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Cádiz – 1/17/19

Sarah M. reflects on our visit to Cádiz with the host students:

Today, we returned to Cadiz. I had been with my host sister and her friends by train on Saturday, so I was familiar with the beautiful walled city and its beaches and shops. However, I was unfamiliar with its history. I learned today that Cadiz is the oldest city in Europe and was occupied by the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, and Spanish, but never the French. Cadiz was Spain’s last stronghold during its occupation in the Napoleonic wars! We entered a cathedral built in the 13th century, where I was amazed by the detail in the faces of the statues. We also saw the facade of a cathedral that took 200 years to build and its many colors of stone as it changed over the years of work. My friends and I went cafe-hopping all along the old, winding streets of the city while other shopped or visited various historical sites.

Jerez – Excursion and Padel

Today we headed out into the center of Jerez with Concha, a teacher from Laude, to explore. We saw the Alcázar and went to a Bodega (Winery) to learn about the history of Sherry Wine, which southern Spain is famous for. The students had some free time before heading to school for lunch and a Padel lesson.

Julia – Today was so much fun! We started the day off by visiting the center of Jerez, there we saw many historical monuments and various water fountains. I have noticed that there are so many fountains and statues because instead of having traffic lights, they have round-abouts. There in the center of the round-about is the statue or other monument. We then made our way over to a vineyard where we went on a train tour, walking tour, and a sample of the grape juice. It was beautiful with all the architecture and plants. The plants here are always looking full because of the warmer weather never fully getting too cold for plants to continue growing. While walking around Jerez my friends and I stopped at an authentic bakery where we got baguettes and donuts for only 3 euros! They were delicious.  After our trip around Jerez we went back to school and got to opportunity to play a sport here in Spain called ,” Padel,” this game is very similar to tennis and squash. It is played on a court a little smaller than a tennis court but still enclosed similar to squash. We all had so much fun learning and playing the sport and wish that we could all play again another day. Today was a very busy day and I am looking forward to our trip to Cádiz tomorrow!

Daria – Today we explored the city of Jerez.  We got to see the architecture, the market, the streets of Jerez and also the famous winery.  On our wine tour we got to see the barrels in which the wine is stored and also learned about the wine making process.  We saw the different types of wine that are made at the winery and even got to take a train ride around. During our free time I walked the streets of Jerez and went to a cafe to grab a Spanish donut.  Finally we got to see the Market in Jerez. The market contained everything from fresh fish to fruit to clothes. It was completely different from the typical grocery store that I would visit. Overall this excursion taught me alot about the city we go to school in and gave significance to the city as well.

Tasting the grape juice – very sweet!



Granada – Alhambra Visit

Today we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel before heading further up into the mountains to visit the Alhambra and learn all about its rich history. We went on a three hour guided tour so we definitely reached our steps goal while gaining knowledge! Spain IM took over the Miss Porter’s Instagram story feed today so check that out as well!

Meg – After an amazing weekend, the Miss Porter’s group left Jerez and traveled overnight to Granada. Monday, everyone broke into small groups after settling into the hotel to explore the city. My friends and I stopped at a small cafe before exploring the Cathedral of Granada. The Cathedral was filled to the brim with golden artifacts. The following day, the Miss Porter’s group reunited to visit the Alhambra. Walking about 9,000 steps, the 19 of us learned about the intense history of the Alhambra. Who would have guessed the most important part of the Alhambra was the intricate water system? The architecture of the palaces was breathtaking, but nothing beat the view overlooking the entire city! Spending all day out in the sun made the bus ride back to Jerez the perfect nap.

Delaney – Today we went to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was a very beautiful palace. The palace contains water streams that flow all through the palace. It was amazing to walk through the gardens and see all of the water flowing through. We also went to a few of the palaces within the palace which were all stunning. The architecture of the buildings was so precise and beautiful. I had a nice time walking through and taking in all of the beautiful architecture that was before me. Also, the view from the top of the mountains was AMAZING!!

Elle – We experienced Granada as travelers and tourists. On the first day, we had free time to explore Granada on our own. We relied on our instincts and walked to wherever! I had a good time taking photos, watching people, and shopping at unique Spanish boutiques. We were there for six hours but it went by very quickly. The next day we toured the Alhambra. The palace was grand and beautiful. Thanks to our tour guide, Beatriz, we learned a lot of facts about the Alhambra in both English and Spanish. Fun fact! Granada is Pomegranate in Spanish. The two days were amazing and I really did not want to leave but I am excited to go back to school tomorrow 🙂


Weekend Homestay Reflections

Our students had busy weekends with their host families! Activities, food and fun!

Meg – This weekend in Spain was all about having a lot of fun with old and new friends! Saturday, my host student and I met up with our friends from Porter’s and Laude to eat lunch at Mala Burger, followed by shopping in the center of Jerez. After a fun-filled day Saturday, Sunday held more in store. For lunch, my host student held a barbecue at her house. Everyone ate loads of bread, pork, and chocolate while sitting by the pool. Afterwards, the group of us walked to the beach and watched a beautiful sunset, the perfect way to end the perfect weekend.

Ashley – This weekend started off with my host sister Lydia and I going to the movies. We met up with six of her friends and saw Unfriended: Dark Web (a horror movie) in Spanish. The movie was good, although it made for an interesting walk back home after.
On Saturday, I took the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy a little downtime before a day full of walking. Seventeen Porter’s and Laude El Altillo students walked around historic Cadiz. While Lydia lives in Cadiz it has expanded over the years. It was a fascinating bus trip as I watched modern Cadiz slowly transform into old stone buildings as we made the trip.  The buses alone were an experience. They are very clean and every time the open the doors the bus tilts so it is easier to get on and off the bus.
I got home with a little time before dinner and snacked on almonds and Parmesan. Dinner was vegetable soup similar in both taste and texture to butternut squash bisque.  For dessert I had arroz con leche which is rice and milk with a little bit of cinnamon on top and it was delicious.
Sunday morning I had a breakfast of churros with my host family and then attended mass with Lydia’s mother which was a great experience. The mass was similar to ones in the USA but it had slight differences, one of which was the fact that this service had a live “band” with guitar players and drums. The rest of the family met us outside of church for a day out.
Our first stop was Vejer de la Frontera or as they referred to it a Pueblo blanco (white town). On the way to Vejer, Valeriano and Vanessa (Lydia’s parents) told me about everything we drove by.  I saw shallow pools of water which I found out evaporate leaving salt behind which is harvested and sold. In fact, when we made churros earlier in the week as a group we used salt from Cadiz. We continued the drive and drove across a narrow strip of land with water on both sides. It was not much wider than the road  and they informed me that it was the only piece of land connecting Cadiz to mainland Spain. Cadiz is classified as a peninsula as a result of that narrow strip of land, instead of an island.
When we made it to Vejer we walked through a park and spent time just being present strolling through the streets. They call it a white town because all of the buildings are white.  We stopped for tapas, which were delicious, before continuing to explore. For tapas I had nachos that had amazing cheese on top and I tried a cheese local to the region called Payoyo. We then stopped for lunch. Lunch continued the trend from the rest of the week and had yet another amazing meal.
After lunch we went to our final destination of the day: Conil de la Frontera. It was almost like a ghost town. They brought me there because of the beach but explained that the town is a summer hotspot. Very few people live there year round.
I have spent a lot of time wandering through small stone paved streets and looking at the ocean this weekend. It was full of good food, lots of walking, and the company of amazing people from both Spain and Porter’s.

Freya- This past weekend has to be one of the most adventurous I have had in the past few months and can probably top the amazing winter break I just had.

Our generous host students have been trying their best to keep us occupied with fun and eventful things since we arrived. Every day after school, there was something new and exciting: exploring the city center, going to the mall, etc. Even though our trip to Seville was still fresh and the excitement had not worn off, we were already on our way to explore another city – Cadiz.

So that was how Saturday started. Got on the train, off the train, and there we were in the beautiful small coastal city. Our Spanish friends brought us to the commercial area of town. The architecture seemed less refined than what we saw in Seville on Friday, but the colorful facades of buildings, liveliness of the streets, and the beautiful local shops in the corners were no less magnificent. We had two hours before congregating for lunch, so Sarah T. and I spent the time visiting La Caleta beach. The view of the Atlantic was glorious. Coming from a city on the Pacific coast, I was still stunned by what I saw. Up close by the shore, the water seemed playful yet peaceful; however, looking farther away, I could only see where the ocean met the sky. I gasped at the beauty and power of nature.  

It was only a little bit past noon when we arrived at the beach. There were few people walking around, which gave us the perfect time and location for an impromptu photoshoot. While documenting the moment. we had a great time talking, running, jumping, and just simply having the most fun ever. It is only the day after as I am writing this, but it will surely be one of the very memorable events in my life.

Time flew when we were enjoying ourselves in nature. We had to quickly run to meet the rest of our group at a restaurant. Nevertheless, after lunch, the whole group decided to explore the beach, so I had the chance to experience all the fun again. This time, we stopped at some different places, and I noticed some different things. For example, there were lots of cats on the shore playing and sleeping alongside seagulls.


Delaney –

On Saturday Macarena and I went out to lunch with the rest of the group at a nice burger place in Jerez. After that we went to the city center of Jerez and ate some more and went shopping! On Sunday the group went to Manuela’s house which is very beautiful. We had a bbq lunch cookout and had a lot of fun! We stayed there all day and watched the sunset. It was a very relaxed, but fun weekend.
Elle –
We enjoyed our weekend with our host students doing what they usually do
during their regular weekends. On Saturday, we started our day around 3PM.
One thing I have noticed is that their days start later than ours and their meeting
times are lenient. We originally have planned to meet at 1PM but ended up
meeting at 3PM. We had lunch at a Spanish style burger place and walked to
the central city plaza. There, as a group, we sat at a café to drink coke and split
up into small groups to shop. I went shopping with Audrey and Meg and we
explored the whole city center. We each got something that we liked at Zara.
Afterwards, we all walked to a park nearby and talked with friends from Laude
and people from other schools as well. On Sunday, some students from Laude
and Porter’s gathered at Manuela’s house located in Sanlúca, which is about 30
minutes away from school, to have a barbeque party. We had really good
bread, cheese, jamón, potato tortillas, and steak. After eating, we played
Spanish music, danced, and talked until the sun started setting. We all walked
to the playa de La Jara, a beach nearby, to enjoy the sunset. I brought my
camera and took many pictures of the sunset and my friends. This weekend
was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life especially because
things like gathering at a park or enjoying the sunset at the beach is not what I
normally do not do when I hang out with my friends in the States or in Korea.
Emerging myself in the Spanish high school culture was interesting and fun!

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Reflection on the culture

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.

Reflection on the classes at El Altillo

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!

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