Program Reflections (Group 2)

Monday, July 2nd – First day in Madrid by Yousif 

During our trip in the first week, in Madrid, we visited a beautiful park with many breath-taking structures. This fountain was one example of many, with its beautiful and symmetrical designs, and deep red flowers that compliment the size and rich beauty of the fountain. The park, known as Buen Retiro Park was the first of many destinations that the 2018 Spain group visited. We’re not done yet, here we come Toledo!


Tuesday, July 3rd in Madrid by Rachel 

In Madrid, The Experimenters went to Real Jardín Botánico. The garden was founded over 250 years ago. Their mission is to “promote knowledge, conservation and enjoyment of plants and their natural environment.”

Can you guess what it is? It’s an insect hotel! I found this interesting because each insect has its own distinct size “hotel room”. The gender of the insect also determines the size of its room and the way it is laid out.


Friday, July 6th – Granada by Leah 

This was our first full day with our host families and I was still getting to know mine. I woke up and ate breakfast with my host sister and her friend while we struggled to communicate with each other using a combination of broken Spanish, broken English and SpanishDict. My host father took me to our group meeting point, Plaza Nueva, and everyone was excitedly discussing our first nights with our families.

When everyone arrived at Plaza Nueva, our lovable tour guide, Arturo, took us on a walking tour and history lesson of Granada as we made our way to the Albaicín. He explained the rich cultural diversity of Granada throughout the years and even got into a heated debate about it with a local who overheard him and disagreed.

When I returned to my host family’s home we had lunch together and had a lovely conversation about our different cultures. After lunch, we all took a siesta to recharge. When I woke up, my host mom invited me to go on her nightly walk with her. We walked through her neighborhood and talked about our lives and our cities and many other things. She took me to El Rio Geníl and we walked alongside it for a while until we came to a bridge that she wanted to show me. We took a selfie and then made our way back to the road. Before we went back home, she took me to see some horses at a local stable.

This day was one of my favorites because I got to learn about the fascinating history of Granada, and Spain of which I had no previous knowledge. Additionally, it was so lovely to spend 2 hours with my host mom who spoke no English. Despite the fact that we had trouble communicating we really connected on that walk and she made me feel so comfortable in a strange new place so far from home.

Monday, July 9th – Granada by Asha 

The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra palace was gorgeous! The Christian and Muslim influences really
shaped the palace’s design. The view overlooking the city was unbelievable. It was a very hot day and a bit of a struggle to walk up the steep hill to get to the palace, but it was completely worth it. I found this palace so interesting because of the history between the groups of people who conquered Spain. The Romans followed by the Arabs followed by the Christians. It’s very intriguing that these different types of people built on top of each other’s religious buildings to prove superiority.

MORE Granada on July 9th by Katya 

We went to the royal garden in Alhambra. There was a lot of activity around the fountain. Some of the experimenters saw frogs on Lilly pads which was exciting. It was pretty crazy walking around the huge garden, thinking about how it used to belong to just one person. Alhambra is a well known palace in Granada, Spain and the garden belonged to the King.

Of course we stopped for a quick photo or two!

A candid photo of some of our experimenters enjoying the garden.

At the palace learning about the great history of Granada.

July 10th – Flamenco in Granada by Xiara

On Tuesday, the group met up at the Plaza Nueva for our daily group activity. This day, we took a Flamenco dance class. For those that didn’t have homestay pets, we got to play with Antonio’s extremely sweet dog who was really big. After all meeting up we went to the dance class. The energy was amazing, everyone was dancing and enjoying the cultural dance. Even if we didn’t all get the steps, we still had a great time. After dancing, we each left and met up later that evening to watch a Flamenco show! They gave each of us a free soda and we watched three performers dance to the music. It was so fun to watch because they were executing the dance that we learned prior in the day.

Click Here to View our Dance Class


Wednesday, July 11th – El día nosotros fuimos a la playa by Tiffany 

On Wednesday, July 11th I was so excited to go to the beach because I would be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. That morning, my homestay sister and I met up with a group from the homestay and went out to get lunch. When we arrived to the beach the first thing I noticed is that the ground is not sand but rocks. The first time I got into the water it was really cold and the wave pushed back onto the shore despite me being on the shore already.

July 14th – Sierra Nevada Mountains by Trip 

3800 meters up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is Granada, Spain. On top of these mountains sits me and my host brother Diego, as well as his family who brought us up there, ready to do some summer skiing.  There is still snow on the mountains even though it’s the middle of July. This is due to the large amounts of snow and rain received during the winter (roughly 4x the usual amount) and the below freezing temperatures at night. To no surprise these snow drifts are one part of what supplies the Genil River that runs straight through Granada other then the frigid underground streams.

Sunday, July 15th – The Beach by Anna 

My host family and I went to the beach! The brother and sister live out of the house so during the homestay I lived with just the mother and 15 year old daughter, Irene. Her brother had a daughter who was around 1 year old and was absolutely so cute. The beach trip was basically all about her which made it so much more fun.

One of the photos is of me and Irene and the other two are of Irene and her niece.


Friday, July 21st – The Group by Bela 

A few months ago, we all made a crazy decision to leave our home and travel across the ocean. On July 2, 2018 we began this crazy, yet amazing journey. This picture is just 4 of 15 people who have created a beautiful relationship. Today is July 21, 2018 and we are a little over half way done with our journey. It is amazing to look back and see that we all started off as strangers and now we are a family.

In this picture we went to a overlook of Guadix and as the sun was setting we were laughing, singing, dancing, sharing stories, learning more about each other, and opening up to each other.