Friday, July 22, 2022

El fin

WHAT. A. SUMMER. The students, instructors, and host families of the IUHPFL 2022 program in Ciudad Real have wrapped up their time together in Spain, and what an amazing experience it was! From excursions to Toledo, Córdoba, and Granada, to learning a dance with a local group of people with disabilities, to creating incredible friendships with other students, to extending our families to those that took us in in Ciudad Real, we couldn’t have asked for a better summer together. And talk about growth! From the first moment the students landed in Spain, their Spanish was timid and inaudible, but that quickly changed once they settled into their lifestyles in Ciudad Real and spent more time with their families. Students were laughing together, learning about one another, and expressing a wide variety of emotions in the target language, and it was such a joy to watch. The instructors thoroughly enjoyed this group of students, as well. Students learned many ways to improve their Spanish while taking classes at Nuestra Señora del Prado Marianistas. For a final project in their literature and culture class, students worked together to design a creative work that reflected topics discussed in class. These projects ranged from original works of art to a page from the diary of Franco to a rap about Don Quijote! In the end, it was extremely difficult for students to say goodbye to their host families. There were many tears, but we know that this won’t be the last time they see each other. Thanks to everyone for an AMAZING summer!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Fiesta de Despedida / Madrid

Friday night was the farewell show that the students performed for the host families as a way to thank them for their incredible experiences in Ciudad Real. The show opened with a group dance number* in the pabellón, and afterward we transitioned to the salón de actos to perform sketches, songs, and videos from our excursions. The students had a wonderful time performing for the families, and everyone enjoyed the event.

The next morning was a tough one. Students had to be at Quijote Arena by 8:00 to load the bus for Madrid, and saying goodbye was not easy. There were lots of tears from both students and host families, and it's obvious that some amazing connections have been made and that these relationships will last for years to come! 

After dropping off our luggage in the university residence (each student has their own room WITH air condition!!), we made our way to the Royal Palace for a tour. We did lots of walking and some brief sight-seeing before returning to the 'dorms' for some pool time and pizza party. It was a fairly relaxing day to allow us to rest up for our last day in Spain—it'll be a long day today!

*Due to copyright issues, the dance video cannot be posted to YouTube. :(

Thursday, July 14, 2022

El ayuntamiento de Ciudad Real

Today, the students had the honor of visiting Ciudad Real's ayuntamiento to meet la alcadesa, Eva María Masías. Students were invited to sit in the seats of la tribuna to receive her greeting and words of appreciation (see video). Gail and David delivered some comments to the mayor to show their excitement for participating in a program in Ciudad Real (see video), and then Gail offered a gift to Eva María that included some IU memorabilia. As a gift to the students, each one received a pañuelo as a momento of Ciudad Real. It was exciting to have the members of the local government put the handkerchiefs on each student! We then went to the Plaza Mayor to take a group picture and to have a cool drink to help calm the overwhelming heat.

Click here to read a local article about the visit!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

De visita en Granada

Yesterday was a VERY long day for the students of Ciudad Real, as we made the three-hour bus ride to Granada to take a tour of the Alhambra and an evening tour of some historic neighborhoods of the city. Diego did a fantastic job of explaining the history and importance of the Alhambra, and the students had an amazing time taking pictures from the towers of this old fortress and getting an incredible view of Granada below. After the tour, we headed down to the city area for some free time to grab some food and shop. As we were heading to the cathedral, we noticed a Starbucks right next to the crosswalk, so of course we had to grab some iced beverages. Some students decided to go into the cathedral while others went shopping. We met up later to begin our evening tour/hike of the streets of Granada, and though we were all very tired, we made the best of it and enjoyed learning about the history of Granada.

Plans don't always go as smoothly as we'd like, and we were all very surprised when one of the tires on the bus 'expired' during our return to Ciudad Real. Thankfully we were very close to the pitstop where we stopped in the morning, so we waited there a little bit until our replacement bus arrived. The students were AMAZING during this time. They had an impromptu dance party in the parking lot, and not once did we hear any complaints from the group. We rolled into Ciudad Real around 3:10am, and students went home with their host families immediately after. All in all, it was a great day full of fun memories!

El fin

WHAT. A. SUMMER. The students, instructors, and host families of the IUHPFL 2022 program in Ciudad Real have wrapped up their time together ...