Aanya – Upon our arrival in Spain, I have noticed many cultural differences. One that stood out to me was the food and eating in general. In Spain, we eat five times a day: Breakfast (before you leave for school), Patio (snack during school from 12-12:30 pm), Lunch (2:30-3:30 pm), Merienda (around 5 pm), and Dinner (around 9 pm). As you can probably tell, this is very different to how we eat in the US: 3 meals a day, with occasional snacks in between. These 5 meals that we eat are very small – smaller than a US meal – and are very often. Meals consist of bread with butter or olive oil, a main dish, and a side dish which is often yogurt, fruit, or picos. Picos are small breadstick type pieces of bread that are very crunchy and very tasty. We also eat a lot of meat such as jamón either by itself or in a sandwich. All in all, I would say that the food is a lot better than the US and they way that we eat is also very different. I know that this is probably going to be something that I will miss the most!
Linda – The school dynamic of Spain really surprised me, for looking at the webs site and photos my host student Ana sent me, I thought it was going to be very strict and disciplined. However, after experiencing the school life in Spain for a week, my preconceptions were completely changed. The classes are very relaxed, and although taught in a way where it is leased student-centered, the students still get to participate and actively engage. Laude El Altillo is a pre k-12 school, so when classes end, the hallway is filled with students of all ages — talking, laughing, pushing… It was very different from Porter’s and reminded me a lot of the Chinese elementary school that I went to, actually. They also had a time in the day called “patio”, where everyone went outside and either played basketball or just sat and talked. I would always sit with my host student and her friends and it was a ton of fun getting to know them. My favorite class so far was Math. It was in the afternoon right before lunch, and the teacher was teaching the students about limits. She explained the concept very thoroughly and then presented some problems on the board. Having done limits before, I competed the problems quickly and asked the teacher to check them. The two boys behind me seemed to be struggling a bit, so I turned around to help them. We ended up having a really fun conversation for the rest of the class, in which I learned that Pedro Sanchez is the best and the way you should say “there is no doubt” is “No cabe dudi”. The past week has been absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to try more delicious food, meet more new friends, and make more wonderful memories.
Sarah T. – So far the classes are quite similar in the way that they have consecutive classes while breaking them up during the day. Classes start at 9, and school ends at 5. The classes are shorter than what we are used to, one hour each. There are no passing times between classes since it’s all in the same building but tardiness isn’t penalized in this school, rather, the students make the effort to arrive to class in a timely manner as much as possible. It’s a pretty big school, ranging pre-k to 12th grades. The grades aren’t divided rather they share the same building. Talking about the classes, Laude has the mostly the same content in their courses, using IB as an advanced course, similar to our AP ones. Similarly like our schedule now, they alternate courses day to day. They also take required courses like chemistry, biology, and physics…all at the same time. Wow. However, instead of requiring taking one language course, they take two, both English and French. My host student told me that the little kids are now starting to learn both languages.
Alex – After attending classes at Laude for three days now, I have had some time to reflect on what I have observed. I have found that certain expectations at Laude are much different than at Porter’s. The classes are more relaxed, but follow a more of a lecture style. At the same time, many of the things the Laude students are learning are the same as what we learn at Porter’s. I have met many of the younger students at the school during recess time, and they have been very welcoming. Most students that I have met know English very well, and most are learning French as a third language. The social atmosphere is similar to that of Porter’s, from what I have experienced. There are smaller friend groups, though students are well acquainted with most of their peers. I look forward to new learning and experiences next week!
Delaney – The first week was a challenge, getting used to an entire different culture is not easy. In the beginning of the week I was very nervous and a little scared. By the end of the week those feelings had decreased and I feel a little more connected and immersed in the spanish culture.
Ashley – The week was full of laughs and discoveries of how connected the world really is. Every where I looked I saw shirts with writing in English and some of the same stories, ads, and movies that we have in America.
Kelly – The first week was amazing and I enjoyed becoming more connected with my host family!
Linda – This week has been absolutely amazing. From going to school and blending in, to talking to my host family for hours, I really couldn’t ask for a better experience!
Aanya – During this first great week in Spain, I strived to become more connected with my group and the Spanish culture in order to experience new things that I would never do if I were here alone.
Alex – The first week I practiced facing obstacles by thinking outside of the box to deal with things such as language barriers, physical and emotional wellness, and socializing with new people.
Charlotte – I learned that the only way to get through some challenges outside of one’s comfort zone is by sticking with the people who understand how you feel.
Elle – I feel connected the Laude community because everyone was welcoming and open-minded.
Audrey – My first week in Spain was amazing! I connected immediately with my host student Lucia and her family as well as enjoying the culture, language and especially the food!