day, super fun trip filled wit excursions to Universal Studios, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, Sana Monica and Disneyland. Everyone had an amazing time!

– Sarah Pederson, Local Leader, STEP 2 2012

Diving into American Culture

Touring San Francisco and enjoying California

STEP 3 students started off their week with a bus tour of San Francisco, which included stops at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, Haight/Ashbury, Alamo Park, and Golden Gate Bridge, but they were most excited when we pulled up at Ocean Beach. Despite the fact that it was a chilly, overcast day and that you rarely find anyone swimming in San Francisco beaches, all of the students were willing to put their feet into the waves. Two brave young men, Paul and Ignacio, decided to dive right in… in their underwear!

The following day, we got some sun at the beach in Santa Cruz and spent the evening riding the roller coasters overlooking the beautiful beach.

Fun exploring Fisherman’s Wharf

The students went on a wonderful tour of the TCHO chocolate factory that included tastings of their delicious treats. We also had some good laughs as we all had to walk around the factory in hairnets (take a look at Ander and Josu below!). After our tour, we headed out to the Musee Mechanique to explore the historical and functional arcade machines. The girls enjoyed learning what their future had in store for them according to the old Fortune Teller machines. We walked through Fisherman’s wharf and saw giant alligator-shaped bread being made a Boudin, bought souvenirs, and saw many interesting street performers.

– Ashley Falke, Local Leader, STEP 3 2012