Final presentations today in the Business Class with Bram Trouwborst. I just got up from writing this blog to watch one for "Torq": a people- powered generator system to help combat climate change (and of course to make money!). Every student clearly worked hard, and presented their ideas with confidence. As Bram explains "The students applied the theory they absorbed, shared their creative and innovative ideas and showed their planning skills and convincing power!"
Tonight half the group had a cooking class on the Ramblas that involved making themselves a complete meal under the instruction of an experienced chef. The rest of the group will do the same on Friday. The menu was pan con tomate, fresh gaspacho with basil croutons, a main course of chicken paella and a crema Catalan for dessert. Delicious!
It has been a privilege to travel with the great young people in this group, and we are going to miss the students leaving us tomorrow but we have plenty of good memories to keep, and more to make. We have been busy with classes, presentations, beach yoga, paddle boarding, the stunning Sagrada Familia, the Magic Fountains, Camp Nou of FC Barcelona, and much more. We capped it off with toasting each of our students at dinner who are leaving tomorrow. By honoring them, we build up to a strong finish ourselves in a week's time.
Hi! Guest blogger and student Leah Schneider here!
During the past 7 classes of the photography major with teacher Alex Irondile, I’ve learned tons about the theory and technicalities of photography as well as seeing the beauty of some amazing Barcelona towns. Before Abbey Road, I had experiences with photography from classes at my high school and a previous program to Israel last summer. My school gave me the opportunity this summer to do a photography program and present an exhibit of my work and, after seeing how much Abbey Road emphasizes on photography emerged in different environments, I knew this program was perfect for me. So far with Alex we’ve explored new color palettes, complex composition, and creating two stories out of one photo. I have a specific interest in street photography and candids, and Alex has given direct attention to this.
Most recently, we toured around the busier areas of El Born and used our new skills in street photography. Our small group of three, (Alex, fellow student Henry Young, and I) have created somewhat of a schedule of ourselves so we can intertwine, theory, shooting, and plenty of coffee breaks in 3 hours. Despite the easy access to street photography material, we have also learned about studio work, architecture photography, fashion shoots, and animal/nature photography. In any normal day, Henry and I would arrive by the Ping Pong table in the basement of Onix, and head out on an adventure to a new spot. We went to the tourist-filled Sagrada Familia, the intense Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona, and pigeon infested Parque de la Ciutadella. After taking at least an hour taking photos with a few breaks to talk about theory, we gather at any nearby cafe for some coffee and always, chocolate croissants. In this time, Alex helps us practice our Spanish with both employees and by talking about photography. After more shooting time, we returned back to the Onix soon before noon to download and edit our photos.
Our society is stuck to screens 24/7, so I believe a photographers job is to lift people's heads and draw attention to new stories, new perspectives, and new places. We still have a few more classes to go until my 2.5 week session is over, and I'm thrilled to learn more and taking plenty of photos. Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy some of the photos I’ve taken thus far.
Today we invited students to coffee and spanish conversation in Els 4 Gats, where Picasso used to chat with his artist friends. Students also explored The Art Museum of Catalonia as well as taking in some street theater. There was also some quality time around the rooftop pool. Tomorrow we'll try the Chocolate museum and hike up to the Caramel Bunkers to take in views of the whole city.
Hello all! Guest blogger Tom Carney here. To give you a little bit of my background I work full time for Abbey Road Programs as the Outreach Coordinator for the east coast. I work to recruit, inform, and overall help students both during the school year and here abroad. So far your students have been great! I've really enjoyed getting to know them, answering their questions, and showing them around Barcelona. The best thing about them is that they are really funny.
The last few days have been really exciting. We decided to give them a little taste of Spanish culture from many different angles. The first activity was to see some famous works by who other than Gaudi. Casa Batilló, La Pedera, and Casa Mila are can't miss undeniably Gaudi that stick out of the ordinary apartment buildings next store. I had a lot of fun describing his style to the students. You'll never find a straight line in his architecture as "there are no straight lines in nature" Gaudi was a famous naturalist and his work was deeply inspired by nature.
Today we organized some fun cultural activities during free time that if students wished, they could go. One group went to the Picasso Museum which was a hit! The students loved taking in the art and seeing some of his original sketches and paintings. Another group went to the Museu de la Musica. We saw many older and historical instruments dating back as early as the early 1100's. The museum showed how music helped influence and shape Catalan and Spanish culture. There was even a room where we got to try different instruments! Another group went to a local field and played a pick up game of soccer and against some other local teens. Surprisingly they held their own and only lost 2-1. They had a lot of fun and want to go back for another match soon (but after some more practice!)
It was great to show off some very important cultural aspects of Spain; Gaudi, Picasso, music, and of course fútbol. All were huge hits and it was great for me to see them learning without knowing that they were learning. Looking forward to some more awesome activities this next week. On deck we have some more relaxing activities: Chocolate museum, beach yoga, and a pool/spa day.
We kicked off our second week with a group dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant. Our waiter was from Naples, and grew up 20 meters from the world's oldest pizzeria!
This week we begin offering a more independent exploration of the city. We know that some students are eager to see as much as possible and would be delighted to dash from site to site all day. We have other students who see this clearly as a pre-college course, and a time for them to learn to be independent for going to university. Thankfully, these are not mutually exclusive. We have surveyed the students and now can offer experiences like paddle boarding, cooking classes and yoga on the beach to those that want to have that organized for them, while others prefer to spend time setting their own agenda and reporting back to us what they choose every day. Most importantly, we are still able to celebrate together. Dining with our 39 young students tonight felt remarkably calm and mature. There was a table of four older women seated a few feet away from us and they never once raised an eyebrow or looked over their shoulder at our group because of how well behaved they are. I think many adult tour groups would have a thing or two to learn from AR Barcelona 2019.