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inmersion-linguistica

How does an exchange influences your child?

Living abroad means leaving the comfort zone, at the begging it may sound scary and exciting at the same time. The important thing is to try it because it really worth it.

It´s important to keep in mind the changes that your child will live in this incredible experience. It is true that each student will enjoy a different experience depending on the age in which they travel, their character and how independent they are. However, everyone will definitely change.

First he/she is likely to feel vulnerable and afraid, but it is completely normal, as he/she is experiencing a familiar detachment. But as time goes by, he/she will develop and grow both personally and academically.
Some changes that you will notice when he/she return are:

  1. Personality: now he/she will be more open, strong and self-confident. The exchange will help him/her to define the personality and to develop skills
  2. Influence: the level of influence will reduce, this means that it will improve the decision-making, based on the personal benefit (what suits or benefits him/her)
  3. Maturity: obviously the maturity will be evident, living away from the family, helps the person to fend for himself (to be independent). Also to appreciate the family, the house, friends and even the material (everything around him , to the minimum aspect)
  4. Self-knowledge: being “alone”, he/she will go through a stage of personal knowledge, he/she will know how to identify his/her emotions and he/she will learn to control them. In the same way he/she will know his/her limits.

The panorama will be completely open, therefore you will have a child who already has a different language, mature, sociable and with decision-making power, as well as increasing professional value and it is possible that he/she acquired skills that he/she had not acquired in his/her native country.

Due to so many changes, it is likely that there are some frictions or discussions when you are all back together under the same roof, but don´t worry, it is part of the process and you will soon overcome it.

We recommend you to read our post in which we talk about the possible situations when your child returns and how to handle them.

Share with us your experience, what changes do your child had after the exchange?

As always I leave you a video which some students share their experience and talk about some benefits when doing a student exchange

Source: YouTube                                                                                                                                        Year of publication: 2014

FOTO FAMILIA

International Day of Families!

Since 1994, every may 15th it´s celebrated the International Family Day. It was proclaimed 25 years ago by the United Nations  in order to raise awareness of the fundamental role played by families in the education of their children.

It is the main pillar that defines each person, since babies we adopt the values, customs, traditions and is formed by the hand of the family.

The concept of family has been transformed over the years according to trends and demographic changes. However, it is still the main unit of society. It is with whom we share moments full of laughter, love and sometimes anger, but we know that whatever happens there will be.

The family is the home to return to, they are our memories of childhood and adolescence and should be the foundation to create our own. Enjoy together, talk often and be attentive to each other.

It is true that we all by nature need a tribe, a place to which we belong, someone who loves us, a family to belong (anonymous).

In Via Families we believe that among all families we can make a better world if we help each other, because we all want the best for our children, since we all belong to the great family of the world.

All families seek the same, after all: we want our children to be open, empathetic and good people, who contribute their bit to society to make it better.

In Via Families we unite two important aspects in the growth of a person that are: family and education. That is why we offer an international platform of families interested in the international education of their children, proposing three options:

  1. Exchanges, whether simultaneous or not
  2. If you can not send your child, do not worry, you can receive another student at home and learn the culture and language of your guest’s origin.
  3. You can not receive another student at home, do not worry, send your child with a family like yours.   

Choose the family with who you want to share with the education of your children.

Living a linguistic / cultural experience of this magnitude brings many benefits, some of them are:

  1. Overcome fears, therefore enhances security, personal growth and self-esteem
  2. Promote autonomy and personal growth

Do you want to know more benefits? Click here

In Via Families you decide where, when and with whom, saving you up to 90% of the cost, all the details are freely agreed between interested families. Join the international community of families, by clicking HERE.

I leave the campaign that Ikea made for Christmas last year to reflect if the time we share with the family is of quality. Let’s take a moment to ask our loved ones how are they, what do they do, feel good? enjoy every moment and transform it into a unique, quality moment.

 

 

 

 

 

Day planner

How to take advantage of the time during a short exchange

Being on an exchange program usually involves going to another country for a period, during which the student will be assisting going classes and complying with homework assignments. However, from Monday to Friday and especially on weekends, students will have free time that can be seized to live this experience to the fullest. In this article, we will tell you how to get the most out of a short exchange program.

Remember that your number one priority while being on an exchange program is to study the study program you chose. Therefore, going to classes and doing your homework assignments will keep you busy for a good part of the week, and that’s good. We recommend that you do your best not to miss classes and go the extra mile when you do your homework because that way you will get a deep knowledge about your study program.

If your native language is other than the host country’s, learning that new language is also a top priority. We can’t exaggerate the importance of learning other languages for your personal and professional life, so after going to classes and fulfilling your assignments -in which you will surely already be using such new language- we recommend that you practice it as much as you can in your daily life.

With this we do not mean that you should enroll in an additional course to learn the new language since we understand that you will spend a good part of the day communicating with it during your classes, with your classmates and then at home with your host family, but you can include it in your daily life. How? Try to relate to people who don’t speak your language, that way you will be forced to communicate in the language that everyone has in common which is usually the one spoken in the host country. Also, you can listen to music and watch movies in that language, and, in general, follow these tips on learning a language while being on an exchange program.

Day planner

Now, to truly be able to do more activities in the shortest possible time, we recommend that you use a day planner, which may sound boring, but this tool can help you set goals regarding the time you will invest in your daily activities. It does not have to be a physical item, Google Calendar or a similar application will do the trick.

Now, as we pointed out, your priority is to learn the chosen study program, so you must block in your day planner the hours you go to classes. You should also schedule the hours in which you will do your homework; for example, if your classes take place during mornings, you could go to your house for lunch afterward, take a nap (if you use to do this). Then you could dedicate one or two hours to do homework and study what you saw in class or the topic that will be addressed during the next one, try to clarify any misunderstanding and write down any doubts you may have so that you can ask your teacher about them during the next session.

Doing this is like saving money: if you have the habit of keeping small amounts every day, in less than what you think you will accumulate a large amount of money. Also, if you spend daily time doing your homework and studying the content of your study program, you will not have to make a superhuman effort when you have to take tests. Also, if you previously study the subject that is addressed during classes, you will have a broader knowledge of it, and you will be able to ask teachers deeper questions than the ones that would be asked by others who are listening to this topic for the first time during the same class you are at.

Now on to the good part: the dolce non fare niente. Well, you can even make more of your leisure time if you use a day planner. To do this, we recommend that you find out what activities and events of interest to you will take place in your locality and that you write down this information in your day planner.

These activities can go from a playing a soccer game with your classmates, going to the mall or to a nearby tourist site during weekdays or travel a little further on weekends. Especially during those weekend trips, it is good to be informed about the different attractions of the tourist destination to organize your day planner so that you can visit as many tourist attractions as you can. On the other hand, events can range from participating in some tradition or festival (by the way there are lots of them in Spain), to go to a live concert.

British bus

Another recommendation to make the most of your time is that you get informed about public transport schedules (so you don’t have to waste time waiting for buses and trains) and also about the different rates that exist. It might surprise you that, sometimes, going by plane to a place costs the same or just a little more than getting there by train or bus. In any case, these are only general recommendations. You can make the adjustments you want to do things as you see fit. In the end, the important thing is that you are happy during your exchange program.

 

Templo de Debod

Best plans to do if you visit Madrid

Madrid is the Capital of Spain and its most populous city. It’s also the third biggest city of the European Union after Paris and London, in that order, and of course the official language there is the beautiful and extensive Spanish. Since Spain belongs to the Eurozone, the official currency is the Euro. Is it enough reason for you to visit Madrid? Well… There is more.

Spain’s capital city mixes the ancient and historical beauty of Europe with its attractive and modernism, both complementing themselves and creating a marvelous mixture of history, Mediterranean food, beautiful nature, breath-taking sunsets, art and great weather that makes it a very tourist-friendly city. So, in the lines below, you will learn about some of the uncountable places where you can go if you visit Madrid.

There’s something about Madrid: even though it is such a multicultural place since it is one of the favorite European cities to visit by tourists from all over the world, is its authenticity, it screams Spain everywhere you go and you will find very gentle people in every corner. So, are you already convinced to visit Madrid? What? Are you already on your way? Alright, but first read this options:

Madrid’s Center

When you visit Madrid, you will realize that it is a city that can satisfy every taste, even the pickiest ones. There are so many things to do! You will have several options to choose from when you visit Madrid. Now, Is there a better way to visit a city than walking around and getting into the culture of its  streets? That’s what you should do once you get there.

Actually, in the Center of the city you will find its most varied and iconic places, so the first recommendation when you visit Madrid is to visit and, if possible, find accommodation at that part of the city,  right on the “jaleo”, where the party takes place.

Parque El Retiro de Madrid

After leaving your bags in your host family’s house you may begin your journey at the public historical garden “Parque El Retiro”; this is a must when you visit Madrid. This park is peaceful and beautiful, and there you’ll find pieces of art, sculpture, landscapes, and architecture, in which regard the Crystal Palace deserves special mention, with a 22 meters dome that will give provide you with a magical welcome to Madrid. It is advisable to go there in the evening.

Museo Nacional del Prado

Having been founded two hundred years founded, this is one of the most famous museums of the world and a good option for art lovers, It has free access during evenings.

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá

A few steps from El Retiro, you will find La Puerta de Alcalá, an iconic monument of Madrid, this is the place that welcomes you to the right center of the city. You should take a selfie here when you visit Madrid.

Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is one of the most famous squares of Madrid, There you will find the point where the radial network of Spanish Roads converges (Km 0), as well as the Sculpture “El Oso y el Madroño”  (the Bear and the Madroño Tree), the heraldic symbol of Madrid. Moreover, this place has the famous clock whose bells have been an icon of Spain’s New Year’s celebration since 31 December 1962. This is why this is Madrid’s most concurred place.

Well, it’s been a lot of walking and taking pictures so far, it is time for a break and there is no better way to take one than with chocolate, so near to the Square is the Chocolatería San Ginés, open 24 hours, 365 days of the year, you will enjoy the best churros with chocolate you have ever tasted. Enjoy!

Mercado de San Miguel

Next to the Plaza Mayor, you will find the Mercado de San Miguel, which is a market where you´ll find gastronomic specialties.

La Gran vía

This is the place where you will come across the most famous stores of the world. It is also a very photogenic place to go when you visit Madrid.

Palacio Real de Madrid

It is a must that you can’t miss when you visit Madrid. This is the Royal Palace where Kings and Queens used to live during the  eighteenth and ninteenth centuries.

Palacio de Cibeles

Here you will enjoy one of the most beautiful sights of Madrid from the rooftop of the building.

Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod

We will end up this tour with a magical sunset at the Templo de Debod, an egalitarian monument that was moved to Madrid piece by piece. The light variations in this place will take your breath away.

Plaza España, Sevilla

Everything you need to know before making an exchange to Spain

If you go to Spain on an exchange program, it is important that you prepare yourself taking into consideration the particularities of this country as its system of government, climate, traditions, and economy, as we explain in this Spain Guide for exchange students. In addition to the above, you should know that Spain is a country with a broad history and cultural tradition, very warm people and beautiful cities where thousands of tourists arrive year after year. However, this country is also the preferred destination of many exchange students.

University of Jaén

Indeed, Spain’s exchange programs offer many benefits for your professional life and cultural development. Regarding this point, one of the main advantages of Spain over other countries in which exchange programs also take place is its renovated universities, which have an excellent educational level at good prices, as well as magnificent infrastructures. In addition, in these educational centers study programs are taught in Spanish, which is today one of the most spoken languages in the world.

On the other hand, Spain is among the most multicultural countries in the European Union because Latin Americans turn to Spain for cultural and linguistic proximity, but also Americans and Asians to learn the Spanish language. In addition, this country offers a safe environment with little endemic violence in which students can experience the joyful Spanish festivities, social gatherings, and its gastronomic culture.

Plaza España, Sevilla

And that’s not all, Spain also has dreamy tourist sites that you can visit in your free time, and doing this in the framework of an exchange program makes the experience much more special. The reason for this is that during such exchange programs students are truly integrated into the culture of the host country so they can have experiences reserved only for those who live in that place. So, with the help of their host family and in the company of other students and other people they meet during their stay in Spain, they will not only have the time to travel throughout the country, but will also attain information from people in the area which will make them live a totally different experience from that of a tourist.

In fact, although a tourist can perfectly meet people and have a good time since their stay is usually short, they could hardly develop personal relationships through which they could have the same experiences as an exchange student. As an example, it’s not the same to go to Barcelona and staying in a hostel than doing it in the house of a friend who is from Barcelona, knows the city perfectly and other people with whom one can not only visit the city but also go to private social gatherings.

Another great advantage of the exchange programs in general is that the student will live with a host family and may develop special links with the members of the said host family. These people will not only give them valuable information in the above sense but will be absolutely interested in the welfare of the student, just as if they were another member of the family, so they will be interested in their progress in the study program of the exchange program, as well as in their adaptation in the host country and Spanish fluency, reinforcing the learning of this language also at home.

As you can see, going to Spain on an exchange program offers you multiple advantages that you can’t miss.  All you have to do is make the decision to embark on this wonderful journey. Are you interested in going to Spain on an exchange program? Please contact us.

Setting sails

The experience of hosting an exchange student

Would you like to be part of a host family? Please contact us so we can help you.

There are people who enjoy being hospitable: they do their best to receive relatives, friends and even strangers in their homes, and they care for these people by giving them not only food and shelter but also good vibes. Usually, these people make the decision to be part of a host family for exchange students and taking into account that this activity is not profitable (although it can be agreed that the student pays a sum that would compensate such family for their living expenses), many wonder what the host family wins with all this. The answer is, among many advantages, they acquire the experience of hosting an exchange student.

Raising and setting sails

Setting sails

The adventure begins with the host family and the student have their first conversations. Once both parties have all the necessary information they reach an agreement and then the host family should start making their arrangements to receive the exchange student: give them a bed, a space to place their belongings and buy groceries taking into consideration that there will be one more member in the family.

Certainly, preparations must also be made with respect to the children, telling them that the exchange student will be their sibling during the time of the stay. It is also important to encourage children to do their best to make the exchange student feel comfortable and that there will be times when more attention will be given to such student to help them through their adaptation process to the host country, but that this does not mean that they, the children, are less loved.

Navigating waters of all kinds

Notwithstanding the above, it is possible that from time to time there will be discussions between the exchange student and the children because, as it happens in every family, they will all compete for the attention of their parents. Also, the exchange student will sometimes not have the best spirits or will carry out actions to which the host family is not accustomed so both parties will have to be patient.

The other side of the coin is that there will be areas in which the exchange student will add value to the host family. In effect, if the exchange student speaks a language different from that of the host family, they will learn new words and phrases – perhaps including some bad words that will make the host family laugh and it will be one of those things for which they will always remember the exchange student.

Likewise, the exchange student will be able to share with his host family other expressions of their culture such as songs, dances and even typical food of their country. By the way, the exchange student will also have obligations within the home as if they were another child of their host parents. However, it should also be considered that the main objective of the exchange student is to succeed in the study program in which they are participating and to learn the language of the host country, in case it is different from the one of their country of origin. For this reason, the host family must give them the necessary time to go to class, fulfill assignments, attend extracurricular activities and be able to recreate themselves.

It should also be noted that the host family will have a fundamental role in each of these aspects. It is not only about housing a person and giving them food, but also about supporting them as much as possible as if they were another member of such family. Therefore, the host family will do well in helping the exchange student in their activities, as well as giving them valuable information about the country, such as which are the fastest routes to reach certain places, places of interest, offers and security information. In short, the host family must do everything necessary for the wellbeing of the exchange student just as it would do for any of its members.

Arriving happily in port

Arriving happily in port

All of the above is summarized in the golden rule: “Treat others as we would like to be treated”. If both the host family and the exchange student do this, both parties will get the most out of this experience and create a lasting friendship. Perhaps that last one is the biggest gain of hosting an exchange student: the possibility of connecting, creating value and exerting a positive influence on another human being.

Suitcase

How to prepare before making an exchange

So you already made the decision to participate in an exchange program and you are very excited. First, let us congratulate you because you’ll live an experience from which you will get many benefits. Now, in this article, we will give you a series of recommendations so that you can make the transition between your country and the host country in the best way, and get the most out of your exchange program.

1. Make sure you have a valid passport and visa

Passport

Many countries require that the traveler’s passport be valid for 6 months after the date of return, so make sure that yours meets this requirement. Also, find out about the type of visa you need (if required), which will depend on your country of origin and the duration of your exchange program: usually, if the program lasts more than three months you will need a student visa. In any case, try to have these documents at least two months before the date of your trip to be able to handle any delay in that regard.

2. Acquire travel insurance

Your current medical insurance may not have international coverage. In such case, it is convenient that you acquire an international policy for students in order to be covered before any contingency that may arise on the flight (such as the loss of your luggage) or during your stay in the host country. It is better to be alert to the occurrence of this type of situation.

3. Find out about travel warnings and recommendations

It is important that before embarking to your exchange program’s host country you should find out if there are warnings and travel recommendations regarding that country with respect to health issues or problematic social conditions which may not be covered by travel insurance.

4. Pack properly

Suitcase

At the time of packing, you should not only define the type of clothing you must carry with you take taking into consideration the climate that will be in the country of destination during your stay, but you should also avoid storing valuables in your suitcases. It is preferable that you take this type of objects with you in your carry-on luggage, as long as this is allowed by the airline. Also, it is recommended that you be aware of your luggage at all times and that you do not receive objects from other people to avoid risks.

5. Get vaccinated and obtain medical prescriptions if you need them.

Some countries require that one or more vaccines have been placed in order to enter them; Find out in advance this information, preferably six weeks before your trip. Likewise, if you have any special health condition or use corrective lenses, it is important that you bring all this information so that you can give it to a doctor in the host country, if necessary. Also, if you plan to take medicines from your country of origin to use them during your exchange program, it is important that you bring the medical prescription that proves your medical condition, and that you ask the airline if there are any restrictions in the host country in this regard.

6. Contact the closest diplomatic corps

Once you are in the host country, it is important that you go to the closest consulate or embassy of your country to report your presence in the first. This is important because these diplomatic corps are in charge of handling the evacuation of the citizens of their country in case of an emergency.

7. Get in touch with your banks

Banks usually block unusual transactions. For this reason, contact the banks that issue your credit cards to inform them that you will make a trip as well as its duration so that you do not have any problems when making payments during your exchange program. It is important that you have at hand in a safe place the telephones of your banks as well as the keys or any necessary information in that sense in case you require it to handle any situation with these institutions during your exchange program.

Do you want to participate in an exchange program? Contact us so we can help you.

The Mayan calendar

Advantages of learning Spanish, countries that you can visit and communicate without problems

Wanting to learn a new language usually has to do with two causes: 1. Professional reasons or 2. An inclination towards it or with respect to the culture where it is spoken. In the case of Spanish, it can be said that for many people these reasons converge. Indeed, from the commercial point of view, many companies are interested in addressing an audience of more than  400 million people, but from the cultural and tourist point of view, this language is one of the distinguishing marks of more than 21 countries, which are the countries where Spanish is the official language today. In this article, we will talk about the countries that you will be able to visit and communicate without any issues after you learn Spanish.

Communicate with more people in the United States

If you live in the United States or want to connect with more people from this country, it is a good idea to learn Spanish, because according to an article published on the website of The Guardian in the United States there are more people who speak Spanish than in Spain itself.

Spain and Latin America

Speaking of Spain, learning Spanish would allow you to go to this country without having communication issues, and there is so much to do and things to learn in Spain! There you’ll enjoy the most picturesque festivals and traditions, but also stroll through its many cities and towns, these being its main tourist destinations. Also, Spain is an excellent destination country to go on an exchange program through which you can get a quality education and learn or improve your Spanish skills, for which you can also follow these tips.

Also, by learning Spanish you will be able to communicate with Latin Americans and it is difficult to synthesize such a rich culture in a few words. To speak of Latin America is to speak of the Inca Empire, whose Brain surgeries were said to be better than those done during the American Civil War 400 years later. Latin America is also about the Mayan Empire, which, among other inventions, had a great astronomical, scientific and architectural development, which is evidenced by its pyramids, calendar, and writing system.

The Mayan calendar

Moreover, you can learn about the colonial era, the independence wars and all the internal and external conflicts of each Latin American country, which shaped their current geography and idiosyncrasy. In this context, the arts were developed, being some of the more named  Latin artists the Mexican Frida Kahlo, the Colombian Fernando Botero, as well as the Venezuelans Carlos Cruz Diez and Armando Reverón.

 

Fernando Botero’s version of the Mona Lisa

In Latin America there are also writers laureate with the Nobel Prize for Literature, as is the case of Gabriela Mistral (1945), Miguel Angel Asturias (1967), Pablo Neruda (1971), Gabriel García Márquez (1982) and Mario Vargas Llosa (2010) , among other Spaniard and Latin American authors who speak Spanish and received this award and whose books you can read once you learn this language.

Finally, there is also a wide diversity of autochthonous musical genres such as merengue, salsa, bachata and vallenato, being some of the most prolific artists of these genres Wilfrido Vargas, Rubén Blades, Juan Luis Guerra and the Binomio de Oro, respectively -not to mention the many singers and groups of each musical genre that currently exists in Latin America.

Unusual places in the world where Spanish is spoken

Maybe you had some knowledge about what you have read so far, but did you know that by learning Spanish you can also travel and communicate in an African country? That’s right, one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea is Spanish. However, this last country is not the only unusual tourist destination where this language is spoken. In fact, in Asia there is a country that although Spanish is not its official language, it’s spoken by more than 2 million people: we are talking about the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony for 300 years.

On the other hand, in Andorra, 93% of people speak Spanish and there are minorities that speak Spanish in Aruba, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Guam, Western Sahara, Algeria, Canada, Norway, and Switzerland. Thus, Spanish is spoken in countries of the five continents, so learning this language will open many doors. Now, the best way to learn a language is going on an exchange program. Would you like to become an exchange student? Please contact us so we can help you.

The Sagrada Familia

Best plans to do if you visit Barcelona

The sky exists and it’s called Barcelona. This city combines architectural wonders, art, beautiful parks, a dream nightlife, friendly people, one of the best football teams in the world and, as if that were not enough, cool beaches. You must definitely visit Barcelona. In this article, we will tell you some of the best plans to do when you visit Barcelona.

Visit Barcelona’s parks

Parc del Laberint

Barcelona has a wide selection of parks where you can breathe fresh air and connect with nature. Among these can be mentioned the Parque de la Ciutadella, which was built on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1888, has an area of more than 17 hectares and is one of Barcelona’s lungs. This park is characterized by having a large waterfall, a lake, gardens, a grove, a greenhouse, monuments and the Barcelona Zoo.

On the other hand, the Parc del Laberint, designed in 1792 by Domenico Bagutti, is the oldest garden in Barcelona. It has an extension of 55 hectares in which there is a neoclassical garden and a romantic one. The main attractions of this park are the Minotaur’s Grotto, the Chinese gate, the artificial rocky waterfall and the romantic canal.

On the other hand, among many other parks in Barcelona, you can not miss are the Joan Miró Park, the Botanical Garden, Turó Park, the Park of Montjuic and Park Güell, one of the many splendid works of Gaudí, who we will talk about next.

Learn about Gaudí’s work

The Sagrada Familia

Antonio Gaudí was considered the most revolutionary architect of modernism and was characterized by building comfortable and striking buildings. Fourteen of Gaudí’s works are in Barcelona, among these can be mentioned the Sagrada Familia, an impressive basilica whose construction is estimated to culminate in 2030; Casa Milá, a modernist building built between 1906 and 1910; the Casa Batlló, another avant-garde building that represents the battle of San Jorge, and the remodelling of the Güell Palace, in which Gaudí provided creative solutions to increase the elegance and habitability of such palace.

Marvel at Barcelona’s cathedrals and churches

The Sagrada Familia is not the only important religious building in Barcelona. In fact, the Basilica of Santa María del Mar is the church preferred by locals. Sometimes concerts are held in this basilica, as it has an enviable acoustics. Likewise, the Basilica de la Merçé, near Port Vell, has a Gothic style and was restored with baroque tendencies. It is worth noting also the Cathedral of Barcelona, built on the remains of a mosque and a Romanesque church in the nineteenth century, and the Royal Chapel, whose construction was ordered by James II of Aragon and is located in the Roman Wall.

Enjoy tapas, pintxos, and vermouth

The tapas are appetizers that come in many forms, the most famous being patatas bravas. Among the best places in Barcelona to eat tapas are Esquinica, Quimet i Quimet and La Cova Fumada. Now, the “pintxos” are the Basque version of the tapas: bite-size dishes served on top of a loaf, being the classics made of black pudding and cod, as well as the empanadillas, but there are also newer recipes. Finally, the perfect companion for tapas and pintxos is the vermouth, which can be drunk in historic bars or cellars. In this sense, Electricity, La Pepita, and Bar Calders are recommended.

5. Bathe in the Mediterranean

One of the things that makes Barcelona the perfect city is that, in addition to all its architectural wonders and parks, it is a coastal city. In fact, it has more than 4 kilometers of beaches in which to bathe during the summer but also to walk and connect with nature at any time of the year. Among Barcelona’s main beaches are the Nova Icària, Sant Sebastià, and the Mar Bella.

Do you want to go to Spain on an exchange program and visit Barcelona? Please contact us.

Get to know the world thanks to an exchange program

Know the world thanks to an exchange

In this article, we will tell you how it is possible to know the world thanks to an exchange program. Let’s face it: the best way to do this is by going personally to each place; there is nothing like getting on airplanes to collect each country’s immigration stamps. However, sometimes the barriers to travel seem insurmountable. Below we will explain how to go through these barriers by becoming an exchange student.

How to overcome the reasons not to travel and get to know the world thanks to an exchange program

Get to know the world thanks to an exchange program

There are three main barriers to travel: time, money and personal safety.

1. Time

It could be thought that the fact of traveling to another country could temporarily stop our professional growth. The truth of the matter is that, as Oscar Wilde said: “Every experience is of value”. The fact of traveling per se is a transcendental experience: seeing how other people live, relate to each other and handle their own problems is something that we can extrapolate to our own personal situation, by using good examples as inspiration to improve our lives and the bad ones as a warning so to not make the same mistakes. Thus, even when you travel for pleasure you get something: experience.

 

However, when you participate in an exchange program, in addition to getting pleasure from traveling, you learn the content of the study program taught in the host country, and possibly also a new language, in the event that it is different from the one spoken in the exchange student’s country. In this way, traveling would not be in any way a waste of time but an investment in yourself that will give you a series of advantages at a professional level.

2. Money

Euros

Knowing new places, people and cultures will always be charming, but doing this within the framework of an exchange program goes much further. When traveling for pleasure you are a tourist, but this is not the case of an exchange student, since during your stay that student will be a member of the host country in the same terms as the others during the exchange program.

This has advantages and challenges. Among the first, it can be pointed out that being a member of another country has access to information, relationships and experiences that a tourist could hardly acquire: knowing which are the preferred sites for the people of the area, obtaining better prices on products and services, making friends, getting to know other people thanks to these, etc. This information will not only save you a lot of money but will make you live a more transcendental experience.

Among the challenges (not called disadvantages for the reasons explained below) is that an exchange student will experience the same difficulties as the people in the area: if there is a shortage of food, some basic service is interrupted, etc., said student will have to endure said situations. This has a double advantage: on the one hand the exchange student will learn to appreciate more their country, seeing that there are no such difficulties; and on the other hand, they must learn to handle these situations, which necessarily produce a personal expansion.

3. Personal safety

Another advantage of participating in an exchange program is that the exchange student will live in the host family’s home and will be treated as one of their members. Naturally, this family will ensure this student’s wellbeing and safety, by letting them know the safest places and travel methods and advise against those that could put them at risk. Although a travel agency could provide information in this regard, it is difficult for a company to have the same knowledge of the host country as someone who lives there, nor will it be as passionate about the exchange student’s wellbeing as the host family. Thus, you should not fear for your personal safety when traveling within the framework of an exchange program, as long as you act reasonably and follow the recommendations of your host family.

Taking into consideration the above, a person could participate in multiple exchange programs to get to know the world country by country. Are you interested in being an exchange student? Please contact us.

 

Parc Güell, Barcelona.

Countdown of the best Spanish cities to visit

Each place in Spain has its charm. To say which are the best cities in Spain would be like making the same judgment about an artist or a meal: no matter how good it may be, to say that it surpasses others is almost a sin. What can be done is, based on the facts, to establish which are the most visited cities in this country, and the National Institute of Statistics compiled such information. In this article, we will give you a countdown of the five cities with the most overnight stays in Spain, as well as the main attractions of these cities.

5. Torremolinos

The last but not the least important city in this list is Torremolinos, which is located on the Mediterranean coast of Andalusia and is home to more than 5 million tourists a year. In addition to the beaches El Bajondillo, Los Alamos, Playamar and La Carihuela, in Torremolinos there are theme parks such as Tivoli World, Selwo Marina and Crocodile Park Torremolinos, but also others for moments of relaxation and contemplation such as the Molino Inca Botanical Garden, the Parque la Baería and la Casa de las Navajas.

4. Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca’s Cathedral

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the island of Mallorca and receives more than 8 million tourists a year. One of the main attractions of the place is the S’Amarador Beach, located in the Mondragón  National Park. It is the perfect place to go with children and picnic. Another natural wonder in Palma de Mallorca is the beach La Calobra, located in the Torrente de Pareis canyon. Now, from the architectural point of view, you can’t visit Mallorca without missing the Palau de l’Almudaina, Llotja and the imposing Cathedral of Mallorca.

3. Benidorm

Evening in Benidorm

Benidorm is the preferred Spanish destination for many older adults, because of its beaches, good prices for lodging and the endless activities that can be done, but as a matter of fact, this place is an excellent destination for people of all ages. There you can go to the beach, compare the old town center with modern skyscrapers, go to the Mirador del Castillo de Benidorm and go on a trip to the islands of Benidorm and Tabasca. Any time of the year is good to go to Benidorm but during the summer its beaches are flooded with tourists. For that reason, it is not surprising that it receives more than 15 million tourists a year.

2. Barcelona

Parc Güell, Barcelona.

Being surpassed by Madrid by only about 52 thousand tourists a year, Barcelona received 19,239,886 tourists in 2015. This city  has impressive cathedrals like those of Santa Eulalia and the Sagrada Familia, but also dream places like the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, which “dances” to the rhythm of music, and the Plaza Real, designed by Gaudí himself, who also designed Parc Güell, created with the idea of serving as a group of homes for well-off people, but which ended up being a 42-acre park inspired by English gardens. Also, Barcelona is a coastal city with great commerce and an enviable nightlife.

1. Madrid

Madrid is the preferred Spanish destination by about 20 million tourists a year. As it often happens in every capital, Spain’s capital has a busier scene than other regions, but it will surely steal your heart. In this article, we refer to the Royal Palace, the Wax Museum and other major attractions in Madrid, but also deserve special mention to the majestic Prado Museum, which among its more than 700 sculptures and 8,600 paintings includes works by El Greco, Goya, and Velásquez.

On the other hand, in the center of Madrid is Plaza Mayor, a place where thousands of tourists spend to eat or have a glass of wine, but also to see the street performers who hover the place. Finally, you’ll find The Retiro Park, which has an area of 300 acres, a site called La Rosaleda that has more than 4,000 roses, and a building named El Palacio de Cristal (in English, the Crystal Palace), which has art exhibitions and is reached by paddling.

Learning while traveling

Advantages of making an exchange for your professional life

When seeing an exchange student, it is inevitable to ask questions like these: What language will they speak? Will they be kind people? Will they do well in their new educational institution? We may also wonder if it is worth for them to be part of an exchange program. In this article, we will tell you what the advantages for your professional life of going on an exchange program are.

1. The chance to attain additional knowledge

Learning while traveling

Whenever an exchange program takes place, knowledge is acquired in at least two areas: 1. the host country’s culture and 2. The content of the chosen study program. Additionally, if the language of the host country is different from that spoken at home, there is the possibility of learning that other language. It is not that you can’t learn all the above from home, but it would be like learning about Europe with a geography book: no matter how good such book is, it will never be the same as the experience of going to the Old Continent.

2. It opens your mind

Even if a student goes to a university in another state of the same country, and that is why they have to make certain changes in their life. While being an exchange student, there are many more situations to handle, and this causes that said student is forced to leave their comfort zone and, subsequently, develop the skills that allow them to solve these problems. In effect, the exchange student is always giving the extra mile to solve some everyday situation, ranging from the simple fact of being able to communicate an idea in another language to handle another currency, adapt to a special system of public transport, etc.

3. Traveling is implicit

Although the main objective of being an exchange student is learning, it is also the perfect opportunity to travel. Again, it is very likely that within one’s country there are many wonderful places to know, but traveling by using your passport is a different experience because it allows us to have a first-hand experience of other places, colors, smells and tastes that simply can’t be appreciated on YouTube. Whether you go to any European country or the United States, the possibilities of traveling cheap are endless, especially in the case of an exchange student. Finally, traveling not only gives us pleasure but also allows us to see how people from other places live and take that learning to our professional life.

4. You’ll build new social relationships

Making new friends

For a time, the exchange student will be far from their family and usual social relationships so they will need to bond with other people. Although that may be uncomfortable at first, it will make these students more sociable people by having to share for months and even years with their host family, as well as with their new classmates and teachers. As a consequence of this, it is quite likely that they will develop a strong bond with many of these people, some of which will end up becoming great friends and even allies in their professional life.

5. It makes a big difference in your resumé

Naturally, any human resources manager is interested in hiring the most suitable person for a given position. Now, although qualifications play a major role in this regard, certain qualities tend to tilt the balance in favor of certain candidates over others. Former exchange students possess such qualities: in any case, they went to another country, learn its culture, and had to adapt and respond to situations that they would not have lived otherwise.

So, as you can see, being an exchange student is not just about going to another country; it gives you a series of advantages for your professional life. Do you want to participate in an exchange program? Contact us so we can help you.

 

Train Station in Bulgaria

4 essential travel tips for exchange students

Are you interested in becoming an exchange student?  Contact us.

One of the advantages of being part of an exchange program is the possibility of traveling. In the first place, it is necessary to go to the host country, for which there are a series of requirements, procedures, and recommendations (which, in Spain’s case are these),  but once you are there, it is most likely that you want to get the most out of your experience, which includes traveling within that country and (why not?) beyond its borders. In this article, we will provide you with the four essential travel tips for exchange students.

1. Get Organized

Organization

The priority of every exchange student is to learn. Learn the knowledge and skills associated with the study program that will be studied in the host country, the language spoken in that country and its culture. An excellent way to reinforce the learning of these last two aspects is by traveling, which in general requires organization but with more reason when participating in an exchange program, since there are a series of special benefits for exchange students.

For that reason, the first thing you should do is to investigate which are those benefits in your host country. One of the best known is the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is accepted in 130 countries and allows you to get better prices in certain restaurants, hotels, air tickets, museums and other places. We recommend that you obtain your ISIC card in your country of origin so that you can seize its advantages from the beginning of your exchange program.

2. Save on transportation

Train Station in Bulgaria

Naturally, the less you spend on certain aspects you will have a larger budget to travel. Therefore, in addition to obtaining the ISIC card and any other similar credentials accepted in your host country, we suggest that you travel mostly by bus and train. About this last means of transport, if your host country is located in Europe and you are under 27 years of age, we recommend that you buy Eurail passes, under which you will have discounts of 20% on all your train trips.

As regards air tickets, we recommend that you evaluate them in each particular case, because although they are usually more expensive, it is worth paying the price of certain domestic flights. Furthermore, unless the situation warrants it, avoid using cabs, because, naturally, by doing so your budget will be exhausted much more quickly.

3. Become friends with local people

When traveling, there are usually two scenarios: the one that tourists know and another one special for local people. The first provides a safe and comfortable environment where tourists can spend their money; in the second you will meet places and special people, and you will live experiences that are usually only available to those who live in the area. The only way to get in the second scenario is being introduced to it by people from the area. Therefore, among other reasons, it is important to make friends with these people.

Although this may allow you to obtain better prices with respect to certain products and services, it goes much further: it will allow you to know the city from the inside and, what is more important, connect you in a better way with others. However, for your safety and well-being, do your best to make friends with constructive people, and keep the toxic ones away. For all the above, it is important that you have a good relationship with your host family since it could lead you to live the second scenario or at least they will be there in case you have any concerns about it.

4. Have a blast!

Organizing, saving money and making friends with people in the area makes sense only so that, as mentioned at the beginning, you get the most out of your experience of being an exchange student. For the same reason, you must do all these things at your discretion: if at some point you want to spend a little more or, in general, do anything that gives you happiness, do it! Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Monfragüe National Park

5 things you can not miss if you go to Spain on an exchange program

Are you going to Spain on an exchange program? In this article, you will learn about 5 things that you can’t miss while you are at it.

Spain is considered by many as a multicultural paradise that exhibits a mixture of many trends, leaving in each corner of the country a combination of ancient structures and modern facilities. Its capital, the beautiful Madrid, has hundreds of places for leisure and recreation. Know them below:

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum)

We will start our journey with this museum, which offers its visitors not only the possibility of witness Guernica, Pablo Picasso’s famous painting but also holds exhibitions that portray the purest moments of art to the point of tearing apart the most dynamic conceptualisms such as those of the exposition Dada Ruso 1914-1924.

El Palacio Real de Madrid (Madrid’s Royal Palace)

Madrid's Royal Palace

Madrid’s Royal Palace

Now’s the turn for Madrid’s luxurious Royal Palace, built by King Felipe V (1683-1746). There, you’ll find the Real Botica, a pharmacy founded by King Felipe II in 1594. It’s the predecessor of the current pharmacy faculties, laboratories, and establishments. Also, in the Royal Palace, you will find the Royal Armory which has an outstanding collection of armors and weapons owned by kings and other members of the Royal House of Spain that will blow your mind.

El Museo de Cera de Madrid (Madrid’s Wax Museum)

Speaking of mind-blowing experiences, watching our idols on the TV is always wonderful, but seeing them in person is not that common, is it? The Museo de Cera, founded on February 14, 1972, offers let’s you stand face to face with sculptures of historical figures ranging from Napoleon Bonaparte to Barack Obama, artists such as Justin Bieber and Leonardo Di Caprio and sports stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé, among other 450.

El Parque de las 7 tetas (7 tits’ Park)

Madrid also offers you a large natural area with a particular name, the Parque de las 7 tetas, an incredible place that owes its name to the 7 hills located in that place. It has a bar or “chiringuito”, as it is known, and a viewpoint. So get ready to take some good pictures there and have a blast with friends.

Monfragüe National Park

Monfragüe National Park

Monfragüe National Park

Outside Madrid, specifically in the Cáceres region, you’ll find the Monfragüe National Park, which, just like the Parque de las 7 tetas, is entry free. Also, it remains open 24 hours a day, each day of the year. Take your backpack and walk by this park’s authorized trails always taking care of its natural spaces. Feeding the animals is not allowed.

El barrio la Latina y el Mercado de la Cebada (La Latina neighborhood and the Barley Market)

A good way to crown this tour by Madrid is by having a few drinks and share time with your friends-or a new flame maybe? This can be done in the La Latina neighborhood. Once there you can visit the streets of Cava Alta and Cava Baja, which have restaurants of great fame thanks to their polite treatment to customers and exquisite food, deserving special mention in that regard the starry eggs of Casa Lucio.

You may also visit the renowned Viaduct of Segovia and shop in the Mercado de la Cebada, one of the largest markets in Madrid where you can get a smoothie to relieve your hangover, in case you had too many bravas and chupitos.

Those were just some of the many places to visit for those who go to Spain on an exchange program. Have you decided yet? Live the experience. Contact us.

Embassy of Spain in Washington

Spain guide for exchange students

Did you choose Spain as the country to go on an exchange program? Excellent decision! You can see for yourself that this country has a series of advantages from an educational, geographical and human point of view that make it the ideal scenario for this type of program. Now, so that you can get the most out of this experience there are some things you need to know. For that reason, in the following article we will give you a guide for exchange students in Spain:

General information about Spain for exchange students

Barcelona Spain

Spain is a European country with a population of more than 46 million people. Its capital is Madrid and Spanish is its official language. The government system is the parliamentary monarchy, the predominant religion is the Catholic, and its currency is the euro. Many international students choose this country because it has many educational institutes that provide high-quality education, but also because life is cheaper there than in other European countries, besides having many tourist sites, picturesque festivities and very warm people.

It should be noted that classes are taught in Spanish and, in fact, it is difficult to communicate in a language other than that. Also, Spain has climates of all kinds, depending on the area and time of year, and in certain territories, there are independentist claims, such as Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Aspects to take into consideration to enter Spain

Embassy of Spain in Washington

First, it is important to go to the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country to clarify any questions you may have, especially with regard to the documents you need, customs and baggage issues, financial services, medical coverage, etc. It is important that you know your host family’s home address, and also that you know how you will move from there to your study center. Also, it is essential that you know how you will manage your finances once you’re in Spain, concerning where you will receive money and the payment methods you’ll use.

By the way, exchange students are recommended to carry cash, as this is the only payment method that is accepted in many places during your trip to Spain. On the other hand, in case the student is a teenager and has credit cards, it is important that they know what to do in case they lose those cards or that they deteriorate.

About the necessary documentation, the main thing is that the exchange student has a valid passport which needs to be in good condition. Also, depending on factors such as your nationality and length of stay, you must report the terms of your visit, have a study visa and a letter of admission issued by the educational center where you will study and. It is very important to emphasize that in case a student visa is required, the exchange student must request it at the consulate of their country of origin, considering that if they arrive in Spain without it they will not be allowed to enter the country.

Additional requirements to study in Spain

Although the visa is exempted in certain cases in which the stay lasts less than three months, all exchange students must request it if their studies or research will take more than six months, as well as having a document that demonstrates their admission to the educational institution where they will study and a residence card issued by the National Police’s immigration offices.

Additionally, some exchange students must present the university entrance exam (PAU, in its Spanish initials), except those from the People’s Republic of China, Norway, Iceland, Andorra, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and they meet the requirements to access the university in their respective countries of origin. However, these students must register with the Central Foreigners Registry and comply with a series of special procedures.

Finally, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of each exchange student going to their respective country’s Spanish consulate to obtain more information about the particular requirements they need to participate in an exchange program in Spain. Once such requirements are met, exchange students only need to prepare to have the adventure of their lives. Do you need more information about exchange programs in Spain? Please contact us.