Photo credits for Mercat pictures: Leah Schnieder and Henry Young
Another sunny day in Barcelona. In class students have been interviewing locals, showing them maps of Spain and asking them to talk about other areas of the country. They have also been working on some advanced readings on Gaudi to prepare them for the sites they will be seeing.
The afternoon we visited the Mercat de La Boqueria and students had another opportunity to try new foods and see another corner of Barcelona.
In the evening we had the first birthday celebration. More to come! Tomorrow is our last class day of class for the week and then on to our first weekend outings to Girona and Parc Guell.
YES! Our first proper day. Room checks are done and I can take a few minutes away from this lovely group to inform you, the parents and family.
I'm posting pictures of smiling faces at our evening room check and another of the fresh fruit, yogurt, croissants, avocados, cereal to stock their fridges for breakfast in the morning.
This morning we began with a placement test and the teachers were very impressed with the Spanish level of this group across the board. The range of ability starts at good - and then only increases. Classes begin tomorrow.
Jet lag was real. We had more than a few students waking up at 3.30am. Some couldn't get back to sleep but I also heard one boy comment "I woke up at 3am, and thought: "awesome, I got five more hours of sleep!" (It's so nice when your body actually listens to you!)
So we all needed a proper recovery day. We went to the lovely Born area to have lunch in pre-assigned groups, so people could make new friends and then went to the Barceloneta beach, walked back to the Residencia for showers, some group name games and then out to dinner in the neighborhood in small groups of 5-8 students. They checked in regularly and were all back on time in the evening in time to collect their fresh food and breakfast supplies.
As we walked along the tree-lined avenues, we discussed differences from the USA such as how a beautiful centuries old building may hold a government office. It's like Health and Welfare working out of a Cathedral. We talked about how sales tax is high, but it's concealed in the price and not added on. This group wants to learn!
I very much look forward to another lovely day tomorrow.
Our group are troopers. It's been a very long day of travel for almost all our staff and students. As much as I would like to inspire everyone immediately with a "Look at what we did in Barcelona!" write up, our big activities were taking delayed overnight flights, waiting two hours to clear customs, and getting ourselves settled while coordinating eight different arrival times. Sometimes getting there is simply not half the fun.
However, I'd love to share with you how inspiring this group of young people is to be with. I turned around as we were waiting to board, and they had not only taking the initiative to make a broad circle for playing cards, but there was a littler girl in the circle who felt welcome enough to join in! This group is so welcoming and friendly. When we were walking to our gate they stopped to ask each other's names. That's a big deal for this age. What's an even bigger deal is when everyone is on their phones waiting at the gate, and one girl makes a point to change seats and start talking to a student who had a connecting flight and didn't know anyone.
They joke, they have a good sense of humor that even this long and tough day couldn't knock out of us. We're here and we're getting ready to enjoy these weeks to the fullest.
Greetings from Vermont!
In this first blog I'd like to introduce myself. I have over twenty years experience leading summer programs in Europe and the United States. I created a language program in Northern Spain that is thriving twenty years later and I have a decade's experience as the director of one of Vermont's oldest summer camps at Farm and Wilderness. I come from a family of educators and have a BA from Colorado College and a MS in Planning and Regional Development from UT Austin.
I have three kids myself ages 16,19 and 21 years of age which helps me put myself in your shoes. As parents I might be nervous about my child's safety and also excited about how much they would learn and experience. I know my teenager would be excited to go to Barcelona for the summer and would expect to make friends and have fun. We can have it all. When Abbey Road's basic rules (regarding alcohol drug use and overall safety) are maintained and respected, there is very little we cannot dream up and achieve together.
I know each of us has unique strengths and gifts and I look forward to seeing them firsthand. It is the responsibility of myself and the Abbey Road team to play to those strengths so everyone can be their best selves. When everyone feels an authentic sense of belonging to a caring, fun and successful team then success naturally follows.
Everyone's voice matters. Everyone belongs.
Let's make this the best summer ever!