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62 posts categorized "Travel"

07/07/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ SUMMER 2014 (SESSION 2): NEWSLETTER.

Newsletter

 From June 30th to July 10th.

  Our students summer 2014 (session 2) arrived save and sound, and their luggage too.

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 We stayed at the hotel 2 days and one night. They learnt everything they need to know in Alcalá, and of course Instituto Benjamin Franklin stays. So, they were a little bit tired but they resisted with courage the big amount of documents they had to sign for IBF and CIEE (release form for media recording, ciee data protection students form, ciee Alcalá rules, language commitment, IBF disciplinary policy, IBF-UAH housing regulations and home stay contrac, IBF form for media recording).

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We ate a lot and we had fun as well. At the end of the second day, they went with their Spanish families.

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But two days later, I had to change one student  to other family, because of internet connection. I had several conversations with the student about her situation. While she said that her host family was lovely and kind, the circumstances of the home were affecting her in a negative way. The first family had change their internet company connection ten days before the arrival of our student, but they had a lot of problems. It was very difficult to be in the home without internet connectivity. While the family was generous in offering to take her to places where she could access the internet, it was very inconvenient for her. Now, Hannah is happy and I am happy too.

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 On Wednesday the students started their courses at IBF and in the afternoon we had an Alcalá walking tour.

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 On Friday we went to Madrid in order to learn how to use the transportation passes and the transportation system. It was a nice day. We walked more than the students usually walk in USA, but they did not complain at all. They were very understanding.

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   On Saturday 5th most of our students attended to 2014 Madrid Gay Parade and on Sunday 6th went to Segovia.

     2014 gay parade

Segovia sesión 2

By the way, our two sessions students are travelling a lot and they enjoy their stay here!!!!!

Chicas 2 sesiones bis

 

Chicas dos sesiones tris

04/02/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ-SPRING 2014- Diana Dorn (University of Wisconsin-Madison): CIEE Alcalá Field trip to Valencia.

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Español

Este fin de semana el grupo CIEE fue a Valencia, una ciudad en el este de España en la costa Mediterránea. Valencia es en el grupo de las 4 ciudades más famosos de España incluyendo Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla y Valencia. La ciudad, como casi todas, es una mezcla bonita de elementos antiguos y nuevos. Cuando llegamos, fuimos al hotel para comer los picnics de nuestras familias y después anduvimos en un recorrido de parte de Valencia y vimos la Puerta del Mar, La Universidad de Valencia y la catedral de Valencia, por nombrar unas cosas. Durante el recorrido, Cristina nos enseñó sobre unas comidas típicas de Valencia como la horchata de chufas (una bebida de agua, azúcar y chufas mojadas), el agua de Valencia (un cóctel de champán, zumo de naranja, vodka y ginebra), buñuelos (masa de calabaza frita) y paella Valenciana. Nosotros probamos casi todas las comidas típicas y todas estaban muy ricas.

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Buñuelos de Calabaza

 

El sábado fuimos al Museo Fallero para aprender sobre las fallas en Valencia. Cada marzo en Valencia hay un festival en que falleros construyen fallas de madera, papel y cera. Las fallas son como grandes esculturas de cosas o personas satíricas del año pasado en los ojos del fallero. El festival principal de las fallas es del  15 hasta el 19 de marzo. Hay muchas tradiciones y eventos que ocurren en este tiempo pero dos en particular son las mascletás, que son unas exhibiciones de petardos en diferentes barrios y la última y más grande es en la Plaza del Ayuntamiento (que vimos el domingo), y la Cremá, en que se ponen las fallas en fuego para quemar totalmente. Después del museo, fuimos a la ciudad de las artes y las ciencias. Hay 5 edificios o estructuras principales incluyendo el Hemisféric, la Umbracle, el Museo Príncipe Felipe de Ciencias, el Oceanográfico y el Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. Fui con mis amigas, Megan, Lindsay y Jess, al oceanográfico para ver los peces, tiburones, delfines y mucho más.

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El domingo hicimos otro recorrido por Valencia y conocimos más lugares como la plaza de toros y la plaza del ayuntamiento. Dos lugares importantes son el Mercado de Colón que muestra el estilo arquitectónico modernista y la Lonja de la Seda donde conocimos sobre el mercado de seda. En fin, Valencia es una ciudad muy bonita y dinámica con muchas cosas que hacer y muchos lugares para visitar. Los viajes de CIEE son muy divertidos e informativos para todos y son un parte especial del programa CIEE.

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English

This weekend the CIEE group went to Valencia. Valencia is in the east of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea and is in the group of the 4 most famous cities in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia. The city, like almost all, is a beautiful blend of old and new. When we first arrived in Valencia we went to our hotel to eat the lunches that our families packed for us. After, we went for a walk around part of Valencia and saw the Door to the Sea, the University of Valencia, the Cathedral of Valencia, and much more. During the walk Cristina taught us about some of the typical food of Valencia including horcata de chufa (a drink consisting of a mix of water, sugar, and wet chufas which in English can be called tiger nuts), Valencian water (another drink which is a mix of champagne, orange juice, vodka, and gin), fritters (fried pumpkin dough, similar to a doughnut), and Valencian paella. We tried almost all the typical foods and enjoyed them all.

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Saturday we went to a museum about a festival in Valencia called Las Fallas. Every March in Valencia there is a festival in which “falleros” create gigantic sculptures made out of wood, paper, and wax. The sculptures are normally famous people or events from the past year that the sculptor (fallero) finds satirical. The main event of Las Fallas is the 15 through the 19th of March and there are many different traditions and events that occur. On the last day of Las Fallas they set the sculptures on fire and people come from all over the world to watch. After the museum we went to see the city of art and science. It is made up of 5 main buildings called the Hemispheric, the Umbracle, the Principe Felipe Museum of Science, the Oceanographic, and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. My friends Megan, Lindsay, Jess, and I went to the Oceanografic to see the fish, sharks, dolphins, and much more.

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Sunday we went on another walk through Valencia and we saw many more places like the plaza of the bulls and the plaza of city hall. Two other important places that we saw were the market of Colon, which consists of modern style architecture, and the Silk Market where we learned about Valencia’s rich history in the silk business. Valencia is a very beautiful and dynamic city with many things to do and see. This trips we take with CIEE are always a special, fun, unique experience and something that I personally look forward to.

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03/25/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ-SPRING 2014- VICTORIA HALER (UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON): SKIING.

Esquiar en  la COMUNIDAD de Madrid

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Si tienes ganas de esquiar cerca de Madrid, tienes tres opciones. Las estaciones de esquís en la zona de Madrid incluyen: Navacerrada, Valdesquí y La Pinilla. Todas tienen opciones para todos los niveles de esquiadores y escuelas de esquí para aprender por pistas difíciles para una esquiadora experimentada. Cuando estás listas para esquiar, hay tres pistas diferentes: verde, azul y roja. Las verdes son fáciles, las azules son medianas y las rojas son difíciles. Si no tienes tu propio equipo para esquiar, puedes alquilar uno durante todo un día. Más o menos cuesta 20€ por las botas, los esquíes y el casco, y entonces aproximadamente 30€ para un forfait para todo el día. 

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Mi amiga, Diana, y yo fuimos a La Pinilla para pasar un día y ¡fue increíble! Las vistas de las montañas y el campo debajo de la estación son bonitos. Con el sol, fue un día perfecto para disfrutar esquiando en el valle de Riaza en Segovia, España. Diana ha esquiado desde que tenía cuatro años, así que su nivel es el de las pistas rojas. Para mí, que no había esquiado desde hacía dos años, solamente algunas veces en mi vida, otro color. Yo traté de esquiar en una pista roja con ella y fue un reto por decirlo de alguna manera. Las pistas azules son mejores para esquiadores de mi nivel.

 

Esquiar en España parece mucho mejor que en Wisconsin, porque hay montañas aquí en vez de ¡colinas!

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English:

If you want to go skiing in Madrid, you have three options. The ski resorts close to Madrid include Navacerrada, Valdesqui, and La Pinilla. They all have options for skiers of all levels; schools to learn to ski through runs that are difficult for experienced skiers. When you are ready to ski there are three different slopes: green, blue, and red. The green are easy, the blue are medium, and the red are the most difficult. If you do not have your own ski equipment you can rent it for the day. It costs about $25.00 for boots, skis and poles and approximately $40.00 for a lift ticket for the day.

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My friend, Diana, and I went to La Panilla for the day and it was incredible! The views of the mountains and the campo below were beautiful. With the sun, it was the perfect day to enjoy skiing in the valley of riaza in Segovia, Spain. Diana has skied since she was four years old, so her level is at the red slopes. I hadn’t skied for two years, and only a few times before that. I tried a red run with her and it was a challenge to say the least. The blue runs are better for skiers at my level.

 Skiing in Spain seems much better than in Wisconsin because there are mountains instead of hills!

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03/24/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ-SPRING 2014: 3rd. NEWSLETTER (MARCH 2014).

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 Hi from ALCALÁ DE HENARES. Welcome Spring!!!!!!! Welcome CIEE Alcalá difference!!!!

The two CIEE students who attend the course “Spanish for Health Care professionals” started their internship the month of February at “Hospital Universitario Príncipe de Asturias” in Alcalá de Henares.

  En el hospital

 We had our first three day trip with the CIEE group (February 21, 22 and 23rd) to Seville, where we visited the Royal Castles of Seville, the Cathedral with its tower, we walked through the María Luisa Park and the Spain Square. Ángel de Quinta (CIEE Seville professor) helped us two days. Once we got to Seville and checked into our hotel, the students were given two hours to free time to relax and eat their picnics that their host families had packed them for Friday lunch and dinner. There was a big park, Jardines de Murillo, across the street from the hotel so they all took their picnics and ate in the park. The weather was perfect.  So, we had a long walking tour, Triana included.

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Our CIEE SPRING 2014 students enjoy travelling. IBF field trips are free and a very good oppotunity to know different areas aroun Alcalá de Henares. On February 19th some of our students went to Museo Naval in Madrid with IBF, and on Friday February 28th 8 of our students went to Toledo with IBF as well. And on March 7th, our students went to El Escorial –Valle de los Caídos.

Museo naval 1

En Toledo

Valle de los caídos 1

On March 15th, 7 of our students went to Morocco for themselves.  It was easy. Everything is easy from Alcalá de Henares in terms of  public transportation, because Alcalá is in the middle of Spain. They enjoyed a lot the African experience.

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Marruecos 5

On March 18th the students had a field trip to MAHOU factory for their course “Globalization and the Spanish Economy” with IBF. At the end of the visit, they could tasted different kind of beers and eat “tapas”. The students’ behaviour was good and appropriate, as we could imagine before. And on March 21st some students are going to Cuenca with IBF and their course “History of Spanish Art”. They do not stop!!!!!!

MAHOU marzo 2014

Cuenca

Next March 28-29-30 we are going to have our second CIEE ALCALÁ FIELD TRIP to VALENCIA, the land of PAELLA and HORCHATA. So, stay tune!!!!! And, please, take a look at other posts here.

THANKS!!!!!!!!

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02/19/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ- SPRING 2014. SECOND 2014 NEWSLETTER.

 

 

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Hello from Alcalá de Henares!!!!! We have to tell you a lot of things since the last Newsletter. Tale a look below, please.

On Wednesday January 15th  from 18:00 until 20:00, we had a “welcome coffee” with Spanish students and our CIEE Spring 2014 students in a nice coffee shop in Alcalá called Hemisferio. They met each other and exchanged e-mails and telephone numbers. Now, some of them are friends.

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  On  Thursday  January 16th  we had a meeting with Dale Sindell (www.t-oigo.com), but unfortunately only two students attended. She was very nice with the students and gave them books and candies.

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  Spring 2014 students have a very close relationship, even when they did not meet each other before coming to Alcalá.  Actually, they -except only one- travelled to Granada and Córdoba together on January Friday 24th.

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  One of the students –Megan Bartkowski-, her Spanish sisters and their boyfriends went together to a TV show called el Hormiguero. She was very happy and excited. Each night, their family and Megan watch el Hormiguero during dinner. She feels like a real daughter of her family. 

El hormiguero

We are involved in a linguistic research. Bret Linford from Indiana University came to Spain on January Friday 24th in order to interview our students from CIEE Madrid and Alcalá. 

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Six of our students are English tutors of Spanish boys and girls. Most of them are sons and daughters of UAH staff and friends of mine. The parents pay 10€ per conversation hour and our CIEE students are very happy. If before they pressed for cash, now their lives are a little different.

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 On January 30th six students travelled to Brussels. They enjoyed a lot their trip. They felt very proud of themselves because they could find everything they expected without problems. They ate a lot of chocolate.

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On February 5th we had our first CIEE Spring 2014 meeting. We talked about “Culture Shock”.  The students brought “picnics” to eat together during the meeting. It was fun to compare their “tupperwares” for all of us.

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This group  is very open minded. They try new meals and food every week.

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On February 7th almost all the students went to Segovia - IBF one day field trip-. Some of them went because the field trip was mandatory for their course “Spanish Culture and Civilization”. But some other students went because they just wanted to know a nice city “free”. As usual, their families prepared nice picnics for lunch. 

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On February 8th some students went to visit Real Madrid stadium and they attended to a football match (Real Madrid vs. Villarreal). But they were a little disappointed because Cristiano Ronaldo did not play. So, they want to come back other day.

Chicas en el Bernabéu

On February 14th four students went to Paris four days, and they did not attend to classes on Monday 17. But they know they are only permitted two unexcused absences. The third absence will be penalized by lowering the grade by 10 POINTS PER ABSENCE. Meaning, if they have a 90.5 and they have 1 absence (after the 2 unexcused), the grade is lowered to an 80.5. If they have two unexcused absences, their grade will be a 70.5, and so on.

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And two students went to La Pinilla in the north of Comunidad de Madrid, because they wanted skiing. 

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The students who did not travel went to the universitary dorms, to one CIEE student apartment in order to cook a Valentine’s cake and have fun. And after that, the girls went to dance.

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IBF field trips continue. The students who attend the course “Global dimension of European Soccer” went to Vicente Calderón Stadium and museum.

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And next Friday February 21 we are going to Seville. It will be our first 3 days CIEE field trip. So, I will give you more information very soon!!!!!

 

Thanks!!!!!!

 

02/17/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014- VICTORIA HALER (UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON): ESQUIAR EN ESPAÑA /SKIING IN SPAIN.

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Si tienes ganas de esquiar cerca de Madrid, tienes tres opciones. Las estaciones de esquís en la zona de Madrid incluyen: Navacerrada, Valdesqui y La Pinilla. Todas tienen opciones para todos los niveles de esquiadores; escuelas de esquí para aprender por pistas bien difíciles para una esquiadora experimentada. Cuando estás listas para esquiar, hay tres pistas diferentes: verde, azul y roja. Las verdes son fáciles, las azules son medianas y las rojas son difíciles. Si no tienes tu propio equipaje para esquiar, puedes alquilar uno todo por un día. Más o menos cuesta 20€ para las botas, los esquís y los cascos, y entonces aproximadamente 30€ para un forfait para el día. 

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Mi amiga, Diana, y yo fuimos a La Pinilla para pasar un día y ¡fue increíble! Las vistas de las montañas y el campo debajo de la estación son bonitas. Con el sol, fue un día perfecto para disfrutar esquiando en el valle de Riaza en Segovia, España. Diana ha esquiado desde que tenía cuatro años, así que su nivel es en las pistas rojas. Para mí, no había esquiado desde hacía dos años y antes de esto, solamente algunas veces en mi vida. Yo traté una pista roja con ella y fue un reto por decir lo menos. Las pistas azules son mejores para esquiadores de mi nivel.

 Esquiar en España parece mucho mejor que en Wisconsin, porque hay montañas aquí en vez de ¡colinas!

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English:

If you want to go skiing in Madrid, you have three options. The ski resorts close to Madrid include Navacerrada, Valdesqui, and La Pinilla. They all have options for skiers of all levels; schools to learn to ski through runs that are difficult for experienced skiers. When you are ready to ski there are three different slopes: green, blue, and red. The green are easy, the blue are medium, and the red are the most difficult. If you do not have your own ski equipment you can rent it for the day. It costs about $25.00 for boots, skis and poles and approximately $40.00 for a lift ticket for the day.

  1795863_10203068140334492_1452074683_o

My friend, Diana, and I went to La Panilla for the day and it was incredible! The views of the mountains and the campo below were beautiful. With the sun, it was the perfect day to enjoy skiing in the valley of riaza in Segovia, Spain. Diana has skied since she was four years old, so her level is at the red slopes. I hadn’t skied for two years, and only a few times before that. I tried a red run with her and it was a challenge to say the least. The blue runs are better for skiers at my level.

 Skiing in Spain seems much better than in Wisconsin because there are mountains instead of hills!

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02/11/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014- ASHLEY HUBER (UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI-OHIO): PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN ALCALÁ.

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Airport Bus

            In Alcalá, there are plenty of options to get to and from every place you could want to go. This may be one of my favorite things about Europe in general: The public transportation is always great, no matter where you go. This is something I think the US lacks, except in major cities. I know that where I'm from, little old Harrison, Ohio, there is absolutely no options to get around unless you own a car.

 

Train

            My most frequent use of transportation is the Alcalá bus system, which easily takes me from my house to the University, in less than 15 minutes. It is always completely reliable and efficient. At first, the price sounded like a lot of money to spend on a bus, but then I thought about how much I spent in gas at home! The bus pass also allows me to use almost every other type of transportation, as well. For example, the train into Madrid, which is extremely useful. Also, the metro in Madrid. I'm going to be honest, I really hate subways, and I don't always understand them, but they can get me from one place to another, so I use it anyway. There are also buses from Alcalá to the airport, which I plan on using frequently.

Train Station!

            The only transportation not included in my pass are taxis, which, unfortunately, I have to use a lot, and are not cheap when by yourself. However, they are the most efficient way to get where you need to go, and they are necessary when the buses aren't running.

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En Alcalá, hay un montón de opciones para llegar y salir de cada lugar que puedas desear ir. Esta es posiblemente mi cosa favorita sobre Europa en general: el transporte público es siempre estupendo, no importa a dónde vayas. Esto es algo que le falta a los EE.UU., excepto en ciudades grandes, en mi opinión. Yo sé que de donde soy, Poco Viejo Harrison de Ohio, absolutamente no hay opciones de llegar a lugares a menos que tengas un coche.

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            Mi uso del transporte más frecuente es el sistema de autobuses en Alcalá, que fácilmente me lleva de mi casa a la universidad, en menos de 15 minutos. Es siempre seguro y eficiente. Al principio, el precio sonaba como una cantidad de dinero, pero entonces, pensaba sobre cuánto gasto en gasolina en los EE.UU. La tarjeta de autobús también me permite usar casi todos los otros tipos de transporte. Por ejemplo, el tren de Alcalá a Madrid, que es extremadamente útil. También, el metro en Madrid. Voy a ser honesta, odio el metro mucho, y no lo entiendo siempre, pero puede llevarme de un lugar a otro, así que lo uso de  todos modos. También hay buses de Alcalá al aeropuerto, que planeo usar frecuentemente.

Atocha renfe

            El único medio de transporte no incluido en mi tarjeta son los taxis, que, desafortunadamente, debo utilizar mucho, y no son baratos. Sin embargo, son la manera más eficiente  de llegar adonde se necesita ir, y son necesarios cuando los buses no están trabajando.

Metro 2

 

Trenes

02/04/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014: students' blogs

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http://meganslifeinspain.blogspot.com.es/

 

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http://asieslavidavictoriahaler.blogspot.com.es/2014

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02/03/2014

CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014- LINDSAY FERGUSON (UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN): MY FIRST FIELD TRIP.

Lindsay Ferguson

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First Trip Together

I am absolutely loving my time here in Alcalá so far. Nine other students in our CIEE group and I just got back from our first trip on our own to Granada and Córdoba for our long weekend. I think I just might be catching the travel bug…

It was my first time in Andalucía and I can already tell I’ll be back. Our first stop was Granada. We arrived at 6AM because we took an overnight bus. After making it to our hostel, we explored the streets of Granada for a while. The city is absolutely breathtaking. The architecture is just like in the movies and the cobblestone streets were beautiful. We could even see the Alhambra when we were walking around!

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Later that day, a few of us took a trip to the waterfalls in the mountains. Even though we underestimated the amount of hiking it entailed, the views were breathtaking and I’m so glad we took the time to explore the area.

All ten of us spent our last day in Granada visiting the Alhambra. We bought tickets in advance because we knew how busy it would be. It was more than worth the crowd though. There is so much history behind the palaces and the views of the Granada from the Alhambra were remarkable. I loved learning about some of Spain’s past while exploring the actual monuments and locations.

I was more than impressed with the diversity found within the city of Granada. I am so excited to see what the rest of Spain has to offer, especially the upcoming trips to Valencia and Sevilla with our entire CIEE group.

Primer Viaje Juntos

Me encanta cómo me lo estoy pasando en Alcalá de Henares. Nueve estudiantes del grupo CIEE y yo volvimos del primer viaje solos a Granada y Córdoba de un fin de semana largo. Pienso que es posible que tenga ganas de viajar…

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Fue mi primera vista a Andalucía y sé que voy a volver. La primera parada fue Granada. Llegamos a las seis de la mañana porque el bus era durante la noche. Después de ir al hostal, exploramos las calles de Granada. La ciudad es impresionante y la arquitectura es como en las películas con las calles con adoquines hermosos. ¡Pudimos ver la Alhambra cuando estábamos caminando!

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Más tarde, algunos del grupo hicimos un viaje a las cataratas en las montañas. Aunque, subestimamos el senderismo necesario, las vistas eran imponentes y estoy contenta de haber pasado tiempo para explorar el área.

Los diez pasamos nuestro día final en Granada en la Alhambra. Compramos billetes antes, porque sabíamos que estaría muy ocupado. Estaba más que valorado por eso va una multitud cada día. Hay mucha historia de los palacios, y las vistas de Granada en la Alhambra eran extraordinarias. Me encantaba aprender sobre la historia de España mientras estaba explorando los monumentos y los lugares actuales.

Estaba Impresionada con la diversidad en la ciudad de Granada. Estoy emocionada para ver más de España, especialmente los viajes a Valencia y Sevilla con todo el grupo CIEE. IMG_7364

CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014- ASHLEY HUBER (UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI-OHIO): MY FIRST 3 DAYS IN ALCALÁ.

 

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Oh mygod. I'm in Spain, y'all. Let me just say that I had some real doubts about doing this, and I was completely terrified (still somewhat true). But this is the adventure of a lifetime! I cannot believe that after all the strenuous preparation, I am finally studying abroad in Alcalá de Henares. So far it's been an amazing experience, and I can't wait to share this with you (whoever you is, that's actually reading this.) So, here's a recap of my first few days:

Day 1/2 (P.S. these are the pretty boring days, so you can totally skip it if you want. I'll only be a little offended).

I packed all of my bags and checked in at the airport (checked luggage weighed in at 49 pounds, which is talent if you ask me), and the super nice airport check-in lady let my parents come all the way to the gate with me, which I totally acted like it wasn't a big deal, because I'm a "big girl," but I was actually soooo excited not to have to sit in an airport by myself. I arrived in  Atlanta and made my way to the Delta lounge (oohs and aahs acceptable here) in the wrong terminal. But oh well. I acted like I knew that, because I'm cool enough to be there, and sat in a ridiculously comfortable chair and read my book, and then got a burger and hopped onto my flight to Madrid.

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If you have never flown business class, do it. But only if you can afford it. Which I can't. Thanks daddy! I had a seat that completely reclined into a bed. I had a TV with movies straight out of theaters (by the way, The Heat is not funny. I ended up watching Anchorman for the 1249023228943920th time). I had a pillow and blanket and socks. They served me mimosas and a four course meal. It was fantastic. But when we landed, my spoiled moment was over (though my brothers will argue that that moment never ends) and I exited into a BRAND NEW COUNTRY. To me, anyway. This is where the trouble began. I was exhausted and hungry, and I could not find my shuttle to my hotel anywhere. So I used way too many international minutes calling home (where it was 3am) trying to figure it all out. Eventually, I realized how stupid I really am, and found it. I got upgraded into an unnecessarily large room, where I slept. A lot. And my dad found a way for me to watch Netflix, which was fantastic. I took the shuttle to a shopping center, where I ate McDonalds, then sat around watching people. I know, not very "Spanish" of me. Whatever.

 

Day 3:

I woke up and ate a nutritious breakfast of Chips Ahoy and Powerade, then headed back to the airport to find my group. I met them very quickly, and we bonded instantly. Our resident director, Cristina, is wonderful, and cares so much about us. Also with me was Laura, Diana, Elizabeth, and Ryan. Unfortunately, we couldn't find Ian, who we later learned missed his flight or something, so we headed out without him. Later, we met up with Lindsay, Nancy, Victoria (who lost her luggage :(), and Megan. One person, Jessica, has yet to arrive...

We went to a hotel in Alcala and rested and ate, then rested and ate some more. I'm telling you, I could really get used to this Spanish lifestyle. We had some really good food, and they eat A LOT. My first meal was at a restaurant near the hotel, and included pasta with chorizo, a plate of chicken, beef, sausage, chickpeas, and cabbage, and chocolate ice cream. Delicious. Dinner was a beef steak with salad and french fries and kiwi for dessert. And bread. Lots of bread. The next day was orientation all day, with more food. We had breakfast (coco puffs, two oranges, and a donut, along with some sort of fruit juice) then after three hours of talking about life in Spain, we had some sandwiches, more donuts, and croissants. Three more hours of talking, then lunch. This was pasta with sauce that tasted eerily to similar to spaghetti-o's, fried fish and french fries, which I traded for green beans, and more ice cream. 

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After lunch, we rested, then visited a shopping center, called El Corte Ingles, which had 5 floors. I bought a hair dryer, which turned out to be unnecessary, because my host mom had one for me. Oops! Speaking of which, here's the really exciting part. I got to see my house! Unfortunately, my host family is currently vacationing in Cuba, so my "aunt" is staying with me until Sunday. But my room is amazing! I have a bed, a desk, a bookshelf, and a private bathroom! Also, I have the entire third floor to myself. It's not extremely large, but it's great to have the privacy. Dinner was tortilla espanola, with salad and bread. We watched a Spanish game show, and then I skyped my parents (sort of) and went to bed.

Day 4:

I got up and had Coco Krispies, and my aunt had left the TV on for me. An American show about catching alligators. 'Murica. I then learned the bus system, kind of, and went to the train station and met up with the group. From there, we headed into Spain, where we got a tour of all the major sites, then after a ton of walking, we ate lunch. This time, I had pasta (again) and a hamburger. For dessert was a pancake. Interesting choice. Towards this time, I started to get a huge migraine, so I decided to go back while everyone else stayed. Being the big girl I am, I took the train back all by myself. But don't worry, it was really safe and all the mugging happens on the metro. So it was all good (mom and dad). Then my aunt met me and took me back to the house. I took a nap, then we had chicken with coconut milk sauce and rice. And more bread! Now I'm probably heading to bed soon again, because Spain is exhausting! Hasta luego!

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