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6 posts from March 2012

03/30/2012

How the semester is going

Andrea and David are our “Guardian Angels”; Spanish students who collaborate with CIEE and do activities with CIEE students, many times becoming best friends. Among other activities, they went out to eat tapas, and shopping with the students.

Orientation hotel

This semester, we are offering for the first time the Seminar on Living and Learning in Palma de Mallorca, and almost all students signed up for the seminar. Since the group is small, the seminar will be a very important experience to discover ourselves and become more intercultural competent. All students are very excited to learn more about their own culture and Spanish culture, and afterwards start building bridges among both cultures.

Plaza mayor

All our students sign a Language Commitment in which they compromise to speak in Spanish all the time even among themselves. I have to say that this year the spring group is very serious about using Spanish, and we want to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their compromise. Some students have already one language (and cultural) partner to practice more Spanish outside the classroom.

Group dinner
Two students are doing an internship this semester. Kristen works with Grupo Flash, an agency which organizes parties and fashion shows. And Joanna is taking the challenge to teach English in the elementary school of San Vicente de Paul.

Paisaje mallorca


Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program

03/27/2012

Fairs, Festivals and Markets 5, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Foto toni blog

 

The Festival of the Standard is worth special attention, as it is considered as one of the oldest civilian festivals in Europe. The event, on record since 1313 and which takes place every year in Palma on 31st December, commemorates the victorious entry into the then Muslim city of Palma on the part of the Conqueror King Jaime I of Aragon in 1229. It was from this date onwards that the Balearic Islands adopted the Catalan language and culture as its own.59475
The history of the San Sebastian festivals dates back several centuries. The story goes that in the year 1523, plague was running like wildfire through the population living on the Island of Mallorca. That same year, a relic of San Sebastian was brought to the Island. Shortly after the relic was officially donated to the Cathedral in Palma, the plague stopped its deadly spread, a sign which was interpreted as being one of divine intervention. In 1643, San Sebastian was officially declared the patron saint of Palma. The celebration, which is held every year on 20th January, consists of a solemn mass held in the Cathedral, although in recent years, the festival has taken on a different character aimed at the young with musical celebration in the streets.

Fiestas-de-Sant-Sebastià-2012As a spontaneous contribution to the festivities, a free outdoor barbecue for the crowds sponsored by local authorities was set up in Plaza Mayor in Palma, a feature which was soon to be copied at other points in the city. Before long the number of days over which the festival was held became extended and incorporated a number of activities in which local people from all walks of life were able to take part. One of the most popular and well- attended events of the San Sebastian festival is a concert held on the evening prior to the saint’s day itself. The occasion has evolved into not just one, but a series of concerts of different musical styles which can be attended free of charge in the main squares of the city.

Sant-sebastia-gigantes

Separately, the 20th January is a traditional «Cycling day» when enthusiasts set out from Plaza Cort in central Palma and head for the municipal Sports stadium where they are greeted by local town hall dignitaries and honoured with «City of Palma» awards.0_57911_1

Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program


 

03/22/2012

Fairs, Festivals and Markets 4, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Foto toni blogLet's talk now about festivals, something students really enjoy while in Palma de Mallorca. The origin of the majority of festivals in the Balearics – a separate concept to fairs and markets -  is rooted in the religious homage paid to both male and female saints, reflecting the importance of Christianity – and its associated traditions - to the Islands. The two most significant dates in the Christian calendar, Christmas and Easter underpin key events in the Balearics.

In Palma, there is an impressive number of festivals, some of a general nature which are celebrated across the city and others which are more localised and held in specific neighbourhoods. Starting with those which have been celebrated since ancient times, there is the «Festival of the Standard»; the «Sunday of the Angel»; the «Eve of San Juan»; the «Blessing of San Antonio Abad»; the festival of Saint Sebastian who is the patron saint of Palma – and of course the Carnival processions in early February of which there are two versions – one held for children dressed up in a myriad of disguises, and one for adults who follow suit. Also worth mentioning are the pilgrimage of Sant Bernat; the festival of Majorca’s only saint – Santa Catalina Tomás  (known familiarly as the Beata); and the festival of the Virgen de la Salud (the Virgin of Health), amongst others.

IMG_2917

Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program

03/16/2012

Reunion con mi familia, by Rhonda Crittle

RhondaRhonda Crittle, George Washington University

Once we finally began our day, a little behind scheduled, we walked, walked, and did a little shopping. Some people bought a minute phone for domestic calls. I did not purchase one because I'm waiting to find the best deal. Eventually, I will want to dial domestically. Pero no sé ahora.

We walked some more, had lunch, and then returned to the hotel. It was here we had about 3 hours of an orientation presentation by Antonia and Susan. It was very informative and interesting, but I had to fight to stay awake. I won, sort of. After speaking about safety in Palma, practical matters, independent travel, and our planned activities for the semester, we were given info about our homes and families. Listening to all the do(s) and don't(s), I was starting to get so nervous. They showed us a map of the area and where our homes were located in relation to each other. It seemed so far and impossible to find each other. The suspense was killing me. Where was I living? Are these people patient? Strict? I really didn't consider these things all summer.

Finally, after all the worrying, I was introduced to my Señora, Marisa. Susan introduced us in the lobby, then my mind went blank. I didn't know what to say to her at first due to my choppy Spanish. She eased my nervousness and asked me questions about my trip and home. I was finally able to ask her what she did for a living. To my surprise and delight, she is a professional chef and teaches cooking out of her kitchen! She didn't need to say anything else. For me, it was love at first sight! As recommended, I brought a gift for my family. However, I waited until the last minute to buy it. I was so mad at myself for not getting something from the GW bookstore. I didn't know what I was going to buy in Detroit. I was desperate and just happened to find a Williams-Sonoma Kitchen store. So, I bought some basic utensils and a special American sauce. It was totally worth it of course. She was ecstatic and used the pot holder that night for dinner. She's really sweet like that. We were paired together by the Susan because she is an amazing cook, especially vegetarian cuisine.

From the hotel we took a taxi to her apartment. She stays on a higher floor, so we had to carry my luggage up the stairs one at a time. My bags weigh a ton, but we made it just fine and drank some water when we were done. It was kind-of embarrassing but funny, typical me. Her apartment is beautiful with three balconies, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. I love it, and I love my room too. Its the perfect size, and yes, all my crap does fit in the room. She has wireless, so I am all set. ¡Estoy contenta, Sí!

Pictures of my room:

Mi casa 1

Mi casa 2
This is the view from my bedroom window. Having no screen on the window is so liberating!

 

Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program

03/12/2012

Fairs, Festivals and Markets 3, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Foto toni blog

A new element in the Balearic calendar which has been developed in towns and villages in more recent times, has been the creation of fairs based on a single event or specific theme. These occasions have rapidly become institutionalised and all them are very well attended.

One such example is the eye-catching annual Fira del Fang (pottery fair) which takes place in Marratxí, a suburb of Palma. This fair, which has been taking place since 1985 during the month of March, gives the opportunity to all craftsmen in the district, as well as from other parts of the Islands, to exhibit their finely-crafted clay-based and ceramic work and to set up a variety of workshops in which members of the public are invited to take part. The fair, which goes on for a whole week and which consistently sees visitors thronging the streets, finishes its last day with what is known as a  «trencadissa» – a ritual smashing of piles of broken or defective pieces of pottery which the marketeers have set aside whilst the fair has been running.

DSCF5035
Over the last few years, there have been a number of other fairs on Mallorca which have been gathering in importance and popularity, namely: the Snail Fair at Sant Jordi, east of Palma; the Olive Oil fair in Caimari; the Partridge Fair in Montuïri; the Melon fair in Vilafranca; the Grape Harvest festival in Binissalem; the Sweet and Patisserie Fair in Esporles; the Wild Mushroom fair in Mancor de la Vall and the Herb festival in Selva are just some.

The key festivals on Minorca are related to Island farming and agriculture. Amongst these, decidedly worthy of mention are the Thoroughbred Horse Fair; the Minorcan Partridge Fair and the Country Fair held in Alaior, where the traditional Fresian cow competition is held.

For some years now, a Trade Fair has been organized on an annual basis giving prominence to the different products and services of the Islands of Ibiza and Formentera. An event which is also growing in popularity and importance is the Mediaeval Fair held on Ibiza. 

Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program

03/05/2012

Fairs, Festivals and Markets 2, by Toni Vives (Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Foto toni blogName: Antoni Vives Reus

Professor at CIEE Palma de Mallorca

Fairs, festivals, and markets have played a part in the life of Balearic society for centuries. Deeply rooted in the history of the Islands, they are an important reflection of the culture of the Western Mediterranean.

Fairs, as distinct from markets, cover a wider geographical area and historically have had greater socio-economic relevance, not only because a larger number of products were on sale but also because they were occasions on which prices were agreed, businesses were set up or brought to a close, rents and charges were levied, new services were contracted or old ones terminated. Over the last few years, fairs have been accompanied by sporting, musical or cultural events which have brought a festive atmosphere to what was originally a commercial enterprise.

The oldest fair in the Islands – handed down over the centuries - is held in Sineu. Thanks to a royal charter granted by King Sancho, an annual fair has been held here every first Sunday in May since 1318.  This fair is probably the occasion which attracts the largest concentration of craftsmen, farmers, and marketeers from right across Mallorca.

  Feria vino binissalem
In the year 2000, celebrations were held to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the founding of the north east Mallorcan town of Capdepera. The occasion revived the tradition of holding a mediaeval street fair which has been enthusiastically maintained since that date.  With its mediaeval castle walls crowning a summit that offers panoramic views both of the coast and inland terrain, the town has successfully recreated the atmosphere of a bygone era. Local crafts and farming provide the backdrop to many of the activities, workshops and exhibitions at the fair which are held to the lively accompaniment of musical side shows, jugglers, and  impressive local horse racing.

IMG_2533

Visit CIEE Palma de Mallorca facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/155911482876

And our official websites:

SEMESTER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/liberal-arts

 https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/business-tourism

SUMMER PROGRAMS:

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-language-culture

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/palma-de-mallorca/summer-internship-program