4 Apr

On Friday, the Spanish host students and Nichols’ group went to Oviedo, the capital of Asturias.

The beautiful sunny 80 degrees day consisted of many activities, including…

 A friendly hello with Mr. Woody Allen

 A visit to Parliament

 A walking tour around the old part of the city, including the cathedral.


PE anyone?

31 Mar

Today, the students assembled for a class of PE with some Spanish students late in the afternoon.  Thankfully, it was a beautiful day in sunny Spain, at a high of 75 degrees F.

The students were a bit hesitant during the warm-up, but then became very involved in the class.

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The PhysEd teacher was very helpful and enjoyed our company in his class.  The students went home to their host families not too long after.  Tomorrow, Oviedo!

¿Sabías que…?

29 Mar

Did you know…?

That Gijón is located in Asturias, one of the 17 regions or “comunidades autónomas” in Spain. The dialect is asturiano, which differs from Spanish, particularly in the accordance of nouns and adjectives, the “o” changing to a “u”, the “a” to an “e”, etc.

Spain has five languages, apart from its many dialects: castellano (mostly used, what our students speak), catalán, valenciano, gallego and vasco. The dialects come from the other regions, making the Spanish very hard to understand at times, especially in the south, where they mix the “l”s and “r”s.

When Franco died in 1975, the country was able to gain more liberties, including the maintenance of all 5 languages.  This was published in the Constitution of 1978.

The cow, la vaca, is a major symbol of Asturias.

Fabada is an Asturian specialty; a thick stew that consists of beans, ham, chorizo, etc.

The famous drink here is cider, which is poured in a certain way, and has to be drunk in one gulp.

Los lagos

28 Mar

Yesterday, the students (both American and Spanish) took a bus first thing in the morning to head to the gorgeous lagos en Covadonga.

After a long, scenic bus ride, the students were divided into two groups for a personal tour and hike of the land.

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Click here to see a video of several students’ description of the day.

After a long day, the students went home and spent the weekend with their host families.  We had very positive reports today!  More to come later…

Gijon – la ciudad de las vacas

24 Mar

Dear families,

We have arrived!  Although the trip was long, it was well worth it already.  The school could not treat us nicer and the students are happy with their host students and families.  Now that we have some wireless en casa, we can start blogging regularly.

On Tuesday, the students attended their first Spanish classes.  Before sending them off to class, we sat down as a group and spoke about the families and their experiences.  Everyone seems very happy and at home!  They attended class with their host students for a few hours, as Ms. Vallas and I got to meet the teachers and tour the school.  In the early afternoon, the directors welcomed us and we exchanged gifts from our respective schools.  They threw us a little reception in the cafeteria, “un pincheo”, a local term for “a snack”, where the host students and Nichols’ students socialized and got to know each other better.  Afterward, the students went home to eat and met up later on that evening to explore the city.

Yesterday was a very busy day; we had an excursion first to the Roman baths, where we had a guided tour about the history of the baths, which happened to be more of a place of hygeine, but a “tertulia”, or a meeting place for the Romans, constructed between the 1st and 4th centuries .

The Roman Baths

Afterwards, we went to the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) and was given a brief tour with explanations on how meetings are run.  We were brought to the room where many, many matrimonies are typically conducted.  Thankfully, they didn’t perform any during our tour  :).

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Ayuntamiento de Gijon

We then proceeded on a walking tour through the old part of the city for a couple of hours, learning about the history of the city and where everything is in relation to the sea.  We then returned to the school where after chatting with the students, they returned home with their host families.

The newest statue of Gijon, erected just a few days before our arrival

Today was a regular day, minus a lecture in the morning, where the group learned about the many languages in Spain (there are 5), the dialects and their history and differences between them all.  Afterwards, we checked in with the students after the talk, during recess and after school.  During these meetings, we make announcements for upcoming excursions and talk about the students’ experiences with the families, etc.  We share stories, teach them about the culture and go over any phrases or words they might need help expressing in Spanish. 

More to come soon!  Stay tuned…

Welcome to the Spanish Exchange Blog!

11 Mar

We are very excited to be blogging from Gijón, Spain. We will keep you up to date on all our excursions and experiences. Check back often!

Penultimate Day: Covadonga, Picos de Europa and Ribadesella

14 Apr

Quick summary before class begins: we scaled a mountain, we saw a miracle, we hiked in the mountain, we came down the mountain, we went to the sea.

The refurbished Roman Bridge in Cangas de Onis, site of the first post-middle age Spanish capital.

Off the bus at the basilica in Covadonga, site of Pelayo´s visitation by the Virgen Mary.

King Pelayo´s tomb...Since modern Spain began with the northern reconquest, he was the first Spanish King.

Team Nichols and Team Gijon 2010, in front of the cave (cova) where the lady (donga) appeared to Pelayo.

The road we took up to Picos de Europa...In the hands of Spain´s best bus driver.

The view we had...estimates have this picture worth 40,000 words.

A lake at the summit of our trip...very Lord of the Rings feel above the treeline.

Ribadesella, the final stop on our trek. Sort of a New England wealthy fishing village feel...

This will be the final post from the teachers.  Bags are packed, passports counted and flights confirmed.  We plan to see everyone tomorrow (Thursday) around 5…cheek-kiss, cheek-kiss from Spain.