And Spain is off, wheels are up!

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.

Stay tuned!

Welcome to the 19-20 Porter’s in Spain Blog!

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.

Spain group arrived in Madrid!

The group had an easy flight from Jerez to Madrid earlier this morning and are currently waiting to board their Iberian Air flight #6253 to JFK. They are due to depart Madrid on time at 4:10pm local time (10:10am EST) and arrive at JFK at 6:30pm EST this evening.

I will let you know once they are en route to JFK.

Waiting to check in at Jerez Airport earlier today.


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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