Monthly Archives: January 2019

Week 1 Reflections

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!

Seville – Day 3

Today we went to Seville with our host sisters and their history teacher, Roberto, who taught us all about the city and its past. The weather was perfect and the sights were magnificent!

Charlotte and Juliana share about their reactions to Seville:

Going to Sevilla was the highlight of my trip so far. In my opinion, it was as fascinating as New
York City without all of the crowds and trash. In Sevilla, there are several beautiful places to see
and learn about (and take some amazing pictures of). What better way to see it all then a horse
drawn carriage ride? Most places in America, if you were to take a horse guided tour, you are
bound to see very modern buildings for the most part. But while riding around town, we saw
beautiful ancient gardens, a palace, a cathedral, and more. After the ride, we decided to walk
around to find a place to eat. I was very surprised to see a lot of places that I recognize, such as
Burger King, Dunkin Donuts (not only America runs on Dunkin), and Starbucks. But with careful
consideration, we decided to skip lunch and go straight to the dessert. We got beautiful flowers
made of Gelato with a macaroon on top. It was by far the best I had ever had. I’ve had gelato in
the states before but I was never really a fan, but now that I’ve had the real deal I’m sold. I’m
grateful I get the chance to soon have more experiences in Grenda, Cadiz, and Jerez.

Juliana – Today we went to Seville, and it was awesome! We were able to see a lot of beautiful buildings, and we saw a palace, and we ate really good gelato today. I noticed how all of the architecture was very detailed, either the way the cement was shaped, or the paint that was put on it. During the whole day I was so amazed by everything. There was a gigantic fountain in the middle of La Plaza de España. Some things that reminded me of home were:
-The way people walk around streets, especially in NYC! People just walk where they please.
-Almost every road has a bike lane. They even have “horse lanes” for the carriages!
-The city is different because there aren’t that many tall building for businesses and such, they are primarily just apartments above the café or restaurant.
The architecture is very different than home, and people also seem to be more aware of everything around them instead of rushing around with headphones in and being on their phone. People here take the time to look around. I don’t really notice that back home! Seville was so nice! I am so fortunate to have gone!

Learning about and appreciating Seville!

Soaking up the sun!


Catedral de Santa María de la Sede



Jerez – Day 2

Today, our students are feeling more confident navigating school and the town and are quickly getting over the time change. After attending class this morning, we had our check-in and then were off to lunch. After lunch, we spent time in the primary school (ages 3-5) playing outside and practicing our Spanish! We are so excited to spend the whole day in Seville tomorrow!


Today, Sarah M. and Lotus took time to reflect on the town of Jerez as well as their host families:

Sarah M. – When I first arrived in Jerez, I was struck by the orange trees that line the streets and the brilliant colors of the buildings. I learned quickly from my host sister that the oranges are not for eating, but are beautiful to look at. The first night, we went to the supermarket. We bought picos, a type of breadstick that is eaten with dinner or as a snack. We also purchased all kinds of fruit juice, pork, and pudding. My host family taught me the names of all different types of food. Like my own family when I am home, my host family eats dinner together and discusses their days. I loved being a part of my host family’s daily activities. The second night, my host sister and I walked to her friend’s apartment. On the way, we picked up more picos, as we had eaten them all the night before. We also walked to and from school every day. We made our way through parks and a shopping area lined with orange and palm trees. We ran into some more friends on the way and caught up. I felt a sense of the community of the area as we walked and talked. I’ve never lived in the type of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and friends are within walking distance, but I have always wanted to. Now, for two weeks, I have that chance. I am excited to walk all kinds of new places.

Below is a video that Sarah took that shows the orange trees that she mentioned:


Lotus – Another successful day in Spain! All of us were more awake than we were yesterday, thankfully, and were better prepared to take on new challenges as a result. My host family has been incredibly welcoming and accommodating to me, and I get the impression that the other students have had similar experiences. My host father, Jose, drives us to school, my host mother, María, brings us home, and my host student, María Jose, helps me throughout the day. We have a morning and afternoon snack every day in addition to our normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which I wasn’t expecting. Before coming to Spain, I heard that meals eaten here were smaller than those eaten in the United States, but, whether due to the size or the frequency of meals, I haven’t been hungry since I arrived. Last night, I had the opportunity to go shopping in Jerez’s center, and I was surprised at some of the things there. The streets were only for foot traffic and my host student and I had to walk back to the road to meet the car again. Some of the prices also shocked me. After doing euro to dollar conversions in my head, the clothes and makeup seemed to be of a slightly higher price than in U.S. stores, but the pastries we bought were much more affordable. Jerez is as beautiful and welcoming in real life as it is in photos and I’m having fun embracing the many differences I’m beginning to see between life at home and life in Spain.

Jerez – clear skies and amazing sunlight!

Making new friends during break time

Eating lunch in the cafeteria


On the playground with students from primary school


Jerez – Day 1

Today was our first full day at Laude El Altillo and after a brief check in with Oscar and Michelle, the students headed to class with their host sisters. The MPS students shared that the Laude teachers and students are keeping them fully included in class and throughout the day.

We ended the day with a cooking workshop and we made churros with the head chef from Laude!

Today Daria and Julia reflected on their experience so far:

Daria – When we first arrived at school, I did not realize how a couple of factors could so quickly alter what school is like.  First off, the school begins at pre-school and runs through 12th grade which is a big difference from Porter’s. Also there are two recesses a day in which everyone goes outside and either chats or plays sports.  Although we have community time at Porter’s, it is nothing like the recess that we have at Laude. I have noticed that there is no passing time between classes and being a little late is not an issue. I’ve also noticed how the classes are taught in more of a lecture style instead of interactive work and group work.  So far my experience has been great. It has taught me about the different teaching styles and about what school is like away from Porters.

Julia –


After being in Spain for 1 day now, many things have stood out to me. When we arrived I was expecting a busy airport, similar to JFL. Instead we had a different experience when we got off the plane outdoors, it was so cool! I really enjoyed getting to see my host sister and meeting her family. Since we live very close to the school, we are able to walk and we walk under the countless rows of orange trees. For our snack throughout the day we take an orange and put it in our bags. Overall my personal experience has been great, when first arriving I was hesitant with trying to speak spanish if fear of getting laughed at but now after some time I am already feeling confident with some things in spanish.

Some similarities from Laude that occur back home is the material that they are learning, while sitting in on some classes, we quickly realized that we were learning the same things in school around the same time.

Once we sleep off the jetlag, all of us will soon be fully speaking spanish!

Making churros

Hard at work making sure they’re cooked!

Now we get to eat them! So delicious!

The group arrived in Spain and reconnected with their host sisters at Laude el Altillo!

The group arrived in Madrid on time and easily made their flight to Jerez. Upon leaving the airport in Jerez, they were greeted by the warm, southern Spanish sunshine while en route to Laude el Altillo for a snack and to reconnect with their host sisters. Oscar and Michelle report that students are tired from traveling but elated to be finally be in Spain and to be reunited with the same girls whom they hosted at Porter’s in October. The room was filled with laughter, excitement and many hugs!

At the Madrid airport, waiting for their flight to Jerez.

Walking from the bus into Laude el Altillo in the warm sunshine.

Snacks and juice at Laude.

Reunited at last with their host sisters!

The group will eat lunch then join their host sisters in their afternoon activities before heading off to their homestays for the night.


Wheels are up and the group is off to Spain!

After a mid-day departure from Farmington, the group arrived at JFK with plenty of time for lunch and card games before boarding their Iberian Air flight #6250 for Madrid. Michelle and Oscar reported that everyone is super excited to reconnect with their host sisters and embark on this adventure at Laude el Altillo.

Their flight is due to arrive in Madrid tomorrow, January 8th at 6:20am local time, which will be 12:20am EST. They will have a short layover in Madrid before boarding their Iberian Airways flight #8516 for Jerez at 8:55am local time, finally arriving in Jerez at 10:10am local time tomorrow (4:10am EST). I will update this blog once the group has arrived in Jerez.