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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!

Summer 2019 in the French Riviera

What better way to dive into French culture and language than by spending a summer in the heart of the Cote d’Azur?

In addition to French language study for all levels, students get the chance to explore another topic of their choice taught in English.

Take a look at the exciting seminars offered in Nice:

Art History

In this largely field-based course, Professor Michel Remy offers guided visits to local art institutions, including the Chagall Museum, the Matisse Museum, and the MAMAC, to illustrate the history of art from Impressionism through Surrealism. 

International Relations

In this course, students study current events relating to war and terrorism, diplomacy, refugee status, human rights, and aid for the developing world in order to think critically about the arguments made in international politics. 

Studio Art

Designed for students of every level, this course focuses on the essential techniques of sketching and painting, and takes advantage of the many picturesque neighborhoods in Nice and the natural beauty of the French Riviera. 

In addition to choosing a seminar, students also have the chance to participate in the following optional workshops.

French Cooking

In this workshop, students gain hands-on experience in a professional kitchen under the guidance of internationally recognized chef Jean Montagard. From croissants to créme brulee, this course will introduce students to the delicious and daring world of French cooking.

Photography

Nice provides an ideal setting for students to pursue their passion for photography and apply their own artistic touch in the digital darkroom. This course covers the fundamentals of compositions, use of manual features on a DLSR camera, and use of photo editing software to conceive and create images with beauty, purpose, intent and meaning.

Watch the Andalusia Homestay Webinar!

Authenticity is Key

When looking for a Spanish Language Immersion program, something that sets one apart from all the rest is true authenticity. Summerfuel’s Andalusia Homestay program in the South of Spain provides genuine Spanish language immersion in the coastal town of Conil. Students live like Spaniards for four weeks and truly see Spain as an insider, rather than as a tourist.

The roots of this program run deep, as Program Director, Marta Ramos, is a Conil native herself. Marta first discovered Summerfuel when her family actually hosted Summerfuel students when she was in high school back in 1990! Having experience on both sides of the coin, Marta has seen it all – what it was like to live in Conil, how it felt to host a Summerfuel student, and just how positive the experience was for the Summerfuel student living with her family. Now, Marta returns every summer to direct the program and pass the amazing experience on to new students.

Watch the Webinar On Demand!

There are so many aspects of the Andalusia Homestay program that make it what it is, from the host families themselves to the academics, activities and weekend excursions. Take a look at the virtual info session that Marta hosted to see what she has to say about life as a Summerfuel student in the South of Spain.

Click here to watch the video anytime!

An Inside Look at a Summer in Spain

There is something about Summerfuel that always has people coming back for more.

From staff members that have worked with Summerfuel for decades to students that return for a second or third summer in a row, once you experience a Summerfuel summer your life will never be the same.

A perfect example of someone falling in love with Summerfuel and making it a major part of their life is Summerfuel Andalusia alum, Elizabeth Stallard. Elizabeth attended Summerfuel’s Spanish Immersion Homestay program in Conil, Spain as a student in 2010. During her time as a Summerfuel student, Elizabeth fell in love with the culture and language of Spain. Consequently, she was inspired to return to Spain several times to study and work. Elizabeth even lived in Northern Spain for two years working as an elementary school ESL teacher.

It wasn’t long before she was drawn back to Summerfuel, and in 2016 Elizabeth joined Summerfuel Barcelona’s staff as a Resident Advisor. Elizabeth held this position for two summers before joining the Senior Staff and becoming the Activities Director in Barcelona.

Undoubtedly, Elizabeth has experienced all aspects of a summer spent in Spain.

From being a student in Conil to a Senior Staff team member in Barcelona, Elizabeth has seen it all. She has gone through the excitement and nervousness of leaving home to travel to a far-away place; knows what it is like to make new friends from around the world; has lived in the dorms, gone on excursions, eaten in the dining hall – the list goes on and on.

Join Elizabeth for a Free Webinar to hear what she has to say about Summerfuel in Spain. From housing and dining to activities and excursions, Elizabeth will talk about her first-hand experiences in Spain, giving you personal insight into life as a Summerfuel student.

Webinar: January 31st, 4PM EST

Click here to register today and get the inside scoop on life as a Summerfuel student!

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!

Departure Day

 

For many of our Summerfuel students it was an early morning as we made our way to the airport and said our good-byes. The group flight has departed for JFK and we are only waiting for a few more students to head to the airport for their next adventures. Thank you to all the students for making these 3 weeks so memorable. Adios!