language

Meet the Barcelona Staff!

First and foremost, welcome to the Barcelona Business & Language Programs blog, where you can follow along with the students’ adventures each day! The Barcelona staff is settling into the university residence and finishing preparations for this summer. Take a moment to get to know them:

Amani Starnes, Program Director

Amani is thrilled to return to the Summerfuel Barcelona team as Program Director. She is a Summerfuel veteran, having directed the Barcelona, Stanford, Columbia, and UC Berkeley programs in the past. She is currently an actress, writer, and singer in Los Angeles, as well as a Performance Studies PhD candidate at Stanford University. She has worked as an academic consultant and managed educational service companies in Los Angeles and Manhattan. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, eating delicious food, dancing, singing, making art, and checking out the latest art exhibits, performances, and concerts.

Elizabeth (Liz) Stallard, Activities Director

Liz is excited to return to Summerfuel Barcelona for her fourth summer. Before taking on the Activities Director role last summer, Liz worked as a Resident Advisor. She is also an alumni of the Spain Homestay Program and will be escorting the extension trip students to Conil in late July. This past year, Liz worked for a nonprofit organization in the NYC area. Previously, she taught English as a Second Language to elementary school-aged students in Northern Spain. Having studied in Barcelona as a college student, Liz knows Barcelona like the back of her hand and enjoys sharing the study abroad experience with Summerfuel students. Liz enjoys traveling, baking, drinking iced coffees, and discovering new hobbies (like her most recent hobby, lettering). Students who consider themselves “foodies” will enjoy picking Liz’s brain for the best restaurants and cafes in Barcelona!

Now an introduction from each of our Resident Advisors:

Pedro Alemán

¡Hola! I am Pedro Alemán and I am so excited to be part of the Barcelona Staff. I am from San Diego, California where I enjoy beautiful weather, palm trees, and of course In-N-Out! I moved to Rhode Island in New England to attend college at Providence College where I received two B.A.’s in Political Science and Sociology, and a minor in Black Studies in 2017. I then moved back to California where I attended the University of San Francisco and got an M.A. in International Studies with a concentration on Latin American Human Rights in December of 2018. My career goal is to become a diplomat and a university professor teaching Human Rights and Sociology while fighting against social injustices.  Traveling, soccer, cooking, going to the gym and beach, and enjoying the city are my favorite hobbies. Fun facts about me are that I studied abroad in Buenos Aires and Argentina, can speak three languages, and was an RA for three years. This will be my 3rd summer working for Summerfuel and my 2nd with our amazing director Amani!

Matt Alrutz

Hello! My name is Matt Alrutz. I’m from Philadelphia, and I recently graduated from Penn State with a BS in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Spanish. Over the years, I’ve come to love travel and exploration, and have been fortunate enough to stay in places from the UK to Greece and down to New Zealand. This will be my third extended stay in Spain. My first was as a Summerfuel student, doing a homestay in Cádiz, and my second visit was to study abroad in Madrid for the spring semester of my junior year in college. During those two trips, I found Spain to be an incredible place, rich with culture and history, along with an abundance of exciting activities and events throughout the country. I can’t wait to get back and experience everything Barcelona has to offer with the students!

Thanks for taking a moment to meet our staff! They look forward to welcoming the students to Barcelona in just a few days.

We hope you’ll follow along with the Barcelona programs’ adventures this summer by checking back to see photos and read stories of the students’ classes, activities, weekend trips, and more. ¡Hasta pronto!

Fiesta Fin del Curso and Goodbyes

¡Hola!

Although we were very sad to see the students leave us, we enjoyed an incredible last day together on Thursday. In the morning, our 4-week students took their final exams while the students who recently arrived from Barcelona took a bike tour along the coast of Conil. At 1 pm, we all reconvened in the school to celebrate a birthday! One of our students turned 16 today so we sang to her and ate delicious cake from a local bakery that we (and especially the birthday girl) adore.

After the birthday celebration, everyone went back to their homes for lunch and packing. The students also had some hours in the afternoon to purchase souvenirs, hang out some more with their families, or meet up with friends in town.

At night, we got together for a fiesta in celebration of the memory-filled month we’ve spent in Conil. The students’ homestay families were also invited. Highlights included a hilarious parody of “Despacito” performed by a group of students, superlative awards, and a video montage of the trip. We ate great food and enjoyed the company of all the people who made this month so special.

On Friday, we made our way to Madrid. We had time for a nice stroll around the Serrano neighborhood before eating a delicious dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant.

We said our final goodbyes on Saturday at the Madrid Barajas airport. It was hard seeing such a wonderful group go but we hope they know that they will always have a home and many, many friends in Conil.

 

Gibraltar and Tarifa

¡Hola a todos!

This morning we set off for our last group excursion. Our first destination was Gibraltar. Upon arrival, we took the cable car up to the “top of the rock” where we enjoyed incredible views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the coast of Spain. On the drive to Gibraltar from Conil, we even spotted Africa in the distance! The students were pretty surprised by how close Africa is to the south of Spain.

On the top of the rock in Gibraltar, we also got to see and take pictures of monkeys. These monkeys are actually one of the main attractions in Gibraltar! Check out some of the great photos from our group.

After coming down from the rock, we walked into town to find lunch. Some students also did some shopping since Gibraltar’s main street has some British stores that aren’t available in Spain.

On our way back to Conil, we stopped in a big surf town called Tarifa. However, instead of surfing we went snorkeling! The water was pretty cold but we had a fun time anyway. After the snorkeling excursion, some students played a quick game of beach volleyball before we got back on the bus.

On another note, yesterday was our last day of surf classes. The students who recently arrived from Barcelona also got to participate and give surf a try! After surf class, we also played basketball versus some locals. Tomorrow the students will take the final exam for their Spanish classes. Wish them luck!

Cádiz, Vejer, and Last Day of Cooking!

¡Hola!

After recently saying goodbye to three of our students, we welcomed two students from the Barcelona program to spend the last week with us in Conil. After they arrived on Saturday afternoon, we took an excursion to Cádiz.

We began our tour of Cádiz at the Torre Tavira, an old watchtower. Since Cádiz has one of the most important ports of trade in Spain, the watchtowers were used to protect the city. At the time, Torre Tavira was the main watchtower since it is located in the center and at the highest point in the city.

After learning about Torre Tavira’s importance and enjoying the views from the terrace level, we took a brief walking tour of the old part of the city. After that, students had free time for shopping, exploring, and finding an afternoon snack!

On Sunday, we visited a nearby town called Vejer, where Cucu (our local assistant) and her grandfather showed us around. Cucu’s grandfather was the mayor of Vejer for many years so he was especially knowledgable in the history of the town. He told our students about a local tradition that is quite unique. Every four years, the town hall raffles off plots of land. Whichever families win these plots of land, have four years to do whatever they want with them. This tradition began centuries ago when Vejer was being constantly conquered by the Moors and then reconquered by the Christians. Since many people considered it dangerous to live in Vejer, the town began this tradition of raffling off lands to attract people to stay! Up to this day, the tradition continues.

Last night (Monday night) was our last night of cooking class. We made delicious homemade pizza. The chef also surprised the students with a cookbook of the recipes we have made together. Each student will be bringing one home!

Today is our last day of classes and also the last day of surf. We are soaking up every moment of our last week in Conil.

¡Hasta pronto!

Day 10: Final day celebrations!

Our busy, last day started at ESADE where students took their final tests and presented their final projects. The Summerfuel staff was invited to sit in on the classes to see business presentations and we really enjoyed seeing what the groups had been working on. They did a great job! Our morning at ESADE wrapped up with a ceremony where students received certificates for completing their classes.

For lunch and afternoon activities, we had groups in many places. There was a residence group (packing and resting), a group in Plaza Cataluña (buying souvenirs and perhaps extra suitcases), and lastly a Sagrada Familia group. The small group who went to Sagrada Familia today had a blast with RA Chito. Chito got them audio guides with headsets and let the students take turns “giving the tour”. One student was particularly knowledgeable and impressed the group with her previous research about the famous basílica.

At 9 pm, we all sat down for our final dinner celebration at a restaurant in El Born. At each table setting, there was a card with a picture of the group. During the dinner, the students had a great time passing around their cards so their friends could write them messages. As we got on the bus to head back to the residence, some students started to cry! We’ve had three really fun and fast-paced weeks, jam-packed with classes, activities, weekend trips, and countless memories made along the way. We’ll be sad to see this awesome group leave us tomorrow morning.

Now we are back at the residence and the students are enjoying their last few hours of being all together. We’ve set up karaoke in the movie theater but some students have chosen to go to their rooms or hang out with the girls or boys on their respective hallways. Hopefully they’ll catch some Z’s on their flights tomorrow!

Day 19: Sagrada Familia (por fin)

Since tomorrow is the day students will present their final projects, today was the last day of classes. Students in the photography class, enjoyed their final photo excursion between Plaza Cataluña and the halls of the University of Barcelona, which is a beautiful, old building with tiled floors and quaint courtyards.

In the afternoon, the majority of the program had tickets to see the world-renowned Sagrada Familia (finally!). Tomorrow, another small group of 13 students will also have the chance to go before the final dinner! Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia is still a work in process. In fact, the price of each ticket goes towards the construction of the final towers. It is said that Sagrada Familia will be finished in the year 2026 which will be 144 years after the first stone was laid. We hope the students will return to Barcelona in the future and have the opportunity to see the finished product, as we are sure it will be awe-inspiring.

Two smaller groups, one who enjoyed free time in the city center and the other which rested and packed their suitcases at the residence, were able to meet up with their friends for dinner around the Sagrada Familia to see it lit up at night! Buenas noches, bona nit, goodnight.

 

Day 18: An afternoon of art

Our last week in Barcelona is flying by! Today was the students’ last Wednesday of classes and for the cooking students it was also the last cooking workshop of the program. On the menu today was tortilla española (Spanish omelette), albóndigas (meatballs), calamares (fried calamari), and crema catalana (a typical Spanish dessert). We certainly hope some of the students will share these recipes with all of you! Gastronomy is a great way of learning more about Spain and its culture.

In the afternoon, many students visited the Miró Foundation, a museum dedicated to Spanish artist Joan Miró. At the Miró museum, highlights included learning about the logo Miró designed for the 1992 Olympic Games, seeing a fountain made with liquid mercury (which is now behind glass for safety reasons), and exploring the gift shops!

On the coast of Barcelona, a handful of students enjoyed their last day of beach this afternoon. They went to Nova Icaria, a beach that is popular with locals situated nearby to the Olympic Port.

After dinner at the residence, RA Lisa will offer a special one-time activity to make a homemade souvenir from Barcelona. With Barcelona maps, stamps, markers, and more, students will have the opportunity to design a decoration to bring home as a reminder of their trip. That’s all from Barcelona today!

Day 17: Montjuic, Museums, and Malls

Hello from Barcelona! After a pretty routine Tuesday morning at ESADE, the photography students had their second opportunity to explore the city with our guest photography teacher, Samantha. Samantha picked up the students in a classic car (a convertible we might add) and took them to two exciting locations to take photos: Montjuic and Sagrada Familia. Safe to say these students will be missing their photo class after the trip. Every day with Samantha is a blast!

At 5 pm, the photography students returned to ESADE to meet up with the others. From there, a group set off for MNAC (the Catalan art museum) and another group headed to the mall. As we’ve mentioned before, July in Barcelona is a great time to shop since all of the stores are on sale! Many students have requested more shopping time so today at L’Illa mall was their opportunity to shop, shop, shop ’til they drop. Across town at the museum, the other group of students learned about Catalan artists and different ages of art throughout the region’s history. The boys also took in the stunning architecture of MNAC, which was built as a palace for the royals to accept various international guests during the world exhibition of 1929.

That’s all from Barcelona. See you back here tomorrow!