They may be thousands of miles from home but our cohort still found a way to celebrate US Independence Day in style. After a morning working on their Spanish speaking skills at the language school at Calle Sagasta, it was time to catch some waves with an afternoon surfing at Playa de la Cortadura.
After a lesson how to keep their balance on the board it was soon time to try it for real, and before long they got the hang of it!
As day turned into evening the American students - accompanied by staff from Spain, Mexico and the UK - were treated to burgers on the beach in honour of US Independence Day. No sooner was the meal finished than the group got together and treated the beach to the back catalogue of Bruce Springsteen and Miley Cyrus while the sun set over Cádiz.
The next day it was time to put on their dancing shoes for a lesson in salsa with a local instructor. The faces in the photo speak for themselves!
And so with a night of much-needed sleep our students arrived bright and early to the Plaza de Mina in central Cádiz for introductions and an orientation session from the staff.
With the ice well and truly broken, the students headed down to their first morning of class at our beautiful centre on Calle Sagasta, one of the most important streets in Cádiz. After a Spanish test put together by our teachers Ana and Brenda, which stretched our students' knowledge of the language to the limit, it was soon time to head out into Cádiz for their elective classes.
Budding photographers enjoyed a session wandering through the city's narrow streets and taking snapshots of the city's many beautiful buildings. Those who wanted to brush up on their language skills enjoyed a fresh-air conversation class, which caught the attention of some local children keen to find out what was going on! And those handy with a pencil took to Plaza de Mina for a drawing session organised by our student coordinator and Cádiz local, Víctor.
Víctor was kind enough to provide the students with a wonderful tour of the main sites of Cádiz, guiding students through the winding city streets and taking stops at many of the beautiful plazas and churches, the Cathedral, and the extremely popular La Caleta beach. The students were fascinated to hear about the history of one of Europe's oldest cities from a born and bred gaditano.
After getting to know the ins and outs of Cádiz, it was finally time to try some tapas at a local bar. The students had the chance to sample all kinds of local specialities, including patatas bravas, battered cod and the seafood for which Cádiz's cuisine is so famous. And of course, it was a chance to test out their language skills with every student making sure to place their orders in Spanish! Once the students had had their share of Spanish fare, it was soon time to walk them back to their host families and get some rest before another big day to come...
And so after long journeys from London and New York the first cohort have finally reached Cádiz! We set the ball rolling with some introductions on the Plaza de España, where the thirteen-strong cohort came face-to-face with their Spanish host families for the very first time.
After a quick hola the students were taken back to their accommodation where they had the chance to relax after so much travelling, as well as sample some good home cooking and get used to the Spanish meal times.
Students are settling in well, all safe and hardly any problems so far. Many of the group are especially pleased to have ended up in accommodation with pets! The staff visited the students and the host families early evening just to make sure that everything was ok before leaving everyone to get to know each other that little bit better. A relaxed, straightforward first day before orientation and our first language classes kick off in the morning...
Paul Hyland recently graduated with a PhD in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a first class degree in Spanish and German, as well as an MPhil in European Literature from the same institution.