Greetings from Antonia Ferriol, RD of CIEE Palma de Mallorca.
It's a bright sunny Tuesday (75ºF) in Palma de Mallorca, with one of those blue Mediterranean skies reminding us that Summer season, no matter what the calendar says, is not finished yet...
And here we are planning our next activity: a hike into the mountains of Sierra de Tramuntana, (from the harbour of Sóller to the Bohemian village of Deià) a World Heritage Site for its natural beauty and historical villages. Of course, we will be sleeping in a cabin in the woods by an impressive lighthouse.
So, what have we been up to?
We navigated the city of Palma, learnt the ins and outs of the narrow streets of the city, its gastronomy, its people, its art (on the second day, Palma celebrated the night of the Art, so all museums were open and free, offered music, new exhibitions... Palma was a huge urban gallery hop!). We placed particular emphasis on showing students how to use public transportation and let them experience Mallorcan traditions, by means of trying typical food and spending time with their familia española.
As usual, the most anticipated event of this week was meeting the Spanish Familias, with whom students will share their lives for the rest of the semester. Everybody looked really excited, so here I would like to share some pictures of this important event:
We introduced students to two Spanish university students, DAVID and ALI, who will help them feel integrated into the young Palma society. On the second day, David and Ali went shopping with CIEE students, and helped them acquire their cellphone and other things they needed for classes. Students already talk about David and Ali as their true "guardian angels". With David and Ali, students went biking, and hiking in the mountains of Valldemossa to an old hermit.
Liberal Arts students arrived one week earlier in order to take Intensive Spanish, review grammar aspects, and start using as much Spanish as possible before regular university courses start. It is impressive that this year all students compromised very seriously with speaking Spanish at all times, even among themselves. To this day, I have only heart Spanish in the group. So... CONGRATULATIONS! But not only LA students are using Spanish. For some reason, this year Business and Tourism students have come to Palma with enough Spanish to compromise themselves as well to use only Spanish during CIEE actitivies. CONGRATULATIONS again!
Also, this year most of the students have already met their language exchange partner with whom they will meet at least once a week to speak in Spanish and in English, a great opportunity to get exposed first hand to the local culture, and to make a friend.
On the second week, students attended the Welcome reception, organized by the University for all international students. In this event, students were able to meet students from France, Germany, Italy, China, just to mention a few. On top of this, Spanish University students have created an Association to organize activities which bring together Spanish and International students. Among other things, they organize a soccer championship, a night out to eat tapas, an excursion by bus to the cliffs of Formentor and natural beach of Muro, with a stop in Lluc Monastery, and another excursion with an old wood train into the mountains of Soller. CIEE students were able to join many of these activities, and this helped them feel integrated into the university community by making their first friends.
Classes at the University
After academic advising, and making sure each student had the right class, students went to their first university class. This year, students have enrolled in the following CIEE and UIB classes: Spanish Politics and Society, Contemporary Spanish Cinema and Literature, Intercultural Communication, Spanish for Business and Tourism, Advanced Spanish Writing and Stylistics, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Marketing Management, Psychology of Development, History of Psychology, Contemporary Spanish Literature, European Union Law, Sustainable Tourism, Business Strategy, Progress of Spain in the International Order, Seminar on Living and Learning, and Introduction to Everyday Catalan.
Four students are doing internships this semester. Karah is teaching English as a Foreign Language to children in a public local school. So far she says she loves the experience and is trying to learn from her mentor professor Silvia the magic of making children be quiet and pay attention in class!
Two other students, Christa and Jenni, are doing their internship at Puro Hotel , one of them in the marketing department and the other in the Events department. Both are not only working at the offices, but helping with several events organized by the hotel, in the coming months.
And Henri is working with a small company named Telm Produccions, which organizes events for children in schools of Mallorca. He will help in these events, and also in the marketing and web design of the company.
This Saturday, the group visited La Granja, an old farm which has become a museum about the rural history and traditions of this Mediterranean island.
Afterwards, the group visited the town of Deià, and had lunch at the beach, by the coast of Sierra de Tramuntana, recently declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the great value of its unique historical, artistic, and ethnographic heritage. We had the opportunity to admire the landscape of the typical Mediterranean forest: pines, holm oaks, carob trees, fig trees... By the end of the day, we visited the ruins of a watch tower from 16th century, and also the tower of the souls, an example of piracy of the 17th century.
Class Field visits
Language classes have brought students to the well preserved Bellver castle, a round gothic castle with incredible views of the city of Palma.
And to Palma Cathedral, an impressive Gothic building by the sea.
And of course students took a class on how to cook Paella and crespells, a traditional Mallorcan dessert.
We went to Granada for three days and had a wonderful time, so in our next newsletter, we will share with you some great stories and more pictures.
Have a great semester!