Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear Parents,

It's hard to believe the whirlwind of activity we´ve all enjoyed in but a few days.  Monday afternoon, students stepped off of the bus from Madrid into the excited embraces of their Ciudad Real host families. We were all surprised by the weather, which was pleasantly cool, clear and sunny. Never fear: for those students who eagerly awaited summer heat, the temperatures have since been climbing to highs in the low nineties, and lows in the sixties. 

During Monday afternoon and evening, students spent time with their host families.  Many students started right away with a homemade Spanish meal, and a tour of their new homes.  Several families took their American "sons" or "daughters" on a walking tour of their own section of the city.  Many students chose to conquer their jet lag and elected to stay awake the entire day, while others took advantage of the Spanish siesta, or the afternoon hours in which families retire to their homes during the hottest hours of the day to eat and rest (around 2-5 p.m.), before returning to their jobs in the evening (between 5-9 p.m.).  The following day,there were many happy reports from students who had slept soundly through the night, and many happy faces gathered in front of the Colegio Salesiano Hermano Gárate, the facility in which classes are held.

Tuesday morning, host families helped students arrive to the school, where students spent the morning taking the first section of a standardized test, whose counter part at the summer´s end will measure individual student progress.

After the exam, students had their first real cafeteria lunch, below is a picture from Wednesday, where the menu consisted of bread, potato salad with tuna, watermelon, Spanish empanadas, salad with vinaigre, oil, and olives, and even a taste of the internationally infallible chicken nugget.

Tuesday afternoon, students and instructors reconvened in the Salon de Actos, or a large auditorium with a stage which will later be the location of the summer farewell performance, in which students will show off their diverse talents as a thank you to their host families.  For now, it served as a place to review the Honor Code and to have our first meetings with support groups.  Students gave short presentations of different aspects of the Honor´s Code and later in their respective groups, talked about their personal experience abroad, so far.  Don´t forget: your son or daughter has been speaking Spanish -and only Spanish - non-stop! Everyone is doing a wonderful job.

Wednesday morning, students attended their first classes: Communication, Culture, Literature, and Grammar. In the afternoon, the group divided into teams and explored the city on a photo scavenger hunt.  Here everyone is enjoying the sun after lunch in the cafeteria:

The rest of the week promises to be full of activity as we get ready for our Friday day trip to Toledo.  Look for an update on Monday!

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