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.