SBMS June 15th-18th 2018

The students have been very busy now they are in Granada!!! The group arrived on Friday after a full in Antequera, a beautiful anadalusian city just about an hour and half from Granada.  In Antequera the students visited Los Dolmenes, El Torcal and the Alcazaba.  They also had a traditional Spanish lunch in down town Antequera.  We then arrived to Granada in time for dinner and assign rooms.

On Saturday the group was given  a private tour of the Granada’s city center and began to understand the historical importance of the this Majestic city.  After lunch and siesta students enjoyed a private guided tour of the Cathedral and Isabela & Ferdinand’s Royal Chapel and tomb.

On Sunday the group headed out to the beach town of Nerja where they toured amazing caves, had paella at a seaside restaurant and were given some free time to bath in the sun and mediterranean sea. This students had wonderful time! After returning to Granada, they enjoyed another home cooked meal and then headed out to the Arabic Baths/ Spa where students enjoyed relaxing baths and massages.

Monday students had a hearty breakfast and headed to the University where they were administered a placement exam and began their course work.  After lunch and siesta the students enjoyed a private tour of the Albaicin and then ended the tour with in a traditional tea shop overlooking the Alhambra while they enjoyed teas and arabic pastries.

Tuesday, students attended their second day of course work and really enjoyed the instructional methodologies as it is very different than back in the USA.  Students were eager to share the new verbs and vocabulary they had learned while the group ate a family style lunch.  Immediately following lunch the group made their way up to the most visited and sought after monument in all of Spain, the Alhambra.  The students toured and enjoyed the breath taking gardens and architecture of this paradise which overlooks the entire city of Granada.

 

SBMS June 14th, Day two in Córdoba

Today students enjoyed a beautiful breakfast spread at their hotel.  Just after breakfast I walked them down to the modern area of the city center, which contrasted with their first impressions of Córdoba.  During this walk I was able to chat and start to match names with faces.  The students are extremely well behaved, polite, inquisitive and above all really trying to practice their Spanish! Which is music to their teacher’s and principal’s ears!

We were greeted by our second tour guide “Gabby” who planned an interactive, language driven and cultural experience in a traditional Spanish Open air market.  Students were placed into groups of four and one adult was assigned to each group.  In their groups, students received a food shopping list with exact measurements and product names and 40 euros.  Student had to then go into the market and test their Spanish Language skills by ordering the correct fruits, veggies, species, meats and fruits for what would serve as the main ingredients for “la comida”.  UNA PAELLA!!! Students enjoyed an authentic experience ordering their products and exploring the fresh produce of the mercado.  So much learning was realized, it was truly a magical moment.

Next we headed to private country home where students enjoyed an afternoon of swimming, playing, music and most importantly bonding.  Students learning how to prepare a traditional Paella, and it was deliciosa!!! All and all the second day here in Córdoba was a day of learning, language use, hands-on student centered activites and a gastronomic exploration of the Spain’s rich diet.  Two days down !

¡¡¡Bienvenidos SBMS!!! 2018 Summer Study Abroad Program in Spain! June 13th

The SBMS 2018 students have arrived and have been very busy with our welcoming activities.  Students arrived yesterday and were immediately awed by the majestic Mezquita (Mosque) of Córdoba.  Students were introduced the historical fusion of the three cultures which are represented throughout the andalusian architecture, culture and language.  Immediately after the tour, students walked over the iconic “Puente Romano” (roman bridge) where they enjoyed panoramic views of the Guadalquivir River and the Old City.

Directly after the tour of the Mezquita, students then enjoyed an amazing lunch “la comida” on the outskirts of Córdoba.  Students dined on cured meats, cured manchego cheese, tortilla de patatas, salmon mousse canapés, honey drizzled eggplant, fish and croquetas …..those were just starters!!! Then students chose between traditional main courses such as Rabo de toro, Flamenquin, Ternera, Lubina or Solomillo.  Ask your child what they ate and how their palates are already changing.  Dessert was served and then students had a tour of the adjoining Roman caves and learned of the historical importance of these anchient caves.

We then headed directly back to the city center for a private tour by Javi! Students learned and visited all the major landmarks in the old city and were able to better orient themselves around the “laberinto” layout of narrow cobble stone streets.  Finally they arrived to the hotel and prepared for dinner.  Dinner consisted of the traditional “salmorejo”, which definitely stretched the limits of taste buds, papas a la pobre and flamenquin.  The first day was completed and our SBMS troopers were tired, but excited for what the next day would bring. Day one down! 10 more to go!

Tarifa weekend HHS 2017

WOW WOW WOW!!!! Were the words you heard, which translates the same into Spanish as students embarked upon the Atlantic Ocean coastline of Spain! Tarifa was a fun filled weekend and students were beyond impressed by the vistas, shoreline, meals and beach time.  Our trek started early morning on Saturday as we had a four drive to Tarifa, which is located just 15 kilometers from Africa.  We arrived to the town of Tarifa and fun began with stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, surfing, beach sports / yoga!!!!! After a four hour water sports afternoon, we headed to a quaint seaside restaurant where students dined on fish, pasta a bolognese, beef stew, macaroni salad and fresh fruit.  Finally we made it to our hotel to clean up and rest before touring the historic downtown of Tarifa.

Sunday morning we were up and out by 10:30 headed to the recently unearthed Roman Ruins which date back for 100 A.C at the nearby beach of Bolonia.  After touring the ruins, students then had free time to soak up the sun and Tarifa Winds on the pristine beaches of Bolonia.  We then headed to a traditional Spanish roadside parador where we ate and relaxed easily in the soft and salty breezes of Tarifa.  Students absolutely loved TARIFA, but were happy to be back in Granada!!!!!!!    saludos, Candice

Por fin…….La Alhambra HHS 2017 Friday July 14th

Today students took their final exam! Class on Monday will be a Churros and Chocolate Workshop after they receive their certificates and grades.

This afternoon the students finally made their way up to the Majestic Alhambra, a site they have seen from above on their first Hike and then from the panoramic view from the Mirador de San Nicolas on their Albaicin tour.   Finally, they were able to explore inside the walls of the this rose-copper toned fortress which has casted an omnipresent moorish whisper through their days here in Granada.  On their private guided tour, students visited the lush Gardens of the Generalife, el Palacio de Carlos X and finally the Alhambra fortress itself where they were mesmerized by the innumerable geometric patterns, marble carved ceilings, running waters and scent of jasmine.  The pictures tell a tiny part of the architectural jewel this monument symbolizes for Andalucia.   Tomorrow it’s onto Tarifa for a fun filled weekend! Saludos, Candice

HHS Spain Experience! Second Week 2017

HOLA DESDE GRANADA!!!!

The HHS students have been really immersing themselves into the Andalusian culture, cuisine and lifestyle.  This has been a very busy weekend and second week!

To recap:

On Thursday students traveled an hour to the white washed town of Antequera where they learned about the Peña de los Enamorados, a legend very similar to Romeo and Juliet, toured a Moorish Castle and then traveled to the Mountain Range of el Torcal.  The pictures tell the story:

Friday: students practiced their dancing skills!!!!!! With the amazing Maria Jose del Albayzin.  Students learned three different traditional flamenco dances, were treated to a private lesson and finally put their moves into action!

Saturday the group headed to the ancient capital city of the Moorish Empire, Córdoba where they toured the casco viejo, mosque and learned about the fusion of the three cultures which compose Spain’s current day enriched heritage, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. After the tour, we had some fun at a private Spanish Estate a “Cortijo” where students had a private gastronomic class and pool party!!! Too much fun for sure!

 

On Sunday students then enjoyed Paella along the Mediterranean and vistas that captured the beauty of Spain’s Costa del Sol.  On the way home from Nerja, we stopped at a Vineyard where students learned about the craft of wine production.

 

On Monday students enjoyed their first Tapas tour! They were even treated to private street performance and amazing food!!! The students left the plates clean!!! So proud of their willingness to try new foods

 

Finally on Tuesday, students participated in a yoga class! NAMASTE! After all this walking, heat and travel a little meditation and grounding was much needed.

The HHS students continue to amaze me everyday with their maturity and have officially established a group bond.  They are always laughing, using their spanish and most importantly growing as adults right before my eyes…….the magic of Granada never ceases to amaze me.  Onward to more adventures!

Saludos,

Candice

Hightstown July 5th-6th, 2017

Students have been so incredibly responsible, polite and most importantly autonomous.  I am so delighted with the this group’s ability to adapt to the andalusian culture and schedule and above all to hear them using as much as Spanish as possible!!!!!

On Wednesday we visited the Albaicin where students were able to see the opposite views of the city from those they saw during Tuesday’s hike.  Students also learned about the importance of this ancient area of Granada and then ended their excursion at an Arabic Tea Shop where they tasted a delicious mint green tea and tried various arabic pastries laden with honey, pistachios, cashews and chocolate.

On Thursday we ventured out of the city of Granada to the white washed town of Antequera.  Students explored the Alcazaba, the Cathedral and the Torcal Mountain Range.

These kids are wonderful! Enjoy the pics! Tonight onto Flamenco class and tomorrow we head to the amazing city of Córdoba!!!!!!!!!!   Saludos,   Candice ❤

Hightstown July 4th! 2017

Today students started their official coursework at the University of Granada.  Students were administered a placement exam and then were placed into either an advanced or intermediate level.  Students had a lovely first day! They then went home for lunch and siesta!!!!

Later the group met up and went on a hike!!!! It was warm and the hike was hard, but I have to say this group did not complain!!!! They huffed up the mountain and later enjoyed amazing panoramic views of their home for the next 17 days!

We ended our day at the arabic baths, kids were relaxed and happy and really loving the Granada vibe!!!! Onward to more memories tomorrow.

SBMS~ Last Magical Night in Granada July 1st, 2017

The day started off early with picture perfect beach weather! The students headed out of Granada to enjoy the day on the Mediterranean Sea in the seaside town of Nerja, Burriana Beach.  The water was crystal clear yet a little chilly! However, that did not stop students from taking swim! After visiting the “Balcón de Europa” where panoramic views of the Mediterranean were captured, the students then headed over to the beach for their last “Paella a la leña”.  Students then headed down to the beach for some rest and relaxation.  No one was sunburned, so this was a huge success!!!!!!!

The group then headed back to Granada to get ready for tonight’s private professional flamenco show and gourmet dinner with the backdrop of the timeless Alhambra Fortress.  Our breathtaking dancer, Maria Jose del Albayzin accompanied by live musicians and dancing partner, entertained the students with the mystical and passionate flamenco rythms, “talconeo” and artistry.  This was a unique treat which mesmerized their young minds, synthesizing all that makes up the essence of Granada: grace, culture, passion, love, mysticism and artistry.  Several students even had an opportunity to dance on the “tablado”.

After the show, “el espectáculo”, students enjoyed their last gastronomic experience with myriad of tapas: five different cheeses, tortilla de patatas, caprese skewers, berenjena con miel and croquetas de rabo de toro.  This was followed up by their choice of Sea Bass or Braised Short Ribs.  Lastly, a “pionono” for dessert.

After dinner, more time for pictures, laughter and forever memories were enjoyed.  We then made our way down the winding, narrow streets of the Albayzin, traveling our way back to the USA step by step but never forgetting the last ten days of our Spanish experience.  As many times as I visit Granada, there is always something new…..this time there were 29 new experiences which revealed parts of Granada I would of never seen if it were not for the 29 students of SBMS.  I am so blessed to have accompanied these 29 little adventurous adults over the past ten days.  Each one of them has left a forevermark in my heart.  I know that Granada has also left a forevermark in theirs too.

I can not thank their teachers, Jessica, Lizeth and Karalina enough for sharing their wonderful students with me……your children are so lucky to have such caring artists who take their teaching craft to another level! And finally Dr. Bryan Williams, it has been an honor to travel with you, your staff and your children, they are truly reflection of your kindhearted and guiding leadership which is derived from your deep interest in their social and emotional well being.  My hats off to you and your staff!   Until we meet again SBMS!   un abrazo, Candice

Photos by Dr. Bryan Williams

 

Day seven SBMS~ June 29th, 2017

Last day of classes!!!! Students had a blast presenting their final projects and receiving their official University of Granada Certificates! They were very grateful to their teachers and will miss them deeply.

After school students headed back to the residence for a three course lunch consisting of lasagna, soup and fresh fruit. Then it was time for………… “La sobremesa”!

Students were then given time to do their last bit of shopping in Granada’s bustling downtown area.  If there is one thing this town is not missing, it is…… shopping options! There is something for everyone and students definitely found wonderful souvenirs and other “recuerdos” to bring home to forever remind of them their experiences here in Granada.  However, it is quite obvious that the most import “recuerdo” they will bring home is a changed perspective and a heart full of jovial times imbrued into their souls over the last eight days here in Spain.

This afternoon’s excursion was the tour of the ancient Albaicin, the original city of Granada.   As students wound their way through it’s “laberinto” layout, their journey allowed them to travel back to the time of the moors who once ruled this stronghold and were protected by the omnipresent golden glow of the Alhambra Fortress.  Students then reached the summit, “El Mirador de San Nicolas” where panoramic views of Granada were breathtaking and helped to put their city of residence into visual perspective.  Their tour ended in a traditional “tetaría” where students tried “hierbabuena” tea and a sampling arabic pastries.  Then, it was back to the residence hall for a fabulous dinner and dessert of “torrijas”.

Another amazing day in Andalucia’s most sought after city, Granada!

Photos by Dr. Bryan Williams