To start off I woke up pretty early this morning because we had school today and when I got there I followed my host student’s school schedule because our host students were at the workshop. Classes were fun and I had friends in my classes with me which made it easier and more fun and I connected with other students in class from Spain. Something that surprised me was that in the classes the teachers spoke English for the most part which made it easier to understand what was going on. My favorite class that I sat through today was biology because the teacher was really nice and the class itself was really interesting! After some classes, we went to lunch and saw Mr. Rollan and Robi which was nice. Before our Porter’s meeting all the host students and the Porter’s girls talked and connected with each other outside until it was time to go upstairs. My favorite part of today was classes and having a meeting with our Porter’s group. I enjoyed this because we all got to connect and share our different experiences with the group and talk about how Spain is going for each of us. I also just really missed the whole group being together and it was nice to hear about how everyone was doing and I liked sharing what was on my mind with the group. After that, I and some friends went to the library and chilled and talked which was really nice after a long day of school. I then went home with Laura my host student! Today was really fun!
Today was the second day of attending classes at SEK in Madrid! Since our host students had workshops all day in order to complete certificates for Miss Porter’s, Jolie, Julia, and I attended some of the SEK classes together. The school day is very different from that at Porter’s! Classes begin at 9:30 and end at 5:30. Mealtimes are also different, with a snack at twelve and lunch at three. My host parent helped me with the adjustment by making us “tostadas” in the morning and getting us “tortitas con chocolate” after school. All of the students at SEK were really friendly. It was funny that many of them were interested in American culture and others wanted to practice English with us. Overall, I am having a lot of fun and look forward to exploring Spain and spending more time with my host family.
Today is January 12th of 2020 and it has been one of the best days ever! My host sister, Alba, and I went to so many beautiful places in Madrid! We first started our morning by going to a local cafe. In this cafe, Alba and I ordered some sandwiches with Spanish ham: a whole new experience for me. It was amazing. We then went to the main plaza to go shopping for around two hours. After that, we had lunch at around two pm. For this meal, we had the Spanish omelet (my new favorite dish) which has patatas in it! Next, we walked around the street for around another thirty minutes. We then took a taxi to the Royal Palace de Madrid — which Alba has never been to either. The palace was one of the most beautiful architectures I have ever seen in my whole entire life. We not only took so many photos but also took everything into our eyes. The ceilings were carved and decorated with gold images and the chandeliers were glossy and glittery just as if they were stars. At the end of the day, Alba and I got a taxi back to her casa and worked on our homework for a while. We then had dinner at nine pm and watched TV for a bit as we talked about our interests and programs like the TIE certificate. I am enjoying all aspects of this trip — even though I am still quite jetlagged because I came straight from Korea on the 11th — and definitely do not want to leave this place 🙁 Love españa and love intermission!!
Jolie: Today I went to El Escorial with my host student. El Escorial is a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school and hospital and was an old royal Spanish place. There were many beautiful artworks there but unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures of them. The artworks were very colorful despite being there for so many years. It was cold inside and outside the buildings. After that, we had lunch. One of the dishes we ordered that I really liked was called La Berenjena. It was fried eggplant with sweet brown sugar sauce and it was delicious! At night, I went ice skating with my host student, Julia, Kaitlin, and their host students. We skated for around an hour and then had dinner.
Sam: Well, for starters Ava and I slept for 14 hours which means that we got up at 2:00 pm! Our host family has blinders that block out the sun entirely which I’m entirely grateful for. Then, we ate breakfast and an hour later we had lunch with our host family. (Cereal for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch.) We watched The Devil Wears Prada during our siesta and are about to go out to see Madrid. Overall, today was very relaxed and needed after our trip to Spain.
Julia: Today I explored Madrid with my host family! It is quite a change of scenery from winter in Farmington, the weather in Madrid today was sunny with blue skies. We went to a famous and historic palace called the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid). It is the most beautiful and detailed place I have ever stepped foot into. The palace became the official home of the Spanish Monarchy in 1561 but is now only used for ceremonies. There was a major fire on Christmas Eve of 1734 that brought the palace to ruins, but was rebuilt in 1738 and finished in 1751. Several architects and artists were hired to make the palace beautiful, luxurious, and extremely representative of the Spanish monarchy. Every room, hallway, and painting has its own story to tell. One of the rooms, Salón Gasparini, took over 40 years to complete! All of the decoration, floors, and embroidery were impressively done by one artist, Martías Gasparini. This room was used for the King to get dressed in the presence of the court. The palace life seemed very good for the royal families in Spain. The amount of work and detail put into the decoration and architecture is unbelievable. I do not think there are any places nearly similar to the Palacio Real de Madrid in the United States. If I lived in the palace I feel like I would get lost since there are so many rooms and hallways. The palace shows that there is a lot of respect towards the Spanish monarchy and that art and architecture are really relevant in Spanish history and culture. We ate a lot of food today! Some of my favorites were fried shrimp, a fruit smoothie, bubble tea, and churros! The markets with seafood and churros were both very busy and are popular in Madrid. It has been really fun staying with my host family and getting to know them. They have been so welcoming and are giving me a perspective of life in Madrid! I have also really enjoyed hearing their views on the United States. I am so happy to be in Spain and see the world from a different lens!
Ava: ¡¡¡¡¡Bienvenidos!!!!! Our Spanish IM group finally made it to Spain after months of prep, a 2 hour bus ride to JFK, and a 6-hour plane. And even though we spent the first day fighting off sleep, it was still a really amazing and fulfilling day. Everyone got to meet their host sisters, and they were all so amazing and welcoming. The SEK school is really pretty and has really nice facilities. The classes were all really interesting and different experiences than the ones at home, so it was fun to observe. Sam and I went home with our host student and got to go have a snack at a local bakery which was really delicious. We are so tired from the long travel day and excited to get to bed!
Mariela: As Ava described, we had a long first day of traveling! When we got to SEK we met our host sisters and enjoyed bocadillos, small sandwiches made with Spanish bread and meat or cheese. After taking a tour of the school we shadowed our host students for the rest of their day. I got to experience Lengua, Visual Arts, French, and geography with Micaela (my host). We have a lot in common and bonded instantly. After school, I settled in, ate dinner with Micaela and her family, and finally, we shopped at the Gran Plaza before heading to bed. So excited for the rest of our adventure together.
Robi and Oscar report that our students left school with their host students last night and were welcomed warmly by their host families in their homes. They unpacked, settled in, ate delicious meals and headed to bed after a long day. Today, they are learning about life living in a Spanish family and exploring Madrid with their host families.
I will post pictures as soon as I receive them! Stay tuned!
Our world travelers landed safely in Madrid, boarded the SEK bus and were driven to the school. They were met and welcomed by their host students – there were many hugs and much excitement! After having some refreshments and attending an orientation session, our students are currently accompanying their host students in their classes.
Though tired from the flight, Robi and Oscar report that everyone is in great spirits as they hit the ground running today! All are looking forward to traveling home with their host students and meeting their host families this evening.
The group is en route! After a 3:00pm departure from Farmington, they arrived at JFK with time for some food and rest before boarding they departed at 9:00pm on Iberia Flight #6252 for Madrid. Robi and Oscar reported that everyone is feeling good, energized, and very excited to start their journey.
The group is due to arrive in Madrid at 9:55am local time on Friday, January 10th. I will update this blog once the group has arrived in Spain.
We are getting excited for this 11th grade InterMission class to begin their incredible journey to SEK – El Castillo International School in Madrid, Spain!
You can expect to receive updates once daily on this blog. Please keep in mind that the time in Spain will be 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time so the postings may not happen on a schedule that makes sense in your time zone. This blog is the place to find pictures, videos and reflections from students and faculty on the trip, as well as to receive daily updates about the group’s activities and experiences. We are asking our faculty trip leaders to post all materials so that students can be present for every moment and so that they will not worry about posting to the blog in a timely manner.
We also strongly encourage you to keep contact with your children to a minimum during the immersion, which will allow them to fully experience the life and community of the school. Emailing periodically is a great way to touch base with without disrupting their experiences in school and other activities. We strongly discourage texting and phone calls for the duration of this cultural immersion.
It is going to be a FANTASTIC experience for all and we look forward to sharing it with you on this blog.