Posted in: Home / Archives for April 2008

Different Cultures – Common Goals!

Hi guys, I counted the number of different nationalities on my course today and I was amazed!

This week there are people from America, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Iceland, Scotland and Russia and they are all learning Italian!

What a great way to learn a language, we go out, we socialize, we eat in nice restaurants and we all communicate with each other in our new language. Ok, now and again I use my English to help along my Italian, but being part of an international community makes you want to speak Italian. And then of course, there are lots of Italian people who are only too willing to listen to you while you try to get your message across.

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Living the good life in Sorrento!

The sun is shining and I’m sitting on my school’s glorious sun terrace….! There are tables and chairs outside so the students can sit in the sun or have lunch or a chat before or after the lessons. My school is soooo organized!!… It doesn’t just give you Italian Lessons, it really does everything to help make your stay in Sorrento an amazing experience!

The staff are always on hand to help you, but I must say that staying in Sorrento is usually a trouble free experience as there is hardly any crime and the people of the town are friendly and helpful. But my school has made such a difference to my stay, they have organized pizza parties for myself and other students, they take us on tours of Sorrento and the surroundings and explain the location and its history. We also have organized evenings out with the other students for a real fun way of getting to know other people from all over the world.

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I’ll really miss Valencia!

My stay in Valencia has been a fantastic experience at all levels. For me, Valencia has been the perfect city in which to combine studying, cultural enrichment and a GREAT quality of life!

The climate is agreeable all year, helping you feel good. Also (perhaps because of the climate) the Valencians are very pleasant, happy and dynamic.

I have really enjoyed taking advantage of the offerings of such a big city (the culture, spare time and going out) and the other aspects of Valencia like the beach (enormous, with kilometres of soft golden sand!) and the nature. It has truly been an incredible experience for me. The 5km of the old river have been transformed into a garden in which you can walk, study, skate or practice sports – everything is possible. What impressed me most of all is that all this can be enjoyed in a coastal location, with a wonderful beach and a short time after the ski season has finished!!!

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Chile, here I am!

I had the chance to spend a half year in a foreign country because of my studies. As I am studying Spanish back home in Germany, it was obvious that I should do a Spanish course in either Spain or South America.

So, I decided to go to Chile! Why? I can’t explain, but it was just such a feeling, a great chance I thought.

When I arrived in Chile everything was totally new and I was so excited to be in this country. I was truly impressed by its landscape, the Andes with its snow on the peaks and also in Santiago de Chile Mount San Cristóbal with its statue of Virgin Mary.

While we drove to my accommodation, an apartment belonging to the Spanish school in which the students can live, I recognized some people listening to “Cumbia” and dancing to the music on the street. And just in that moment I thought: “Yeah, this is right for me… and I really want to get to know this country!”

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My Academic Year in Rome

Ciao!

I don’t know how to start here… Maybe I should tell a little about myself first. My name is Camilla, I’m Norwegian and 19 years old. I’m totally fascinated about Italy, and I’ve always dreamed about learning Italian, a language I consider as the world’s most beautiful.

So, I decided to take the plunge and learn the language by signing up for an Academic Year Italian language course programme in Rome!

I remember the first day of school: I was nervous and curious at the same time……

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Barcelona – City of contrasts!

After living and studying Spanish in Barcelona for almost 3 months now, I am really starting to realize that this city has it ALL!

It doesn’t matter how, when or who you are in Barcelona, the city always has lots of things to offer!

People from all over the world meet up here, studying, working, travelling and most important of all; creating the international, cosmopolitan atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else! It is truly the city where two extremes get along perfectly, where you can go from the trendy, bohemian neighbourhood of Raval to the more posh and elegant Eixample in 5 minutes. Where you can have a 2 euro shawarma for lunch and a glass of Dom Perignon champagne in the evening. Where the old Catalan traditions are mixed with modernistic architecture into a glowing, colourful melting pot!

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Santiago – The REAL Cuba!

My first hours in Santiago de Cuba were simply unforgettable. I have never met such friendly people before! When I arrived at my host family’s home, they had a rose for me! Immediately I felt so welcome. They made me comfortable, and after dinner, as we  ‘at home’!

Santiago was the first capital of Cuba and these days it is called the “heroic city”. It was also the cradle of arts and music of Cuba and it is easy to understand why. When you walk along its streets you find plenty of places were singers and musicians perform everyday. The most popular clubs are Casa de la Música, Casa de la Trova and Patio los dos Abuelos. These clubs are unique; I do not think that places like these exist in any other place in the world… with really good live music bands, Salsa and a simply unique ‘Cuban atmosphere’.

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My Pleasant Retreat to Madrid

I  can confidently say that studying Spanish in Madrid was the best decision of my life! There was so much to experience in this miraculous city that I found it difficult to decide what my after-class activities would be every afternoon! Thankfully, though, everything (including the school) was easily accessible by the very efficient Metro system in Madrid.

One of the first few days that I was in Madrid I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather outside by exploring the park that is just minutes from the school… El Parque del Buen Retiro (Park of the Pleasant Retreat).

This park was magnificent – I spent so much time there! It had everything imaginable to enjoy a sunny afternoon…from beautiful gardens and peaceful little café’s to artistic, amusing street performers and a pond filled with people paddling rowboats. It was the perfect retreat for me because I would go jogging there in the cool of the early morning. In the afternoons I could chill out there and sip on a refreshing drink under the café terraces. One day I even had my fortune told in the park (which left me feeling quite optimistic afterward).

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An American in …MALAGA!

You have got to love Spanish public holidays (‘fiestas’)! Yesterday was Dia de Andalusia… and let me say that it was a great day, spent with lots of friends at the beach. But let me say something else and get it over with… I LOVE this place. Absolutely love it. Sorry mom and dad… I am never coming home!

We started the day off with a nice American breakfast. Dillon’s parents have been so kind to bring us some pancake mix… and Vermont’s Best Maple Syrup. It was nice to sleep in, and awake to the aromas of an already cooked and delicious breakfast. Now that I think about it… Malaga could really use a Pancake house. It might be one of the only things it is missing. If only I could finance that…!

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Sorrento and its Processions!

Hi all, you know when you experience something so different from what you are used to that it leaves a lasting impression on you and makes you think about life? Well, that is just what happened to us when we went to the Easter Processions that take place in Sorrento and along its coastline.

It was a fantastic, moving and thought provoking night. It starts in Sorrento on Thursday night when many people of the town form a procession which moves through the town along with a statue of the Madonna, all people are dressed in white, symbolizing life. I think you have to be there to feel the energy and the beauty of the procession because it sure is difficult to describe! There was another procession the following night and for me these two nights really made my Easter meaningful ….and not just about eating loads of chocolate and cake!

Mind you, eating loads of chocolate and cake isn’t a bad pastime and in Sorrento – You are spoilt for choice for delicacies like Baba’ ( a cake soaked in rum,), ice-cream, lemon cakes and crepes. Sorrento and its Dolce Vita is just right for me!

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