Final Martedì

As the program has come to a close the students had a final opportunity for some great activities. On Tuesday the ASA students attended their final morning classes and thus finished their majors while here in Florence. After lunch RA Amy took a group of students to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David sculpture. Soon afterwards RA Melinda took students to the other famous art museum in Florence, The Uffizi. While that was happening RA Jim took two students to climb to the top of the duomo for great views of Florence!

In the evening RA Maddie lead a very popular event, a tasting event with her friend Pino. Pino is a great guy who owns a deli, Salumeria Verdi and makes great panini’s here in Florence. He ha great meats for the students to try as well as different olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The event was a great success. RA Amy also took a small group for a boat ride on the Arno which was a great hit as well.

On Wednesday the ASA Florence students will begin the task of packing their things as they prepare for the next leg of their trip. We will be enjoying a nice final dinner at Chalet Fontana and the students heading to Rome for their flight home or for the extension trip will be up bright and early to catch the bus at 4:30.

Nerja travels to Málaga!

On Thursday the students had a blast as they plunged under the water with their scuba class. Their ceramic creations are coming along nicely in class and our game of beach volley ball with the Spaniards was lots of fun.

On Saturday we went to Marbella, a beautiful city along the coast. We walked around the historic center, along the beach and visited the town hall and one of the older churches. The students went on a scavenger hunt to discover some interesting facts about the city. On the way back to Nerja, we stopped in the glamorous resort town of Puerto Banus. The students were very impressed to see all of the expensive cars lining the streets and the elaborate yachts in the port. Afterwards we stopped in the large shopping center to get a few souvenirs and take advantage of the summer rebajas¨ (sales).

There is a lot to look forward to in our last week. In class we are letting our creativity flow as we finish our Libro de Verano (a student-created booklet commemorating our time in Nerja). A sort of yearbook, the Libro de Verano contains pages on activities, excursions, local culture, and other important aspects of our summer. It’s always exciting to see the unveiling of the final printed copies, which are revealed at our final dinner.

More to come…stay tuned!

Cádiz Concerts!

After Gibraltar, the students were back into their normal routine of classes and activities.  Some met up to have coffee and chat with their teachers, while others called the local assistants to spend time with them on the beach. The students are using every opportunity they have not only to practice thier Spanish but also to get to know our wonderful staff a little bit better.

On Friday the students were in for a treat as they got to see their very own staff live in concert! Javi, the coordinator, played the guitar, while Adrian, the local assistant played percussion. The students had a blast listening to their awesome funky jazz band!

On Saturday, the students got a chance to see another great musician in concert, Carlinhos Brown. Brown is a highly-regarded Brazilian musician and producer who blends Tropical, reggae and Brazilian musical styles. It´s clear that Cádiz is the place to be for music lovers!

As we enter our last week, students are working on their class documentary projects and looking forward to this Wednesday when they will get a chance to bullfight! Stay tuned for more exciting adventures!

Final Week

On Monday we began our final week of the Summerfuel Florence program. Students attended morning classes and RA Maddie guided a lunch activitiy for several students in the center of the city. In the afternoon the students attended their final elective classes. The drawing and painting class displayed their wonderful artwork during the artshow right here at Convitto della Calza. Students and staff were very impressed by their work!

In the evening RA Jim led an activity to climb the Torre di San Niccolò which has recently been opened to the public. Our tour guide shared the history of the tower and of Florence in general and we learned quite a bit during the brief climb to the top. The views of the city and the river and bridges especially were excellent.

On Tuesday the students will be attending their final morning classes and will have one final opportunity for RA-led activities.

Time flies!!!

It is hard to believe that ASA Nice has just finished our final weekend. However, we are happy to report that we ended on a high note!

On Saturday, students visited Cannes, a Riviera city, known for its many festivals, particularly, the annual International Film Festival. Some students took a short boat ride to the Ile Sainte Marguerite, a lush island with a rich history, where the Man in the Iron Mask was said to have been imprisoned in the late 1600’s. After returning from the island, students had a choice of optional excursions to the Musée de la Castre or to the Malmaision. Others chose to shop on the trendy rue d’Antibes or relax on the sandy beaches. That evening, we enjoyed a group dinner followed by a dazzling fireworks display!

Sami, Annabell, and Sofia at dinner in Cannes

Silly boys

Melissa, Liz, Lizzy, and Katie enjoying the ferry ride to the Ile Sainte Marguerite

On Sunday afternoon, after allowing the group some free morning time to unwind after our busy Saturday excursion, we travelled to Eze village, stopping to tour the Fragonard perfumery and the exotic gardens.

Kimia, Syrile, Annabell, and Clarissa at the Botanical Gardens in Eze

Jardin Botanique, Eze

Jose and Stefano

Learning about the art of making perfume at Fragonard

Guess the scent!

Next, we bussed a short distance toMonaco, where students had the opportunity to visit Jacques Cousteau’s museum and aquarium, the Prince’s Palace, or the Prince of Monaco Auto Museum. Others travelled aroundMonacoon a tour train and awed at the Casino of Monte Carlo and the surrounding gardens. On the way back, we stopped in Menton, a French city located near the Italian border, where RA groups shared their last dinner together!

Relaxing on the tourist train in Monaco

Melissa and her girls in Menton

Melissa’s group loves gelato!

Hope you enjoyed these photos! If you have not done so already, check out our flickr page for more:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/asaprograms/sets/72157630474313664/

Monkeys, flamenco, Europe, Africa!

It’s been an eventful few days in Conil: levitating street performers, pasta-chomping monkeys, and mind-blowing flamenco dancers…and that’s just for starters! Thursday was Movie Night in the Summerfuel house, which was momentarily converted into a haunted house to enhance the scary movie theme. The students weren’t very scared, however, especially when they recognized their own Spanish teachers in would-be spooky disguises! Friday we went to the Lonja or fishing port of Conil, where we saw fish being unloaded directly from the boats and auctioned off to buyers. Conil is famous for its seafood, particularly tuna, and the fish is sold with a special tag vouching for its authenticity, much like a wine appellation.

Saturday on our excursion we took a cable car to enjoy panoramic views from atop the Rock of Gibraltar, where one can see Europe and Africa, Atlantic and Mediterranean, and endless sky in every direction. We got to spend some quality time with Gibraltar’s famous Barbary apes, who tried to steal our potato chips but otherwise were happy to pose for photos. We also saw some street performers who seemed to float in the air….we still haven’t quite figured out how they did it!

Saturday night we went to a traditional hacienda outside Conil to see a flamenco show: passionate song and dance with intricate hand clapping, dizzying footwork, and captivating melodies. Sunday was a day to relax with our Spanish families and enjoy the beach.

On Wednesday of this week we’ll have a picnic and miniature bullfight in the country as well as a final celebration dinner with the Spanish families. It’s going to be a great week!

A Cold Day in Cortona

After a free day on Saturday, the ASA Florence students boarded the bus for Cortona on Sunday after lunch. On the bus ride there we watched Under the Tuscan Sun, a film about an American woman who buys a villa just outside of the hill city of Cortona. We arrived at the top of the hill where we met our tour guide, a nice English lady who lives on an organic farm about 5 miles outside of Cortona. Some students chose to stay and take the optional tour while most decided to head downhill to explore the town. On the tour our guide showed us several churches including the Basilica that held the body of Santa Margherita. She was a great story teller and friendly guide so the students really enjoyed the tour.

After the tour a group of students and staff met at the steps of the church in the main square and took a walk to the house from the film, Bramasole. It was extremely windy but we finally made it after a long walk.

Sunday was the cloudiest day of the month so far, and by far the windiest. As a result it turned out to be a bit chilly high in the hills of cortona. As the group made their way to the meeting spot for dinner, we noticed that many students were sporting new sweatshirts. We waited for dinner on the steps of the church in the main square and huddled together for warmth.

Soon after the above photo was taken those cold faces brightened as we enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant just up the hill overlooking the piazza. The delicious pasta and steak certainly warmed everyone up! Following dinner we enjoyed gelato at Gelateria Ti Amo and boarded the warm bus soon after. Despite the chill it was an enjoyable afternoon and evening in Cortona!

Final Weekend

After morning classes on Friday some ASA Florence students headed to an American style bakery, Mama’s, for lunch. Following lunch, several students went with Maddie to hang out in Piazza Santo Spirito while another group went with RA Melinda to La Specola, which is the Zoology section of  The museum of natural history in Florence.

On Friday afternoon the ASA Florence group boarded the bus at 4:30 to head to San Gimignano, yet another beautiful walled city. Upon arrival, the group met at la Piazza della Cisterna (Piazza of the well) and broke into groups. Some students chose to climb the Torre Grossa in the middle of the city while others went to the Torture Museum and many others went shopping and exploring.

Following this free time the students met again at Piazza della Cisterna and then broke into smaller groups for dinner at one of 3 restaurants in San Gimignano. After a nice dinner we returned to the Piazza, which happens to be the home of the best gelato in the world. Of course we could not leave San Gimignano without trying the best gelato in the world!

Saturday will be a free day for the students of ASA Florence with plenty of activities planned by the RAs such as an afternoon in the Boboli Gardens, hanging out in the park, and watching the Mime in Piazza della Signoria. There will be more activities on Saturday evening and we will be heading to Cortona on Sunday afternoon. Buon weekend!