Spain Trip - 2018

Marisa Palazzotto, chair of our world language department, and Ken Posner, social science teacher, led an Oxbridge student trip to Cádiz, Spain during the summer of 2018. Over the course of two weeks, they lived with Spanish families, ate Spanish food, learned language and history, and rooted for Spain in the World Cup! This was a unique opportunity for our students to immerse themselves in another culture and develop proficiency in the Spanish language.



Student Blogs

Zoe Krishtul - Day 1: In Search of Helado

After a long flight we finally made it to Cádiz... only for school to begin the next morning. Despite being exhausted, school was fun that day. The morning began with a traditional Spanish breakfast of toast. Once we arrived to school we were given a tour of the campus and went to class. In class we played icebreaker games in Spanish. Once school ended we returned home to a delicious lunch. Lunch should always be followed by dessert, and so Sam and I decided to try Spain’s famed helado. We checked on google maps to find the nearest heladaria (big mistake) only to find that it was a mile away. As we walked the mile to the ice cream shop we passed by SEVERAL other ice cream shops. Unfortunately we did not see them until we were on our way back. After our little adventure, we went as a group to a restaurant to eat tapas. I tried many new foods I typically would not eat at home and found them all delicious. We made it back home to our Spanish home where we could finally get some sleep.

Samantha Shirley - Day 2: Touring the Old City

In Spain, they eat a light breakfast consisting of toast, a cookie and milk. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. We went to school in the morning, and in the first hour we participated in groups with Spanish students who attend the school. Some of them spoke pretty good English, some didn’t speak any English at all. In the first activity, the the students asked us questions in Spanish and we had to answer back in Spanish. Then we asked them questions in English and they had to answer in Spanish. We played also played the game Two Truths and a Lie. The next ten minutes. Later in the day, we learned about imperativo and did two imperativo activities. After school, our entire group met up to take a walk and roam the city of Cádiz. We walked to the old city, Viejo de cuidad. Our Spanish teacher, Profesora Garcia, gave us the tour. On the tour we had delicious churros with chocolate. One of the places we visited is known as the place where gossip is talked about. It was also the place where carnival is held and everyone comes out and celebrates the carnival. It’s a big thing in Cádiz. After a dinner of hamburger, salad and French fries, we changed clothes and went to the beach. We went at the golden hour and watched the sunset. It was very beautiful. I took many pictures of the sunset.

Alex Boren - Day 3: Paella Chefs

Today was a very fun hands on day. When I woke up today and walked to school, I was told we would be taking a field trip to a market during class today. Once we had arrived, we had to go around to all the vendors and ask them a couple questions about their food. We learned that a lot of people go there everyday to get food for their meals. After that I walked to the beach with my friends and relaxed before getting ready to cook our own food for dinner. We learned to make paella.

Hannah Kanjian - Day 4: Phoenician and Roman Ruins

Hola! Today the gang went back to school for the first part of the day and then enjoyed another great Spanish meal with our Spanish families! Afterwards, we took yet another trip downtown and learned more about the history of Cádiz. It was really interesting to find out that one of the skeletons in the room was a Phoenician from 2000 years ago and that Cádiz is connected to the rest of Spain through a nature road to the east of the city. We walked through the ruins of the Phoenician and Roman homes in the old part of town. After exploring those for a while we walked down the street to a massive tower where we could see the whole city! It was incredible. We got the opportunity to see Cadiz’s first camera obscura and look around the city through that. Then we went up to the roof where we could see the whole city. Our tour guide and teacher, Ana, showed us some more interesting things about the city including the three types of towers there were in the city. In total there are 133 left! Later on we visited the fair outside of town. It’s similar to ours at home, but with more flamenco dancers and people of all ages- not just young kids. Everywhere you looked someone was either dancing or singing! The colors were amazing, lights everywhere. These past couple of days have been an amazing immersion experience, learning a new culture can be difficult but it’s been a great ride. I can’t wait to see what the next week has in store for us!

William Shields - Day 5: Watching the World Cup in Spain

Today has been a very interesting and exciting day. My roommates and I woke up at 9:00 A.M., and immediately started getting ready for school. Our breakfast was torrijas, a very tasty Spanish dish. At school, we continued to study conjugation and during our break, I played basketball with some of my fellow travelers. Lunch was delicious, as my roommates and I devoured potato-tuna salad and grilled chicken with our host mother. During lunch, we all watched Spain's version of Wheel of Fortune, which was very entertaining. After lunch, we relaxed in our rooms for a little bit and then decided to hang out at the beach, which was fun. After that, we met up with the group to go and watch the Spain World Cup game. The original spot that we were supposed to watch was filled up, so my friends and I went to look for a restaurant that we had eaten at the previous day. We found it and had a great time watching the game. Unfortunately, the game ended in a 3-3 tie after Ronaldo scored on a beautiful free kick. After the game, I walked around the city with my roommates and then we all went back to the house. It was a great night to end a great day.

Erin Yavinsky - Day 6: A Day in Sevilla

¡Hola from España! Today marks a week since we started our travels, and time has really flown by! Cádiz is an amazing city filled with beautiful architecture and beaches, but today we are traveling to Sevilla to see more of these ancient and miraculous buildings and immerse ourselves even further into the Spanish culture. I visited Sevilla three years ago, and I absolutely loved it. I was so excited to go back to the city and experience its historic culture once again. We left Cádiz at 9 am on a bus to drive to Sevilla. It was about an hour and thirty minute drive: perfect to catch up on the couple hours of sleep we all lost from getting up early! And before I knew it, we had arrived at our hotel smack dab in the middle of the city. The last time I was in Sevilla, I thought the city was very similar to Disneyland, and those feelings re-emerged as the class and I walked down the crowded streets. Sevilla is a wonderland, complete with horse drawn carriages at every turn, crowds of people filling the streets, smells of caramelized roasted nuts, ancient unique buildings, and cable car tracks populating the streets. As we walked through the city, we passed by the huge city bank and the famous cathedral we would soon visit later. Our walk lead us to our first stop: la Plaza de España. It was absolutely stunning. And fun fact: a scene in Star Wars Episode 1 was filmed at this plaza. ¡Qué guay! After exploring, we had a very short walk to the park next to the plaza and had a picnic for lunch. After eating and taking a rest from all the walking, we headed towards the Cathedral of Sevilla. This is the third largest Cathedral in the world, complete with Muslim and Medieval architectural influences. We walked through the orange tree patio, saw the gold covered altar, and Christopher Columbus’ tomb. Even though only about 15% of his body remains at the Cathedral, there is a huge, ornate tomb dedicated to him. After learning about the history of the Cathedral, we walked up one of the main bell towers to see the city of Sevilla from the sky. There are only 17 steps in total on the way to the top of the tower because the walk up and down consists of ramps for 35 floors. It was a tough climb up, but it was definitely worth the sore feet. The view was spectacular! You could see for miles on end. And it was complete with a nice breeze, perfect after that workout we had to endure to reach the top. We walked back down the tower and went back to our hotel to rest before our night activities. This 2-3 hour break was a blessing! After walking around the whole city in 90 degree weather, a quick nap was a necessity. After getting cleaned up and eating dinner, we all headed to go and watch a Flamenco show! Since Sevilla is one of the founding cities of this Spanish style of dance, it is a must to watch one of these Sevillian shows. The show was truly incredible! With the many shoe tapping, snapping, and clapping, the dance came to life and showed a story of romance and happiness. I don’t think I could ever intensely dance like them! They were moving their feet at 100 mph; you could hear every step echo throughout the whole room. It was an experience I will never forget. Sevilla took my breath away three years ago and did not fail to do so again. I can’t wait to spend another day here and explore the city even more!

Kate Maloney - Day 7: The Alcazar of Seville

Today was our second day in Sevilla. After waking up and eating a delicious hotel breakfast, we visited the Alcazar of Seville, a royal palace built for Christian king Peter of Castile. The palace is the perfect example of Mudejar architecture which reveals the Islamic influence on cultural elements in Seville during the time the palace was constructed. We walked around the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace and explored the interior. After visiting the Alcazar of Seville, we walked through the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz on our way to lunch. For lunch, we were free to eat anywhere in Seville. Some friends and I ate a local sandwich shop and walked around town before returning to our hotel. We then gathered on the bus and made the journey back to Cadiz!

Blake Weger - Day 8: The Bros

¡Hola Chicos!

Today was crazy. The day started off with me and a couple of bros, Alex Boren and William Shields, waking up to the daily construction above our cozy little apartment. A scrumptious display of frosted flakes, fresh orange juice, condensed milk and packages mini muffins was set out on the table for our breakfast. Alex did not indulge in the meal, in which Will and I were vigorously questioned about as we made it out the door, “¡¿Quien no come desayuno?!”. One of the multiple things I’ve learned from this amazing trip is you always eat mama’s food, and in their eyes you will never eat enough. Anywho, we made our classic walk to the school, commenting on our checkpoints as we went, the “Bathroom Store” at 25 %, the “Bazaar” and “Unicaja” as the midway point, and the florist stand as 75% of the way.

According to the teacher first period consisted of learning about clothes, Ropa. Yet it really consisted of dreaming about our 20-minute recess break, Pausa, where me and the pals play basketball with the actual students of the school. Pausa came and was great, a game of 21 some 1 v 1’s speaking Spanish, man life is good. Second hour we took a trip to the local market and had to use the information we learned about clothes to ask questions and take photos. Another thing I learned from this trip so far, you can zone out and not pay attention when what’s being taught is in a language you understand, but when you can barely comprehend what is going on giving the lecture full attention, zoning out really puts you behind. Last hour of the day we went over our results from the market, played a Spanish game and out we went. Time for lunch with Mama!

The boys and I completed our 20-minute walk, and came into our home overjoyed to see Mama and have Wifi. I have no clue what lunch was so I will just try and describe it. There was fried fish, what kind of fish I have no clue but it was definitely fish and definitely fried, I think you get the idea. French fries… that one is easy. Some kind of meat, not sure of what animal but it was formed into puck like shapes and had some kind of breading on it and all soaking in a dark sauce. It was good that’s really all you need to know; Mama treats us well. One of her granddaughters was there to eat lunch with us as well, always fun meeting the family of Mama. We watched our classic Wheel of Fortune Spanish edition during lunch and then took full advantage of the break period the whole city takes called “Siesta”, in which we slept and relaxed from 3-5:30. Tough days in España!

At 5:30 me and the boys boarded the public bus and traveled to “Old Cadíz”, which quite frankly is prettier and nicer than new Cadíz but whatever. We met the rest of the group and our tour guide and hopped on some bicicletas and went for a ride. Bicicletas means bicycles, if you did not make the translation in your head I think it is time you open up Spanish for Dummies and get reading. We biked up and back the coastline of a part of the beautiful island we get to call home for these two weeks. The biking involved some minor crashes, a couple detours and some phone calls of, “Hey where are you guys” but was absolutely gorgeous. The 2-hour bike ride came to an end and once again we were out on the town to do as we pleased, and what’s better than a meal with Mama?

Dinner was a tortilla de España with potatoes egg and cheese, which was delicious. After Alex, Will and I took a football to the beach. That weird brown ball always gets us confused looks from the locals. We played around on the large sand plateau for a while, got our American cravings in with a little food from the local Burger King, or Burger King on the beach

(BK OTB) as we like to call it and headed home for the night. Back to Mama’s we took turns taking our 1 minute showers and climbed into bed. ¡Buenas Noches!

Lucy Ream - Day 9: Surfing & Dancing

¡Hola Amigos!
This morning we had school, like usual. Our classes are really great because we learn and then get to use our knowledge in real life. For example, today we wrote postcards in Spanish with our class and then had to go into the city, buy stamps, go to a post office, and mail them to our families. During this activity we had to use Spanish to talk to the locals to get it accomplished.
After school was over we had free time. Some of us went to lunch in Antigua Cádiz, others went for a run along the beach, and many people ate authentic meals with their host families.
At around 4, we all headed to the beach for surf lesson. Before going in the water we got rash guards and a quick lesson on how to surf, such as paddling, standing up, and body positioning. We learned a lot and were ready to take on the waves! Everyone did great and most people were able to catch at least a wave or two. Overall the surfing experience was a blast. After two hours of surfing we all headed back to our houses and stopped for refreshments on the way back. At home we ate home cooked meals and freshened up for La Fiesta with our class and other Mundolengua students from Germany, Atlanta, and D.C. It’s been great to talk to other students from other places in the same program as us and many of us have made friends with them. The party was an ibicenca fiesta, which is a typical type of party in Ibiza, Spain where you are supposed to wear all white clothing. There was lots of music and dancing, making the party a fun time.

¡Hasta pronto!

Natalie Bocco - Day 10: Visiting the Market

Today was amazing! The first part of the day was school which went from ten to one thirty. We learned about food vocabulary and how to converse in a market. The last class of the day was my favorite class we have had so far. We went to the market! We asked questions that were on a sheet of paper, and it was really interesting to hear all of the vendors' responses. The market was a military base before opening in 2003, and is now a huge indoor market that sells items like fish, fruits, veggies, olives, and bread! After class my roommate and I had lunch which was a sandwich and an apple. I love the salami here!!
After lunch we had our dance lesson which we learned how to dance sevillanas, (a traditional Spanish dance that is part of flamenco). The sevillanas class was by far the most fun but challenging activity we have done. And I’m not taking bad challenging, I’m talking good challenging! My partner was Hailey, and we mastered sevillanas! Through the turns and stomps we got through it! Go us!! Through this trip I have learned that the culture of flamenco is so prestigious. From the great posture to remembering all the difficult steps, I learned how to truly appreciate the flamenco show we went to in Sevilla.
After the dance lesson, we headed off to the old city, Cadíz Antigua. Grace, Hannah, Hailey, Sadie, and I went shopping! We went to all of our favorite stores here, like Bershka, Stradivarious and tekla. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy anything because I have a remaining balance of $3.87 on my card, but I got to dream, so it’s ok! After the shopping we went to dinner at this small pizza and paella restaurant. I got the “paella de carne” which had chicken, steak, and sausage in it. It was delicious! After dinner we met up with the boys and we played soccer on the beach. It was competitive! I was the goalie and I was “doing good”(direct quote from Hannah) which gave me some confidence in the sport category. The overall day was great, and I love being here in Cadiz.

Hailey Smallwood - Day 11: Last Day of Class

Today was our final day at the school. We had our morning lesson and then had our closing graduation ceremony. We received certificates and Centro Mundolengua t shirts. The rest of the day was ours so some of us went to the beach, took a nap, or went to old Cádiz. A couple friends and I went downtown (old Cádiz) to tour the Catacombs. The history behind it was really interesting. Then the whole group had a large but delicious dinner in front of the Cathedral with the Centro Mundolengua guides. Afterwards we went home to get some sleep for our final full day in Cádiz on Saturday!