We had a blast today riding along the Mediterranean coast. We biked for about an hour up the coast to another beach near the airport. There, we had some delicious refreshments and relaxed on the beach before returning to central Palma.
Go to all of them. You never will be able to rent a car and drive to Formentor another time. Go to EVERY one of your excursions with CIEE. First off you paid for them, second your parents want to see some good pictures, and third because you will see how amazing this island is. Go to everything. You will learn so much about Mallorca and Spain from Antonia and Susan or who ever goes on the trip with you. If you have an excursion to Madrid or a big city, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t go. Madrid is AWESOME.
I could name off a bunch of great restaurants or beaches but I think this is something you need to learn. Walk within the city all the time just browsing and really becoming a local.
What I will mention are great things you can’t miss while you are there.
RCD Mallorca – Go to a soccer game. I went with some kids in my class and had a great time.
Ferias de Abril – This is a huge celebration. You will see everyone there and it lasts for 1 week almost. Go at least 3 times and have fun.
San Juan Festival – more in late June but this is one of the craziest, most fun festivals I got to celebrate in Spain.
Es Trenc Beach – You can take a bus there and it is hands down, the best beach on the Island.
Magaluf – When it gets into season, go party crazy in Magaluf. You take the 10PM bus to there and the 6AM back. It’s a place for English tourists and gets rowdy but is a good time.
Arenal – You can do the same thing in Arenal and party with the German tourists. Both are a change of pace from the usual Paseo Maritimo with Mallorcans, mostly locals.
Get a Spanish cell phone. Don’t try to use your American phone. You need a Spanish phone to keep in contact with everyone you meet. MSN Messenger is basically the AIM of Europe. Everyone has it and it is a great way to keep in contact with people during the day. People don’t use their cell phones as much in Spain, so using MSN is crucial. It’s called hotmail windows messenger.
There is so much more I can say about my experience and my recommendations. But I think this is enough. I just wanted to give you these aspects so it can give you some sort of direction. To end this, all I can say is really open yourself up. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to be the most productive person while you are there. It’s definitely going to be tough the first month or two while you try to adapt. You’re going to miss you friends, your family, and the American college life. You kind of are in a real world setting as you live on your own in a different country. This experience is going to further prepare you for your life. Try to get through the tough times you have and realize the bigger picture of this opportunity. Once you get to that point, it’s all up hill and you will have the best time of your life. Take advantage of it all.
My name is Jimmy Watt from the University of Colorado at Boulder and I am a Spring 2008 graduate of the CIEE Palma de Mallorca program in Spain. I spent 5 amazing months studying in Palma doing the same exact program and experience that you are just being introduced into. As cliché as it sounds or however many times you’ve heard study abroad students mention it, it really was the best time of my life. I learned so much, accomplished so many goals, and I can really say that I see a huge positive change from the person I was ago. I also had more fun than I could have imagined. So great ready for quite the experience.
This is somewhat a mini personal student guide of ways to enhance your overall experience in Palma from my perspective. Also this is somewhat a way where I can live vicariously through you all. Jaja! (haha in Spanish Messenger (you’ll see)). What is mentioned below and in my next blog posts are personal recommendations and advice that I believe will be of great use to you in creating an experience that when you leave Palma, you are completely satisfied and regretless of how you spent your once in a life time experience, living the dream. I hope it helps and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my email. I wish you all the best of luck.
What you must do before all is set your goals of what you truly want out of this experience. For me, it was undoubtedly to have a lot of fun. But also personally, it was to really learn Spanish, integrate myself into the culture by becoming a local, and to find non-American friends. All easier said than done. I arrived in Mallorca with a pretty low level of Spanish. It was so much easier to hang out with all your American friends because not only do you all speak English but also because you are all on the same boat and can relate with each other’s experiences. Naturally you will bond with each other because of that which is great, but if you get too close with only hanging out with your own program, you will miss a HUGE aspect of this experience.
That leads me to tell you about ERASMUS. But before that, I want to re-mention it, figure out your GOALS. I mean, what you truly want to do and experience. Every week think about accomplishing them. Personally, I came back feeling like a native, improving my Spanish immensely, and having tons of Spanish and European friends.
So now ERASMUS.
What is this? Our program had 9 students. At the end I ended up truly being close friends with only one of the nine. That is because I integrated myself into the ERASMUS program. It is the European studying abroad program with a set of about 80 kids from all over EUROPE and the world whom are all studying abroad like yourself. We are talking about Argentina, Mexico, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Romania, Greece, you name it, and you can find it. Antonia the Resident Director will set you up in the beginning with a couple of events where you can meet ERAMUS. GO GO GO! No matter how big of a “Resaca” you have, how early it is, how much it costs, GO! You will meet so many kids around the world and really create a group of friends like you’ve never had before. This ERASMUS group usually has a facebook group so join it! When someone posts, meet at Bar Atlantico at 10PM Thursday, or Cala Mayor 3PM Saturday, GO GO GO! I cannot stress it enough how you must attend all ERASMUS unofficial events throughout the semester. This is a KEY aspect of your experience. Meet them, exchange phone numbers and become friends.
El pasado fin de semana nos fuimos de excursión a la Serra de Tramuntana (la alineación montañosa más grande de Mallorca y el espacio natural más extenso, candidata a patrimonio mundial por la UNESCO).
Last weekend, we -a group of seven students and two staff (Antonia, RD, and I, Susan, Resident Coordinator) -went on a hiking excursion to Sierrra de Tramuntana. This is the largest mountain range as well as natural area in Mallorca, currently a candidate to UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Partimos en bus desde Palma hacia el Puerto de Sóller, en la costa norte de la isla, desde allí, con un mapa y muchas ganas iniciamos la aventura, caminamos a través de la montaña durante dos horas, para llegar a un refugio donde pasar la noche.
We took a bus from Palma to Puerto de Sóller in the north coast of the Island. From there, with a map and really looking forward to the adventure, we started walking. We walked in the mountains for two hours to reach a refuge (Muleta) where we would spend the night.
El refugio de Muleta es muy confortable y está situado junto al faro del puerto, posee unas vistas inigualables hacía el mar abierto y también hacia el puerto. Al llegar pudimos ponernos cómodos, comer, hacer distintos juegos de mesa y conversar, pasamos una velada muy agradable, a las once de la noche nos fuimos todos a dormir.
This comfortable mountain refuge is located by a lighthouse named Cap Gross by Soller’s harbour. It has incomparable views to the open sea and the harbour. When we finally arrived to the refuge, we dressed comfortable, ate something, played cards and Taboo, chatted, and at 11pm we went to sleep in bunk beds.
Al día siguiente desayunamos pronto y emprendimos la marcha sobre las nueve de la mañana, nos esperaban tres horas de camino hacia Deià, caminando por la montaña, cruzando carreteras, pequeñas poblaciones costeras y muchísima naturaleza.
Disfrutamos de un día perfecto, con mucho sol, muchas sorpresas por el camino y un pequeño descanso para comer.
Deià es un pequeño pueblo, de los más bonitos de Mallorca, con un paisaje único, llegamos allí a medio día, donde disfrutamos de un último paseo por las pequeñas calles de piedra, del sol y el aire de la montaña. Los estudiantes, acostumbrados a ir a la playa y a la ciudad de Palma, se sorprendieron de que también hubiera una montaña tan hermosa en la isla.
Deià is a small village, one of the most beautiful towns in Mallorca, with a unique landscape. We arrived at 1pm and were able to wander around its narrow and steep streets built in stone. We enjoyed the sun and the air of the mountain. Students, more used to go to the beach and the city, were surprised that Mallorca had such beautiful mountains.
A las tres de la tarde, volvíamos en bus hacía Palma, fue una experiencia corta, pero intensa y muy gratificante para todos los que participamos, algunos estudiantes la definen con adjetivos como: hermosísima, divertida, única, bonita.
At 3pm we took a bus back to Palma. It was a short intense experience, very gratifying for all of us. Today I asked students around how would they define the activity, and they said, of course in Spanish: “hermosísima”, “divertida”, “única”, and “bonita”.
En la noche del lunes 29 de noviembre todo el mundo miró el partido de fútbol cuando Barcelona ganó sobre el Real Madrid. Fue una derrota grande donde Barcelona marcó 5 goles y el Madrid ninguno. Las personas que marcaron son Villa con 2 goles, Xavi, Pedro y durante los últimos segundos Jeffran marcó el quinto. Los jugadores de Barcelona dieron emoción a todo el mundo con el éxito de los pases y el juego circular y la triangulación. José Mourinho, el entrenador de Real Madrid, habló sobre la mayor derrota de su carrera cuando aseguró a la prensa: “Aquí un equipo ha jugado al límite y otro ha jugado muy mal,” y añadió: “Hay que tener caracter. Cuando pierdes no tienes derecho a llorar, tienes que trabajar.” Debido de la esperanza para ganar, había mucha tensión entre los jugadores. Cristiano Ronaldo hizo un empujón al entrenador de Barcelona y es de mala educación. También muchas tarjetas fueron mostradas y Ramos recibió una tarjeta roja. En general, las estadísticas de Barcelona fueron destacadas y este equipo mereció el triunfo.