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FOTO FAMILIA
education, Family, Learn, Travel, World,

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.

 

 

 

 

 

educación in
Apprendre, Articulo, education, Family, History, Languages, Langues, Learn, Testimonios y Opiniones, Voyage, World,

The best quotes of education!

There are many quotes of philosophers, thinkers and pedagogues related with education throughout history of the humanity, but for the International Education Day we want to collect specially those that are focus on one type of endure education and is base on the human creation to create a better world.

Easy, honest, logic and deep quotes that doesn´t matter if these was said 2500 years ago but they are still current. I hope you enjoy it!

“The most important and principal public business is the good education of the youth people”

Platon (S V-IV a DC)

“Educate the mind without educate the heart, is educate absolutely nothing”

 

“Is the mark of an educated mind to be able to understand the though, is to accept it”

Aristoteles (S IV AC)

“The education is the fire of a flame, is not filling a container”

Socrates (Atenas, S IV AC)

“The school should be a grate prelude of our life”

Comenius (Nivnice March 28th, 1592 – Amsetrad (November 15th, 1670)

“Tell me and I forget it, teach me and I remember it, involve me and I learn it”

Benjamin Franklin (Boston, January 17th, 1706 – Philadelphia, April 17th, 1790)

“If we teach to the students of today as we teach yesterday, we are stealing them tomorrow”

John Dewey (Burlington, October 20th, 1859 – New York, June 1st, 1952)

“Sow it good ideas in kids, even though they don´t understand; the years will be in charge of deciphering them in their understanding and making them flourish in their hearts”

Maria Montessori (Italy August, 31st, 1870 – Netherlands May 6th, 1952)

“The education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”

Nelson Mandela (Mvezo, July 18th, 1918 – Johannesburgo, December 5th, 2013)

“To teach is not to transmit knowledge, is to create the possibility of producing them”

Paulo Freire (Recife, Brazil, 1921 – São Paulo, 1997)

“The unlettered of the 21th Century will not be those who cant know how to read or write, but those who can´t learn, unlearn and relearn”.

Alvin Toffler (New York, October 3rd, 1928 -LA, June 27th, 2016)

 

As usual, there you have a video, this time is to understand why Maria Montesori was an important pedagogue and why her methodology is still valid

Maria Montesori: her story on YouTube

Maria Montessori: Creativity unleashed | Judi Bauerlein | TEDxLivermore on YouTube

braille
Apprendre, education, Family, Family - Health, Languages, Langues, Learn, School, World,

World Braille Day

Every 4th of January, is celebrated the World Braille Day, the alphabetic embossed system created to represent letters, punctuation marks, numbers and mathematic symbols contributing to the blind people a valid and efficient tool for Reading, writing and giving the Access to the education, the culture and the information.

It consists on a combination of six raised points divided into cells, organized as a matrix of 3 rows and 2 columns that allows to get 64 different combinations, including the one without a point, which is used as blank (to separate the words), also the differentiating special signs to convert a capital letter, number or a musical note. Usually they are listed top to bottom and left to right.

The UN has recognized and proclaimed the World Braille Day, to celebrate each 4th of January, highlighting multilingualism as a basic value of de UN. The principal main is promote awareness about the importance of braille as a media for full human fulfillment toward the blind people or visually impaired individuals. This day was chosen because of the inventor of the language, Louis Braille birthday (January 4th, 1809).

Louis was playing with some tools in his father’s workshop, and he had an accident with the sharp awl in one of his eyes, so he got an infection, that soon spread and blinding him in both eyes when he was 3 years old. He was learnt to read by feeling studs hammered into pieces of wood in the shapes of letters and numbers. Later, when he was 10 years old, he was accepted in a school, called Institute for Blind Children in Paris where they used crossed twigs were used to signify the letters of the alphabet. There, he also learnt to play cello and organ.

The idea of create the braille language started by the French Captain Charles Barbier, after the Napoleonic Wars; he invented the “night writing” that consisted of raised dots on cardboard used to send written messages on battlefields by night. The Captain continued promoting his writing method to other militaries, but they refused to use it. In 1820, Captain Barbier had the idea that maybe his system could be used by the blind people, so he took it to the school in the rue St-Victor (where Louis was a student).

Louis was tasked to evaluate the Barbiers system; he thought it was interesting but very plain to help blind people. Since that day, Louis Braille got inspired to adapt and complete his own system. And till 1824 (when he was 15 years old), finally he had finished his six dots system in varying patterns cells as domino, providing 63 permutations for different letters and numbers, including the “space” symbol. Later he also included musical notes.

The other students started using his method, because it was a tool to learn easily. Nevertheless, the school didn’t make it official because of the high price, they didn’t have enough money. Years later, Louis Braille, started to teach in that school using his own method of learning.

In 1826, he published his 32 pages book, named “Method of Writing Language, Plain Chant and Music, by Means of Raised Points for the Use of Blind Persons” (printed in embossed text).

Curious fact: on December 30 of 2014, the Braille language had been patented; therefore, it limited its use in any product. The Spanish Braille Commission and the ONCE Foundation, fought for the freedom of use, fulfilling the communicative and inclusive purpose.

As usual, there you have a video in which Deinny, a nine years old girl (part of the skating team, she plays some percussion instruments, sings, participate in the Astronomy club, she loves to read and enjoys every single moment of her live even though she could not see), she teach us how the braille system works and how her process has been.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YepYQZOZJ4

familia en navidad
Family, World,

7 advices if you are host family during Christmas

It is usual to spend Christmas with family, but many students take advantage to live a new experience celebrating out of home.

Christmas is a moment of union, love, solidarity and integration. Make your student feel surrounded by love as if he/she was at home.

  1. Invite she/he to participate in every single activity: help with the Christmas tree, the lights, etc.
  2. Both (student and the host family) explain your Christmas traditions.
  3. Clothing: It´s important  that the student know how to dress, so she/he don´t feel uncomfortable, we should guide him/her, but at the same time leaving some margin so she/he can feel comfy.
  4. If you want to help, giving to her/him a present, we should collaborate and give her/him a hand. Most probably she/he will feel comfortable giving a present.
  5. Talk to the student family days before, so you can organize everything related with the gifts. You should know if her/him parents are going to send a present or you have to buy it.  The day that you exchange presents, the student will also has one for she/he.
  6. Dinner: if you are going to have family meeting, remember to include him/her. I´m pretty sure he/she will want to try and know more about the different culture and traditions. Maybe he/she doesn´t like it at all, so let him try and don´t insist.
  7. Look for the perfect moment to make the family Photo and include him/her. Send those photos to the student family. Maybe you can have a Skype videocall with her/his family other day, it will be a nice gesture, but you have to schedule before (because of the time difference).

 

Each country, has specific traditions, but we share the general ones, for example: the Christmas tree or the Christmas crib. Celebrate the birth, giving present as the wise men did it.

Why the most important celebrations are made with family, around a table and giving presents? Well, that´s how Christians commemorate the Barth of Christ.

Any tradition is lived from the heart these christmas days and remain in the memory of everyone, make your host family the best memory for your student!

Merry Christmas to everybody!

Youtube: Do they Know it’s Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984

solidarity+viafamilies
World,

International Human Solidarity Day

December 20th is the day that the General Assembly proclaimed as the International Human Solidarity Day which promotes to focus on eradicating poverty, maintaining the hope of a better world, enhancing the protection of the dignity of people, the defense of the environment and the planet.

Days like today we celebrate our diversity, we take awareness of the importance of solidarity, we encourage the debate to achieve common goals, as well as the eradication of poverty. In the same way, we promote 3 actions to improve human solidarity. The first is assistance, facilitate basic services to all people. The second action is the help of development, we lay the foundations for communities to work for their own development. The third is cooperation; this is not only to empower vulnerable communities, but to generate an ethical bond between donor communities and beneficiaries.

 

May all our actions be humanitarian, let’s take our arms to help!

The Charities Aid Foundation, made a study that evaluates the solidarity behaviour of 153 countries, it focuses on 3 main values: the financial donations, the time had spent as volunteer and the time spent helping other people. Spain is number 83 of 153.

The top 10 countries most solidarities are:

  1. United States
  2. Ireland
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Netherland
  7. Canada
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Thailand
  10. Laos

Now, we can also help as a personal label, some actions you can do are:

  1. Give your time (volunteer)
  2. Donate (specific objects, food, medicines, clothes)
  3. Make a financial donation.
  4. Organize a solidarity activity (non-profit fund raising, charity events)
  5. Solidarity education (teach to the kids the importance of being supportive through movies or stories)
  6. Fight for the human rights of all the people.

Remember that our mision in Via Families is to contribute in young education and their future to eradicate the poverty and inequality for a better world.

The following video will make us think about the daily actions in which we can collaborate.

Source of reference:

http://www.un.org/es/events/humansolidarityday/

https://www.campodecriptana.info/fechas-celebres/1555-20-de-diciembre-dia-internacional-de-la-solidaridad-humana  

http://www.worldvision.es/noticias-ayuda-humanitaria/los-10-paises-mas-solidarios-del-mundo?gclid=EAIaIQobChMImPqn36Su3wIVReh3Ch3JJwNAEAAYASAAEgJ6kvD_BwE

portada post CSU
Family - Health,

Do you know the meaning of UHC?

The International Day of UHC (Universal Health Coverage) was proclaimed by the United Nations on 2017. This day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. Universal health coverage refers to everyone; everywhere should have access to health care.

On December 12th, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved the resolution urging countries to accelerate the progress toward UHC. (Via: https://www.un.org/es).

Christopher Murray, responsible of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the University of Washington (EEUU), had studied the sanitary competition between the countries around the world which had developed during 1990 and 2015; he focus on mortality rate, are 32 diseases can be battle with an appropriate health care.

The 32 diseases were analyzed are: tuberculosis, respiratory infections; also some diseases that can be preventing with vaccine (diphteria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles); several kinds of cancer, heart disease and maternal disorder.

Top 25 from 100 points

1. Andorra (95)

2. Iceland (94)

3. Switzerland (92)

4. Sweden (90)

5. Norway (90)

6. Australia (90)

7. Finland (90)

8. Spain (90)

9. Netherlands (90)

10. Luxembourg (89)

11. Japan (89)

12. Italy (89)

13. Ireland (88)

14. Austria (88)

15. France (88)

16. Belgium (88)

17. Canada (88)

18. Slovenia (87)

19. Greece (87)

20. Germany (86)

21. Singapore (86)

22. New Zealand (86)

23. South Korea (86)

24. Denmark (86)

25. Israel (86)

In some countries millions of people don’t have health care, vaccines, treatment yet. Almost the half of the countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) has less than a doctor for each 1.000 habitants.

Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF) provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Their human labor in sanitary area it is really important in countries without health cover.

Information of Médicos Sin Fronteras.

The UHC pretend that those millions of people have universal health coverage, at the moment and thanks of organization as Medicos Sin Fronteras, unprotected countries are now attended.

The map shows the lack of health coverage in more than the half of countries in the world.

Universal health assistance in the entire world (on December, 2014).

Nations with universal health assistance.

 

As usual, there you have a video: “Universal health coverage for everyone”

Plaza España, Sevilla
Travel, World,

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.

Suitcase
Travel, World,

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
Languages, Travel, World,

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
Travel, World,

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.

Learn Spanish
Languages, World,

Advantages of going to Spain on an exchange program

Spain not only has amazing tourist sites but also is a destination desired by those who want to go on an exchange program. Its academic offer, low costs, the warmth of its people and the possibility of learning Spanish are among the main reasons why many exchange students choose this country as the venue for their program. In this article we will tell you what are the advantages of going to Spain on an exchange program:

1. Learn or improve your Spanish skills

Learn Spanish

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the United States, as we explained in a previous post in which we gave tips for studying this language. In any case, whether you do not speak Spanish or want to master this language, what better place to learn it than where it was born? Going to Spain on an exchange program gives you that possibility. Although there are many other places where you can learn Spanish, doing it in a first world country with as much history as Spain is a truly special experience.

2. Low costs of living

As everywhere, in Spain, there are expensive products and services, but usually, the costs of living are low compared to many other places in the world and especially in Europe. In fact, it is possible to cover the costs of living in Spain with about 1,000 euros per month. This is a great advantage for those who participate in an exchange program, as they can easily cover their essential expenses and allocate the rest of the budget to travel and partying. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?

3. Excellent educational offer

The Spanish education is also one of the most economical in Europe and is of quality. Indeed, several Spanish universities are listed in the topuniversities.com listings, the main ones being the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Barcelona and the University of Valencia, among others.

In Spain, there are 83 universities, of which 33 are private and 50 public. On average, the yearly tuition fees to study at a university in Spain, depending on the career, vary between 750 and 2,100 euros in the case of public universities and between 900 and 3,300 euros in private universities.

These prices are much lower than those of American universities, with the added bonus that anyone whose CV says they participated in an exchange program has advantages over other candidates to obtain work in the eyes of any recruiter. Thus, going to Spain on an exchange program is a low investment that will provide great benefits for your professional life.

4. Thousands of things to do

Soccer match in Spain

In Spain you can do something different every day: there are hundreds of museums, monuments, parks, cathedrals, beaches, mountains, stadiums where football stars play, an off-peak nightlife, sporting events, etc. In addition, the Spanish culture is very rich: throughout the year you can witness so many traditions and festivals that you will have to constantly remind yourself that you went to Spain with the aim of studying.

5. The Spaniard’s warmth

Spaniards are known to be passionate about what they do and also to be kind people. While being an exchange student there will always be someone willing to give you whatever information you need. Also, you will have the opportunity to see Spaniards daily for a given time so many of these will end up being great friends of yours or even something else.

In conclusion, being an exchange student in Spain has advantages from every point of view: you will learn or improve your Spanish proficiency, you will spend less money than in other places, obtain a quality education, know dream places and be surrounded by special people. Are you determined to go to Spain on an exchange program? Contact us

Get to know the world thanks to an exchange program
Travel, World,

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.
Travel, World,

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.

Train Station in Bulgaria
Languages, Travel, World,

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?

Day of the dead
education, Family, History, Languages, World,

Discover new cultures while hosting an exchange student

Exchange students are not the only ones to have access to a new culture. In fact, members of a host family also get this benefit, without leaving the comfort of their home. These exchanges not only broaden the general culture of both parties but are a source of joy for all. In this article, we will tell you four ways how a host family can discover new cultures while hosting exchange students.

1. Learn new words and phrases

When a person participates in an exchange program, one of their main objectives is usually to learn the language spoken in the host country. To do this, members of the host family should try to speak to the student only in that language, but this does not mean that from time to time they can’t ask the student how certain words or phrases are said in their country. Indeed, having the host family learn such phrases or words is a way to show the student that this is important for that family.

2. Experience a different culinary culture

Another way to make a cultural exchange within the framework of an exchange program is for the student to cook for their host family. Usually, the opposite happens: the host family prepares traditional food of their country to which the student tends to adapt, but it would not hurt if, for example, a Japanese student prepares sushi or a Spanish one cooks a Spanish tortilla (omelet). By doing this, the host family will be able to break their culinary routine, but it will also be a way for the student to collaborate with household chores at a given time, and the fact that said student may taste food from their country could be a way to calm their evil of homeland.

On the other hand, it is quite possible that the dish prepared by the student in the host family’s home has a flavor that seems different to the one that is perceived when such student cooks the same dish in their country. This is normal because maybe said dished aren’t prepared with the same ingredients, or they have variations that, even if they are minimal, end up influencing the final product. However, the important thing is to have that experience of eating as a family. As the old saying goes: “A family that eats together, stays together”, a union that in this case will take place because of the exchange student’s culture.

3. Sing and dance to other rhythms

Tango dancers

Cultural exchanges can also take place from the artistic point of view. If the exchange student sings or plays an instrument, they would do well to do so in the presence of the host family. Also, if they know how to dance rhythms of their country or region, they could do the same. Imagine having at home a Spanish student dancing flamenco, a Venezuelan dancing to drums, a Puerto Rican dancing salsa or an Argentine dancing tango, to name a few of the many rhythms that exist in the Spanish-speaking world. Host family members may not learn to dance these rhythms in one night or even during the whole exchange student stay, but the simple fact of seeing the exchange student dancing to a peculiar rhythm will be cause for joy.

4. Celebrate special holidays

Day of the dead

It’s also a good idea to hold homemade meetings for celebrations that take place in the country of the exchange student, as would be the case of the Day of the Dead, as celebrated in Mexico and which is alluded to in the movie “Coco”. In such a meeting, the exchange student, with the help of the host family or other students, could organize the preparation of typical foods, sing and dance traditional rhythms, and speak their language.

As you can see, there are many ways in which a host family can open a window to other cultures. Are you interested in hosting exchange students? Contact us so we can help you.