Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alicante June 13-16th

June 13, 2011

Our first day of class! We woke up and were very excited/ nervous for our first day of class! We had a great breakfast with the group and then were off to campus for our first day! The campus is absolutely gorgeous! I could definitely get used to going to school here on a regular basis. There are so many gorgeous plants and trees. They really make you enjoy your stroll to class. As soon as we got to the right building we had a short introduction with the course instructors, then immediately went into the classroom with the Spanish students! We were all instructed to mingle with the students and couldn't sit with any people from the Memphis group. I ended up sitting beside a girl name Maria and a guy named Pere (or Pedro) as we say in America. It was very interesting getting to talk with both of them. Maria spoke English very well, but not Pere. So it was interesting overcoming the language barrier and simply communicating with both of them the best that I could! We then had to introduce each other to the class which I loved since we got to learn some about our classmates. After our first day of class, we had a campus tour, lunch and a siesta!!! We were so exhausted from all of our traveling that we used the afternoon to get acclimated to the area and rest. So overall, a very successful first day of class!

June 14, 2011

On the way to class this morning we enjoyed singing American songs with our friend Andrea, she is from Romania but lives in Madrid. She loves "Proud Mary" and "Say a Little Prayer". I told her she would fit right in at Memphis! After class, we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the villa then a siesta, but afterwards we went downtown. We went downtown with one of the ladies on our trip named "Babs". She is so sweet! Babs is in her early 60s/ late 50s but has the energy of a 20 year old!!!! She had the whole afternoon mapped out for us, so we just followed along! We enjoyed looking at all the shops downtown and then headed to a museum that is based on the festival here! The festival is called Fogueres de Sant Juan. In Alicante, they make these huge statues, most of them are making political statements, but each neighborhood has one so there are over 150 statues throughout the city. Families spend a fortune on making them and then also setting up elaborate tents in the streets filled with different food, drinks and desserts that you can purchase. Also, throughout the week of the festival, every day at 2pm they set off fireworks! However, these fireworks do not light up. They only make noise, a very loud noise at that! It was very scary the first few times I heard it! So on Tuesday when we went downtown they hadn't started setting up much yet, except for the gorgeous lights in the street. Here are some pictures from our adventure downtown and at the museum.

The festival lights

The gorgeous boardwalk in Alicante

The Museum

A poster advertising the festival


Part of a statue

An example of the dresses that the women wear in the parades for the festival

An example of a statue from a previous year

The museum was so interesting and I learned a lot! After the museum we ventured down to the beach area. Once we got there I was taken back by the gorgeous scenery. The beach is wonderful! It is so nice to have the breeze off the Mediterranean and then the castle in the background right on a mountain! It was just so peaceful and absolutely amazing.

After walking around and finding our way downtown, we hopped back on the bus and headed back to campus and the villa. We had a great dinner and then went off to bed to rest for class the next day!

June 15, 2011

Today we were going on our first trip with the class! We were so excited to get to go to Biar. Biar is a city near Alicante, but is has been completely untouched for years! The town is exactly the way it was years and years ago. If you are interested in building in Biar, you have to get it approved by the government. We had a lovely ride to Biar and enjoyed getting to chat with two of our classmates, Alicia and Natasha. They are both students at the University of Alicante and so sweet! We enjoyed talking with them about the different cultures and teaching them common American phrases and having them help us with our Spanish! When we got to Biar, we first stopped at an old Monastery. It was so amazing to see how this church that had been built years and years ago had so much detail and amazing artwork. We also got some amazing views of the castle at Biar from the monastery. When then made our way down the hill into town. This walk was very humorous because we had to read a poem, for our creative writing class, about a bagel rolling down a hill. So they whole time, we were joking with Natasha and Alicia that we were about to be like the bagel and roll down the steep hills! It was so interesting getting to explain what bagels are to them!!! Once we got into town we got to visit another church and visit the branch of the University of Alicante in Biar. Once inside, we were split into teams and played a game of Spanish and American trivia. The questions ranged from pop culture to geography to politics. My group dominated pop culture and even had to perform a couple of songs to "fill in the blank"for American and Spanish songs! We got to perform "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "I Gotta Feeling", and "On the Floor" and we got each one right along with learning some new songs that are popular in Spain! Even though we came in 2nd we really enjoyed playing the game with our new friends and learning some Spanish (and American) facts/culture. After the game, we enjoyed a few snacks and got to talk with our friends more. We compared the "party life" of Spain and American and they are surprisingly very similar. Then we taught them about "creeping" on facebook and "procrastination". They were so funny about the word procrastination - they thought it was something very bad, like a crime! They said they don't have a word for that in Spain because it is the way of life here! ha ha We were so excited to have made some amazing, new friends and discovering a new place in Spain!

The Monastery

Biar Castle

Anna, Natasha, Alicia, & me

Biar coat of arms

An Arabic sign in front of the Monastery- they used to control the town. Me, Dr. Hall, Anne, Anna, & Babs

This local jumped in my picture and kept saying he loved women! It was so funny!

New friends :)
June 16, 2011

Our classes take place each day from 9am to 1:00 pm (13:00). We start off each day with an hour of language theory and teaching methods for language. Then we have an hour of Spanish lessons, the students from Spain have to actually prepare materials/ lessons to teach us with! I am of course in the beginners class, but I have some amazing teachers who are very patient and informative. I really enjoy learning from them, especially since there are 3 to 4 of them to help just me! After, Spanish class we have a short break then we have Teaching English as a Second Language with Dr. Hall! I absolutely love this class! I am learning so many interesting techniques that I know I will be able to apply to the classroom one day! After, TESL we have Creative Writing. I have been so impressed with the Spanish students because their poetry has been beautiful, even though they have to work twice as hard to write/ translate their poems to english. It is a lot of fun discussing the poems in small groups with the students. After class, we always head back to the villa for lunch then siesta! Today, we went downtown to shop after siesta because some of the students had asked us to go out with them that night! After shopping, we came back to the villa to get ready and nap, because they do not go out here until 12 or 1 am. However, the last bus runs at 10:30 so we had to take it downtown and take a taxi back. When the bus pulled up it was packed with people heading downtown! If they had played music on the bus it could have seriously been a party bus! ha ha However, once we got downtown we met up with our friends and headed out. We enjoyed going out with them so much because they introduced us to some of their amazing friends! It was a great night!

Anna, Me, & Andrea 

Me, Alicia, Anna

My new friend Susi!!!!

Pascual, Susi, Me, Marcos, & Jose

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