Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Spring is in the air and it has finally stopped raining in Granada after it rained the entire month of March into April! Now it is hot and sunny, everything is green, and Granada is in full force.  Today, the first year students are in Málaga and I'm reflecting on my time with them so far this semester.  This group has been wonderfully attentive, enthusiastic, and good natured as they continue to improve their English with me as their aide.

The past few months I have been teaching them about the 50 states of the USA, starting with the Midwest (my home region) and heading West to California on Route 66!  I think they enjoy listening to me ramble on about random facts, seeing clips about different cities and attractions, and watching me struggle to use the technology.  The first years have a wide range of English levels, but everyone attempts to share their thoughts, and take an interest in what I have to say.  I feel very lucky to be teaching them and watching them progress.

I have also started working with Cesar and we have been listening to some audio recordings about all sorts of attractions and sites in Granada, from the Science Park to the Albaicin.  The recordings are challenging but rewarding and an excellent exercise.  Lately we have been reading about promoting tourism in Antonio's class, seeing examples from all over the globe and learning a lot of slang and colloquial terminology.

Since tourism is on my mind, I started wondering if tourism to the United States, specifically cities that have experienced recent tragedies, have seen an impact on their tourist numbers.  On Monday, a horror struck Boston, Massachusetts on the East Coast of the USA and two bombs exploded at the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon.  Three people were killed and over 150 injured with many having to get limbs amputated.  The hearts of American citizens are aching and it seems like we just can't get a break from these awful and unexpected tragedies.

Events like these can't help but make people hesitant to travel, and I know the Boston Marathon will never quite be the same.  Despite the beautiful weather here in Granada, I can't help but be saddened by the fact that terrible things can happen in the best of places.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Strike Day

Today, November 14th 2012 was the second general strike during Rajoy's presidency.  All over Spain protesters filled the streets, and here in Granada they went from Gran Via and down Recogidas expressing their discontentment, especially in regards to education.  Hence why today many students chose not to attend at Hurtado de Mendoza, and I suppose some teachers didn't attend either.  In the U.S.A, strikes of this magnitude don't happen and I was quite shocked as I found myself in the middle of the protests as I was walking in the center in the center around 6 pm.  While all of this craziness goes on outside the walls of Hurtado de Mendoza, inside the first year students have been working on presenting their projects on different Andalusian provinces. (In English of course).  First, they talked about infrastructure, tourist companies, and tourist destinations and then focused solely on the Gastronomy. I pretended to be a very picky tourist in need of some very specific food items, such as vegetarian restaurants, a family restaurant, etc. The students were very sharp and had an answer for everything!  With the second years we have been reading many articles that deal with marketing and debating the ideas we come up with.  This past week's articles dealt with Marriott and it's courtyard concept.  Both the presentations and articles have been great ways to perfect the student's English, as Antonio and I corrected their pronunciation and grammatical mistakes afterwards.  I'm looking forward to more debates and to see the other presentations.  Until next time,


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween! Boo!

This year's Halloween party was a spooky good time at Hurtado de Mendoza.  The students went above and beyond with their costumes from witches, monsters and zombies to a lady who killed her husband and does an amazing dance to Beyonce's "Single Ladies."  In the United States Halloween has shifted towards a more Carnaval like atmosphere with people dressing up funny and creatively instead of frightening.  It was refreshing to see scary costumes and I loved the enthusiasm.
When I walked into the multi-purpose room the atmosphere was alive with spooky sounds, lots of Halloween decorations and a massive buffet of food with the monsters all crowded around and gobbling it down.  Earlier they had had a presentation of the history of Halloween and then we proceeded to watch the Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I talked a little bit about what Halloween means to me and we concluded the party with a parade throughout the school to show-off our costumes and give the others a good scare!  Overall Halloween at Hurtado de Mendoza was a big success thanks to the guidance of Antonio and Pilar and the great participation by the students.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Friday, everyone!  This past week with the first years we discussed how technology will affect the tourism and travel industry and how to work with people with disabilities in the workplace.  We also came up with ideas for our Halloween party next Wednesday, including dressing up, watching a scary movie, telling scary legends/stories, carving a pumpkin, and bringing food and drinks. (Non-alcoholic, of course :) )  I encourage everyone to wear a costume; It doesn't have to be anything outrageous! Be creative and use what you can find around your house. Stay dry and have a great weekend.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hello and welcome!

Hello to all and welcome to another year at H & M!  I mean...Hurtado de Mendoza ;) As most of you know, my name is Emily and I am the Bilingual English Assistant for this academic year.  I'm very happy to be here and I want to thank you all for being so welcoming and friendly.  I'm looking forward to working with each and every one of you, although unfortunately I am only here on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  This is because I am working at Francisco Ayala on Mondays and Tuesdays.

A little bit about me: I'm 23 years old and from West Des Moines, Iowa (about 6 hours west of Chicago).  I studied Spanish for four years in Iowa City at the University of Iowa and in May 2011 I graduated with a degree in Spanish and a desire to live in Spain.  Thus, I applied for the Language Assistant program in Andalucia and last year I got placed to work in Uleila del Campo, Almería.  Uleila is a small town of 1,000 people, north of Tabernas in the desert mountains.  I lived in Almería capital, in El Zapillo and commuted every day.  It was a good experience but I am happy to be back in Granada!  I studied abroad in Granada three years ago in the fall of 2009 and studied Spanish at the Center for Modern Languages.  I loved every minute of it and took full advantage of my short three month stay.

I am here to help you along your journey of learning English and to share as much knowledge with you as possible, so ask ask ask! Until the next post,


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good News!

Dear friends, David has been placed in Orgiva for next year. It is fantastic for the students at his new school, and it is also good news for us, since we will have him nearby. We hope not to loose touch with David,  yet his new duties in Orgiva will keep him busy. We are all looking forward to having David with us on  this year's Thanksgiving Day and on Saint Patrick's Day too.
That's all from us for now and untill a new post on this blog, goodbye.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Adios  Amigo!

Walt Disney was quoted as saying: "It's not the days in life we remember, rather the moments."  These words become strong when it comes to say goodbye to someone who has given his very best to our bilingual program in the last two years.
We have had David Whiteside as our school language assistant since October 2010. Anyone who follows this blog is aware that I do not usually write much on it, but this time I deeply believe that it is my responsibility and my duty to pay tribute to someone who has contributed so extensively and so positively to our program. Over this period, moments with David in the program have been intensively fruitful for all the students. Ana, Marta, Francisco, Ramón, Jesús, Mónica, Alba, Tomás, Lucía, Laura, Vanesa, Hilaria, are some of the eighty students who have fortunately benefited from David´s superb job. David has had a high commitment to our students and to the bilingual teachers from the very beginning. Furthermore, he has always done his job with smile on his face and a proactive attitude towards the students. Even in the hardest moments, he has never frowned or thrown in his towel. He has always encouraged everyone with his Californian style.

We are just little cogs in a big machine, and the bilingual program will go on without David. September will provide us with new students and a new bilingual assistant, but David´s heritage will remain vivid in our school.
I cannot remember the first day we met. I cannot recall if it was at school, or if it was somewhere else in Granada. Oblivion starts to be  much of an annoying issue for me. However, David's footprint in our school and in our hearts will last for long. Adios amigo!.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

El Cerro de La Encina

On Wednesday last week, the bilingual group made an excursion to the nearby village of Monachil to visit the archeological zone El Cerro de La Encina. Moncachil is a very lovely village located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once we arrived, we ate breakfast in a nearby cafe and met our tour guide for the day, Sergio. We were then led on a 2-hour hike through the hills of the village. Sergio explained to the students many different aspects of the natural environment. They learned many things about the plant life of the area and the prehistoric ruins that are scattered throughout the area. We also went to some spectacular look-out points with wonderful views of Monachil and the surrounding Granada area. The weather was beautiful and we ended the hike with our packed lunches in one of the aforementioned look-outs.

Tasting almonds...They weren't too sour were they, Paulina?

One of the many hills climbed

Enjoying lunch
Next up for the students: A two-day trip to Cádiz to visit the ancient Roman town of Baelo Claudia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good Luck Second Years!!!!

Its an exciting time for us here in the bilingual program. Two weeks ago the second-year students began their internships in various tourist organizations throughout Granada. They have been placed in places such as La Alhambra, El Parque de Las Ciencias, La Memoria de Andalucía, the Sierra Nevada mountains, among others. The internships will last around 10 weeks and all of the students were very excited to get started.

On a personal note, I would like to wish the entire group the best of luck and thank them for all the hard work and dedication they have put into the activities over the last year and a half. It has been a lot of fun getting to know each one on a personal level and I look forward to seeing some of them in action the next time I'm touring Granada :)