Lots to learn!

Classes are well underway here in Cádiz. Students are practicing and improving their Spanish everyday in class and at home. Evening classes are coming along nicely as well. Your sons and daughthers have already learned how to make a tortilla española (one of the national dishes of Spain). This dish is eaten at all hours of the day, by itself or in a sandwich, hot or cold. Make sure you ask them to make this delicious egg and potato omlette when they get back!

The students in photography class are really enjoying exploring the town and learning how to enhance their photo-taking sills.

Crossing international borders on our trip to Gibraltar!

That’s right – Gibraltar is a British colony two hours south of us. Today we passed through customs in order to visit the famous Rock of Gibraltar. The Cádiz group and Conil group went together. Our first stop was a look out point from where you can see Africa.

Then we took the cable car took to the top of the rock from where we were able to see not only Africa, but the sea and the ocean at the same time. We took some great pictures! In the first picture of the gallery bellow, you see the Mediterranean Sea to the right and the Atlantic Ocean to the left.
We also loved taking pictures with the Barbary Apes that reside on the rock their entire lives and are well cared for by veterinary staff. We even saw some baby apes with their moms – too cute! IMG_5005
IMG_4997Girbaltar has played a key strategic role in various military engagements over the past several centuries. Today Gibraltar functions as an international banking center and a duty-free haven for shoppers.IMG_5008 Afterwards we were given some time to explore, eat lunch, and shop in British stores! It was so fascinating listening to locals speak a perfect balance of Spanish and English (Spanglish) – easily switching back and forth between the two languages.

Feliz cuatro de julio!

Happy Fourth of July everyone! We brought the Fourth of July fun here to Cádiz celebrating with a picnic on the beach. We played games while soaking up some sun. At night we took a boat ride and then went to a concert!

On Sunday we met up again to visit an archeological exhibit (la Exposición de Gaber). Your sons and daughters learned alot about history and the older civilizations that inhabited the pensinsula. ¡Qué interesante!

All settled in…

As our first week comes to a close, all the students have finally settled in; They walk around town without maps and know how to get to and from various places; They already have their favorite heladería (ice cream shoppe) en la Plaza Medinas, where they get a little treat every night before heading home, They are exploring new places for dinner together (the group frequently eats together after finishing surf or photography). It is so nice to see them walking around happy and comfortable!
This week in photography, the students learned about taking close ups.

Surfing class is coming along just swimmingly!
Tomorrow we are going to have a picnic on the beach to celebrate the Fourth of July and then go to a concert! Stay tuned for pictures!

Meet our Cádiz staff!

I’m sure by now you’ve gotten a chance to speak with your sons and daughthers. We wanted to post a blog about our staff this way you will be able to put a face with the name:
The Cádiz coordinator is Susana. susanaShe says: “Hello from Cádiz. Since 2010 I have worked in this program. Even though I am from Madrid, I love to come to Cádiz every summer. I enjoy the beach, the sun and I love to take walks through the city during the late afternoon. The streets and plazas of Cádiz have so much charm. I hope the students enjoy the beach and the city as much as I do and that they have the best summer of their lives! Cádiz is a precious city!

Next, we have one of our professors: “Hello, I´m Laura. “laura I have worked with Summerfuel for the past 5 years and I love sharing this experience with the students. I am a teacher here and everyday I get to see how they advance and learn Spanish both inside and outside the classroom. The students have so much fun in the activities, and we have fun with them! I love to travel, play sports and anything related to graphic design.

This is our other professor, Manuel: “I am Manuel Pinto Barragán, a professor of language manuel cadiz and literature who graduated from the University of Georgia. My interest of studies focuses on modern Spanish literature. I am from Seville and filled with energy. I have lots of educational and business experiences. I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia for the past 13 years where I teach Spanish literature at Westminster and I am the soccer coach for the Lovett School. I love to travel, play sports, read and spend time with my family and friends.

And finally our local assisstant: “Hello, I am Elena. I´m 23 years old and the youngest member of the staff. elena cadizI´m here to help the students in any way possible. After having worked in Holand as a grafic designer I returned to Spain. I can’t live without the ocean and the sun. I love to be surrounded by my friends and family. I´m a big fan of photography and all forms of art such as painting, movies and literature.

Surfing, surfing, U.S.A…. in Cádiz!

Yesterday was an exciting day as it was our first surfing class. The class started with a theoretical lesson of how one surfs. Then we practiced surfing on the sand and did several warm-ups mimicking the motions that we were to preform once in the water. Then it was time to give it a go and get into the water. By the end of the session just about everyone was able to stand up on the boards! What a talented group! They’re going to become quite the surfers! I can’t wait to see how well they do by the end of the month.

Today, after our academic classes, we met up with the Conil group. It was fun to see familiar faces. We took a walk through the narrow cobble stone streets of Cádiz. We walked along the Playa de la Caleta, a beach in the old part of the city that was used in the filming of a James Bond movie, and passed the cathedral and Plaza de Flores, filled with tons of flowers for sale. Afterwards we showed the Conileños around town and took them to our favorite stores and heladerías (ice cream shops).

¡A comenzar! Let’s get started!

Yesterday your sons and daughters woke up bright and early (9:30 – which is bright and early to them!). They headed to school, guided by their host families, where they took a placement exam and spoke with their teachers in Spanish. Monday was their first day of their new routine – class, lunch with the family at 2:30, free time (to go to the beach, go shopping, study, or take a nap), evening activities, dinner with the family, and finally some free time at night to walk around the town and soak up the culture. Yesterday was the first session for the photography class. The students were so excited to get their hands on a camera and see how it works. The class was mainly theoretical and an introduction to this art form. We can’t wait to see their photography!

Today was the first surfing class! Stay tuned for more photos!

Estamos aquí! We’re HERE!!

We are so happy to finally be at our homestay locations! The weekend was filled with excitement starting with a walking tour through the heart of Madrid.

We took pictures in front of the library, the largest Spanish flag in the country and also in the Parque Retiro (Spain’s version of Central Park). We then had our first meal together. IMG_4894
After taking a much needed nap back at Hotel NH Zubano, we had an orientation reviewing all aspects of the program and then dinner. Afterwards some students took a walk to get some icecream.
Sunday morning we headed to the famous Atocha Train Station (complete with green house) and headed towards Cádiz. Your sons and daughters were met with warm smiles and lots of besos (kisses) from their Spanish families. You could feel the excitement in the air!
The Conil group then boarded a bus and arrived at their new home in under a half hour. Their families we’re so happy to see them and within minutes of arriving they were whisked away to start their new Spanish lives.
Sunday gave the students a chance to meet their families, have their first taste of home-cooked Spanish food, unpack and get acquainted with the town. We took tours of the towns in the evening (don’t worry – they all have a map to follow just in case)!
Right now your sons and daughters are in school taking a placement exam and talking to their teachers. Later on today will start the first round of evening activities! Stay tuned!