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81 posts categorized "Madrid Language"

Reflections on the First Few Days

This first week has been full of adventure, surprises, new friendships, and lots and lots of "castellano!"  The group is adapting to city life and embracing the Spanish lifestyle wholeheartedly.  However, rather than offer you my own observations, let's hear what some of our distinguished participants have to say about week one!


"What was your favorite activity during the first few days of the program?"

Louis C:  "La plaza de toros!"

Sarah S:  "Trying the new types of foods!"

Jacob C:  "Meeting everybody!"

Yomy M:  "Going into the community to do activities with locals."




What is a Spanish cultural custom that has surprised or impressed you?

Katie L:  "I was surprised at how late the Spanish eat their dinners!  The sun is still up at 9:30PM!"

Eli S:  "The food is incredible!  Me encanta!"

Sarah S:  "The word 'vale.'"




"How are your classes here?  Are they different from your classes in the U.S.?

Louis C:  "They are smaller and more engaging."

Miranda G:  "I like my classes here in the aula center! I feel like I'm learning a lot compared to my classes in the United States. In terms of class structure it's kind of similar but I like my classes here more."

Saul G:  "The classroom environment is very energized and social.  It's a very friendly environment."

Jacob C:  "Yes, I like it more because I learn more, and it is more challenging.   The students are also more interested!"


"How has your host family been?  How has your experience been different from your U.S. family?"

Katie L: "I'm an only child in the U.S., and here my host family is bigger!  It's fun to have sisters!"

Christine S:  "My family is super nice!"

Yomy M:  "I like my host family a lot, and I feel like they're similar to my U.S. family because I can talk to them and ask about anything."


"What do you have to do before you leave?"

Eli S:  "I want to go to dinner with a friend at an authentic, beautiful restaurant!"

Harpeth L:  "I'm looking forward to visiting art museums and the Royal Palace of Madrid."

Elba L:  "Explore the city more!"

Olaf K:  "I want to go on the cable car in Parque Oeste, and I want to get better at Spanish!"

Stay tuned for more fun updates and stories from what is sure to be an amazing summer!  
Hasta pronto, 


¡Bienvenidos a Madrid!

It's been a busy first few days!  We've been meeting our host families, getting familiar with the city (and the metro!), and brushing up on some basics with our instructors.

On a walking tour, we stopped in front of el monumento de Cervantes (con Don Quixote y Sancho Panza) en la Plaza de España.


We quickly learned how open and upfront most Spaniards are.  This comes in many forms, but one of which includes their acceptance of everyone, even those who approach them on the street asking how old they are!

IMG_0093After our first set of classes, we went to Las Ventas, a famous bullfighting stadium, where we learned about the history of bullfighting, saw a demonstration of how to use la capa, and visited the museum.



Today, we went on a bike tour of Madrid, despite the 36+ degree weather (almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit).  We found some interesting ways to cool off, including a small zipline (we were desperate for a breeze) and a splash pad, where some local kids taught us that no one leaves the splash pad dry.


Proximamente: we have a Karaoke night with our host families on Friday and a trip to Segovia this weekend.

¡Hasta luego!

Vistas de Madrid - By Brandon Alonso

The most thoughtful and personal gift from session 1 was this notebook of drawings that Brandon made for his host family and presented to them on the last day. Brandon was also awarded ¨Most Likely to Have Artwork Displayed in the Prado¨ by his program leaders at our goodbye dinner.  Session 2 students - keep an eye out for these sites in real life!









Last Week in Madrid

We checked off some bucket list items like Tio Pio Park at sunset.


Spent some time enjoying our new friends before we head back to cities all over the states. 


We went to an amusement park where the program leaders also had a great time.


We had an intercambio where we met Spanish students who are learning English and were able to learn from each other!





We´re looking forward to our farewell dinner tonight. We decided to make it a special occasion and dress up! We´ve been signing souvenirs for each other and making sure we have exchanged US info so we can plan to study abroad together again in college!

Meet your Session 2 Program Leader: Christian

¡Hola a todos!

My name is Christian Jacobs and I will be one of the Program Leaders for the session 2 of the Madrid Language and Culture program. When I'm not working as a program leader with CIEE, I work as a Social Studies and English as a New Language teacher at the Pan American International High School at Monroe in the Bronx, NY. My students are an amazing group of recent immigrants from Latin America who, during my tenure at PAIHS Monroe, have taught me so much about the different cultures and varieties of Spanish spoken throughout Latin America. 

In the past I have lived, studied and taught in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Madrid, Spain. Needless to say, I am incredibly excited to return to Madrid with our Session 2 participants and explore this vibrant European capital all over again. Madrid offers so much in the way of culture, cuisine and history including the Reina Sofia (my favorite museum in the city), el Mercado de San Miguel (a market selling amazing tapas next to the Plaza Mayor) and the Palacio Real (the beautiful royal palace, now open daily as a museum). In addition to all of this madrileños are truly soccer FANATICS. Below is a picture of some friends and me at a Real Madrid soccer game. 

 Real Madrid

It will undoubtedly be an amazing month in Madrid and I'm so excited to get to know all of the participants as we explore España together. 

Un saludo cordial,


¡Viaje a Valencia!

¡Hola desde Valencia!

This weekend, our students traveled to Valencia - a coastal city along the Mediterranean Sea. We had a chance to learn about Las Fallas, Valencia´s largest festival. Students were able to see up close the ninots (small figurines saved from the winning floats) at the Museo Faller de Valencia.


We got to dip our toes in the Mediterranean and play pickup games of volleyball and soccer with local Valencianos. 

Valencia kids

Gio spiking

Ankit spiking

To finish off our first day, we had dinner on the water and tried traditional Spanish pizza. ¡Era un día perfecto!

Pizza table

On our second day, we took a walking tour through the old town of Valencia. We had a chance to explore the Mercat and see the different plazas. Some of us even tried gazpacho ice cream!


Next, we had the chance to eat authentic paella overlooking rice fields in Albufera, a small gulf outside of Valencia. Students even had the unique opportunity to take a boat trip through the rice fields!


Paella table 2

Paella table 3

Paella table

Paella table



On our last day, we explored the Ciutat de les arts i les ciències (notice the difference? This is idioma valenciano, only found here in Valencia!). Students interacted with different exhibits relating to science and technology -- who knew science could be so fun!

Group pic

Group pic

Group pic

So then it was time to say goodbye to the Mediterranean and the beautiful city of Valencia, returning to Madrid for our final week of Spanish culture and language learning. ¡Hasta pronto!

Meet Your Session 2 Program Leader: Julia Korn

¡Hola, todos!

Me llamo Julia y soy una de los lideres en Madrid este verano :)  I am very very excited to return to Madrid, donde vive mi alma, and share its passion, culture, and LANGUAGE with all of you!  My first trip to Spain was in 2010, when I was an au pair, living with families and teaching their children English.  I was lucky enough to be there when España won the world cup (¡campeones del mundo!), which got me hooked on Madrid.  I've been back twice since -- once with my own students and now with all of you!

During the school year, I teach high school Spanish in Winthrop, a small town just outside of Boston, MA.  This fall will be my sixth year at the high school level.  Prior to teaching, I worked as a tutor and research coordinator at University of Michigan, where I also earned my Bachelor's in Behavior and Cognition.  When not working, I enjoy baking, hiking, and cuddling con TODOS los perros.  

I hope you're as excited as I am for this summer and I can't wait to meet you all!  


(One of my students and me in front of the Palace of Versailles)

¡Hasta pronto!



Meet Your Session 2 Program Leader: Zach Dzierzgowski


¡Hola, hola, hola!  My name is Zach Dzierzgowski, and I am absolutely thrilled to be serving as a Program Leader in Madrid this summer!  I am a full-time Spanish Teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, New Jersey.  I graduated from the College of New Jersey where my studies focused on communicative language pedagogy and a rich understanding of Spanish language and culture.  Moreover, I lived in Alcalá de Henares, Spain (about 40 minutes outside Madrid by metro) in 2015 and was able to explore Madrid frequently during that time.


I am most excited to meet the incredible young folk that I will be working with this summer and to share my love and passion of "Castellano" with them.  I am confident we will have an awesome trip and make memories that will last a lifetime!  There is nothing quite like living abroad, and I cannot wait to see the impact it has on the students as they continue to grow and develop as young adults.


More about me?  I love theatre (especially of the musical variety), literature, movies, spending time with family and friends, music, and traveling and exploring new places.  I am so excited to meet everyone and have an amazing summer!

Hasta pronto,

Zach Dzierzgowski

















Una visita al estadio Santiago Bernabéu

It is the start of week 3! Where has the time gone? We are having a blast on all of our adventures and the fun continued on Monday with a visit to the Real Madrid Football Club´s stadium Santiago Bernabéu. 

We got a chance to see where the games are played, the locker rooms, the field, and even sit in the ACTUAL seats where players like Ronaldo, Ramos, and Casilla sit! 

For many of our soccer fans, today was a dream come true. Now if only one of the players could have stopped by.... 

Cancha 1


Cancha todos




Grupo 1


Put us in coach




Dressing room




Press conference

Into the Community: Pop Art

After learning about Spanish artists in class, what better way to practice vocabulary than to go visit a real, live artist in his studio! Students had an opportunity to ask questions, learn about his art, his career, and draw meaning from the work that they saw.