Friday, April 29, 2011

Sizzling Spanish School in Sevilla, Spain

After a quick jaunt on the Madrid metro system from Barajas Airport, and a high speed train ride down to Sevilla, I found myself visiting a Spanish city for the first time ever. With its stunning Cathedral and its large but compact bustling city center, I found Sevilla to be one of the most wonderful locations I have ever lived.

We have many college and high school students venture to study at our respective adult and teen programs each Summer. Being that it is a decent sized city and great for immersion, we also have many professionals learn Spanish in Sevilla year round. 

We have provided the full overview for the the great Spanish programs we offer through our SA Sevilla #2 school. Utilize the zoom tools at the bottom of the page for easy reading. The high quality of instruction, superb accommodation selection, and exciting activity schedule make this a top notch program for all ages. 
Sevilla Spanish School

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spanish Jamon Serrano For Breakfast mmm...


Photo by AVLXYZ
We have been writing a lot about food lately. Lets just say we are easily inspired by tasty treats. Travelling in Spain you can't help but see the lovely piggy trotters hanging from the windows of many meat shops, bars, restaurants, and they probably keep them in the libraries for good measure.

Having been to my fair share of hotels in the country, it is always a pleasant surprise to find out they have a Spanish Breakfast bar or what they call Desayuno Espanol. 

At the better spreads you will find paper thin lovely sheets of cured Jamon Serrano. This is an uncooked ham that is hanged to air dry after being treated with salt and love. A full discussion on the matter deserves its own book. You will also find a few different types of quesos (cheeses) as well as fruit, bread, and juices. Some of the swankier places may have Spanish style tortillas made with eggs, onions, and potatoes. 

One of the key aspects I did not mention is the lovely smooth Spanish Olive Oil that you will also find to spread on just about whatever you would like. The Olive Oil Times has reported that the olive oil industry organization known has Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Espanol is making a push to have the Desayuno Espanol a mainstay at many hotels around the world. It can compliment or replace the continental breakfast option on any menu.

Obviously they have a dog in this fight by pushing Olive Oil sales, which have grown significantly over the years. I for one am all for it. Any chance to get my hand on some yummy Jamon Serrano when not in Spain is reason enough for me. 

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Como Se Dice Archie Comics?

Since they are typically more geared toward children or adolescents, learning Spanish through Cartoons or Comic books in this case, can make things seem less intimidating. Newsarama reported this week that these Spanish translated Archie comic books would be available online in digital format at ArchieDigital.com 

This comic book is definitely a classic and it was noted that the first batch to be released in Spanish would come from the more recent 2009 series of books. The pictures in a comic book are tied together to tell a story. In most cases you can gain enough information from context to guide you through what the characters are saying, even if it is in a language that is foreign to you. However, if you are taking formal classes to guide you with your grammar and vocabulary development, then it can help you zoom through the more simplistic text, that is provided with a highly illustrated comic like these. 

Who knows, perhaps you already read these editions in English. This could be considered a form cheating, but I won't tell anyone as long as you are solidifying your Spanish knowledge through some good old fashioned reading. I just can't wait to see how Jughead translates. 



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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Margarita Drink Preparations

Photo by Tina Rupp
If you put on a Cinco de Mayo celebration, you know that some of the top items to have at the fiesta are unique and flavorful drinks. With Horchata, Jamaica, or Tamarindo, you can't go wrong, but what would a Mexican party be with out the Tequila. For our 21+ crowd, you definitely have to bring the Tequila and with that comes the ever so popular Margarita. 

Luckily we have great references such as the Food channel to provide us with interesting and unique Margarita Recipes. They have easy steps to follow in which to whip up some tasty drinks in less than 15 minutes. I provided my personal favorite below as I like a little spice to my life. 

Jalapeno Margaritas: 
Blend together one slice of jalapeno to your preference, a handful of celery leaves, six ounces of fresh lime juice and a spoonful of powedered sugar in a blender. Mix with 16 ounces tequila and 8 ounces orange liqueur in a pitcher and refrigerate to chill. Serve your margarita on the rocks in salt-rimmed thick walled glass.

View the full selection at Top Ten Margarita Recipes

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Private Apartment Option In Buenos Aires

The majority of our students that choose to study Spanish in Buenos Aires stay with host families for the full immersion experience. However, for those that would like more privacy and the amenities of a home rather than a hotel, we now offer a full furnished apartment in Downtown Buenos Aires. 

View of the City of  Buenos Aires 
This is an upscale studio in the city center within walking distance to restaurants, cafes, gyms, grocery stores and all of the necessities of city life. There is also 24 hour security, so you can feel safe living in the heart of this massive metropolis.

Living Room View 

The apartment has all of the necessary rooms including a kitchen and bathroom. It also has a balcony facing the street. It is fully air-conditioned and has heating as well. It is outfitted with completely new furnishings and appliances. You will also have a microwave for quick fix meals. 

Fully Furnished Kitchen
In addition to the necessities, you will also have maid service once per week for turn down service and linen cleaning. You will also have cable TV and internet service. The school will also provide you with a cell phone, which covers local calls and you can get a phone card for international service. These apartments are in high demand so be sure to book far in advance to ensure availability. 

Pricing ranges from $350 to $450 per week depending on the time of year, so check in with us for availability and pricing for the dates in which you would like to stay in Buenos Aires We think this is a great value and is very convenient to the school, as you can walk there in around 15 minutes. It is also within reasonable walking distance to the major cites of interest in the Downtown area of this beautiful city. You can enjoy the sites and sounds of this bustling city and then have a pad to crash when you are worn out from all of the fun. 

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Semana Santa in Sevilla: Holy Week

Photo by Certo Xornal
Holy Week is just about finishing up in Spain with major festivities taking place currently and over the next couple days. Here is one of your typical shots from one of the festivities that take place in the Sevilla as well as other parts of the country. 

As an American first seeing such a scene, my initial unknowing thought was, why are the clan having a rally in Spain. I am sure I am not the first to have this thought cross my mind when seeing the Nazernos in their robes and pointed hoods (capirotes). You will see these robes and hoods in various colors. 

Originally self flagellation would take place during the processions in penance for their sins and the priests or monks beat themselves bloody on their backs with whips. This still takes place in many countries. However in many cases they would be beating bare skin rather than robe during the Passion of Christ Procession and in other instances. 

Semana Santa and the resulting festivals that ensue are beyond the scope of a quick blog entry, but I thought this is an interesting topic to touch on. May you and your family have a great Good Friday and Easter Sunday, no matter what  your religious beliefs are. After all, I don't remember reading about Yellow rabbits laying multi-colored hard boiled eggs and hiding them for children to find and eat. This cultural phenomenon certainly will require much more research. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Panama City Spanish School Emerging for Immersion

Panama has been a bustling country in general over the past decade. Many call it the "Costa Rica of 50 years ago", however in the 21st century, we think you will find it has grown in leaps and bounds past some historic benchmark. Panama City is emerging as an influential Capital City in Central America and we find it to be a great location for full Spanish Immersion. 

Our Spanish school is located in an upscale residential and shopping district of Panama City with few tourists, so practicing the language with locals comes natural. The host families are also much closer to the school than what you would find with cities of this size and most are in very close walking distance.

Below we have provided the full overview below for this program. Utilize the zoom features at the bottom of the page to focus in on the key details of this amazing location and program. View further details for our program at Spanish Abroad if you want to learn Spanish in Panama City

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oldest Restaurant in the World: Madrid, Spain

Sobrino de Botin in the heart of Madrid is world renown for being recognized as the oldest restaurant that is still in operation. I haven't had the luck to dine their yet, but I will be sure to make a reservation on my next trip to the beautiful Capital city of Spain. I found this great video from the Travel Channel, which highlights Botin as well as other great aspects of the city.

They are best known for their suckling pig which looks spectacular with its crispy skin. If you are faint of heart when seeing a baby pig split open, then be sure to avoid this video. The simplicity of the preparation is an art itself and you see suckling pigs at restaurants all over Spain. Typically they are just sitting out in the open in their roasting dish. Goya is definitely my favorite artist at the Prado Museum in Madrid, so to think he actually worked and dined here is reason enough for me to try out the grub and take in the ancient atmosphere. 





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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chile Makes Top Five Study Abroad List

River Rafting in Chile
Lets Go is a travel guide written completely by undergrads, so who better to consider the best locations to study abroad. In their latest list they have release Chile as one of the top countries to study abroad. 

The distinct reason they pointed out, was the amazing outdoor activity options, including skiing in the Andes, and hitting the long stretch of beaches on the Pacific Coast. There is certainly plenty of coast in a country that stretches the whole length of the lower portion of South America. 

With such a long stretching nation, you have a variety of terrains and landscapes in which to explore and engage in multiple outdoor activities, no matter what your energy level may be. If you are not the type to just lay on the beach, you can hike in the Andes, snow board its amazing slopes, or trek across immense plains. 

As you can see in the picture above there are also great opportunities to brave the rapids of Chile's amazing river systems. If you are not the type to strap on some crampons for world class mountaineering, then you may enjoy a more low impact stroll threw the countries world class vineyards and sample some of the finest wines in the world. 

While our Spanish school is located in the bustling capital of Santiago, you are never too far from the great fresh air of the outdoors. Our program has great weekend excursions as well as a Ski program for those that want to hit the slopes during the week as well. After all when you are focusing on Spanish immersion for four hours each day or more, and then practicing the language in real world scenarios, it can be great to break loose and enjoy the culture and natural settings that the the beautiful country of Chile has to offer.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Be an Idiot Abroad

If you were lucky, you happened to catch the "An Idiot Abroad" Series that was Co-Produced by the Office's Ricky Gervais and aired in the US on the Science Channel. Here is a great  compilation of the best scenes from Kyle Pilkington's trip to Mexico and truly shows how you can be an idiot abroad in Mexico City. 

A lot of the hijinks are based on not understanding cultural norms or not adapting to a standard of living that he is not accustomed to in the UK. The ultimate sin in his travels is not enjoying the everyday experiences or amazing scenery that can be found by traveling outside your home country or comfort zone for that matter. These are the once in a lifetime opportunities that can shape your outlook on life for the future. 






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Friday, April 15, 2011

Inca Trail and Other Treks from Cusco

Machu Picchu
We have many students hike the Inca or Salkantay Trail each year prior to or after attending our Spanish language school in Cusco. This can be a once in a life time opportunity and allow you to see the natural settings and historic Inca architecture of Peru. 

While we can arrange the fairly inclusive trail package, far in advanced notice, and planning are required on your part in order to take part in a four or five day trek. 

There are a maximum number of people that can go on the hike each season to ensure the integrity of the trail. Machu Picchu as seen in the photo here is certainly at the forefront of the highlight reel from the entire tour that you will take, however there are countless sites and life experiences to be had on this journey. 

The Inca or Salkantay trail are not for the faint of heart as you will be walking for up to eight hours on some days and also traversing thousands of feet in altitude. Some advanced training is recommended for this rigorous course. 

Since each of the treks can take 4 or 5 days respectively, you must allot a full week prior or after your Spanish program in order to fit in the trails along with travel time. Additional nights at school sanctioned can be arranged upon request and based on availability. 

View a full listing of options and what your package would include at our Inca Trails Page. I can't wait to cross this one off my bucket list. 

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Due Diligence on Discount Flights

Photo by O. Palsson
As with anything in life, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. This can be the case when you see a flight for just $15. This should raise some major red flags as airlines cannot stay in business by just giving away plane tickets to all customers at these rates. What these airlines are banking on is that you as a consumer did not read the fine print and see all the additional fees that can be incurred for the simplest tasks. 

The more obvious one that is apparent for most airlines nowadays is the baggage fee. For some it is just checked baggage, while others are hitting people up for carry on luggage or for checking carry on luggage once it is deemed to be too large. Some not so obvious fees include booking tickets by phone or at the airport rather than online. It is also not uncommon for some deep discount flights to charge you for the seat that you will be sitting in. I thought that was the point of purchasing a ticket in the first place. I guess there is always the wing!

Other key areas to be wary of are where you are supposed to check in. In some cases if you check in at the airport rather than printing your boarding passes in advance, you could be hit with a fee. You may also find some of these border line tactics such as charging fees for using a credit card, seat selection, or priority boarding. You also have to always figure in tax as Uncle Sam will want his take on the action. This can include regional airport fees, safety fees, and many other taxes that you may have never heard of depending on where the airport is located. 

When is all is said and done you may have saved a buck or two, but don't expect your love at first site to last when everything starts adding up. Another key aspect to consider is your final destination. Some discount fliers will drop you off at an out of the way Airport as opposed to the main city airport, that is closer to the city center or simply more convenient. These airports tend to charge less to the carrier to utilize their services, but your taxi fee to get to your final destination may just eat up those wee bit of savings that you have left. 

It is obvious that many of these airlines are major legitimate business and their practices in regards to pricing may be suspect. However, it is always important to consider all the associated costs before giving your credit card information. It doesn't hurt to give them a call to verify all fees. However, that may end up costing a fee!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mayan Animal Spirit Guides: Nahuales - Mexico and Central American Culture


I was asked yesterday if I knew anything about Nahuales. The last time I heard anything like it I was 8 years old, so I was puzzled because my recollection of Nahuales in my native Oaxaca, Mexico was not a positive one. I think my grandmother used to enjoy scaring me to death just before I went to sleep as most grandmothers do, right? She used to say I should be careful with the Nahuales because some are good and some are evil. 


It is believed in the Mexican tradition that everyone is born with a spirit of an animal (Nahual) who is responsible for protecting and guiding us. The Nahual manifests in dreams to his/her protege when advice is needed and it takes the shape of a specific animal. It is also believed that witches and shamans have a closer bond with their Nahual, so they gain certain advantages over everyone else and sometimes they "may" change into the form of the animal.


Shaman Purification Ceremony in Mexico City Zocalo
Photo by Herbert Spencer
During colonial times it was said that nahuales were evil beings that transformed at night (usually a dog or wolf) and would enter houses and attack people, especially children, to gain strength. I guess sort of like the werewolf.  However, there are others who say that Nahuales are good because they help the communities due to their close contact to the spiritual world. An example are the Shamans who help people solve their problems.

The more I read, the more I found out about Nahuales and the different takes on them. For example in the Mayan religion Nahuales are birth signs and everyone has three main signs along with six minor ones which carry less influence  for a total of 9 nahuales . Nahuales are more than just a horoscope because they describe in detail the strengths and weaknesses of a person, and as such  they must be kept secret to ensure no one is misusing the information for evil purposes. The main  goal  of Nahuales, from what I understood, is to help everyone find as much personal information (positive and negative) about oneself to help the individual reach self-realization, self-actualization and equilibrium in life. Wow, sounds like a visit to the Mayan priest  might be a better than psychotherapy.

Guess I will be visiting a shaman next time I head down to my native Mexico but in the meantime, I found this website regarding Nahuales. If you would like to find more about your Animal Spirit Guide, check out the Maya Portal. I would like to think my Nahual is a limber speedy deer, while others might think I have a monkey guiding me. 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Could Spain Change?

Photo by Jeff Edoe
The big question and target of this post is geared toward Spain's economy and what it could mean for the Spanish populace as well as Spanish students travelling to this amazing country. With high unemployment, crashing real estate market, and a surge in cost of living since the Euro switch, it is interesting to consider the implications that these aspects have on the country as a whole. 

One factor that is brought up in the news is the possibility of an aging of the populace. Without a job to be had for graduating college students, Spanish youth are forced to seek employment elsewhere. This is a simple solution with the European unification and ease of travel to other countries in the "neighborhood", however these other countries have their own employment problems or simply fill their needs with the local populace. This leaves the only option to travel to Asia or other far flung areas away from home to make a living. Spain certainly has a historic culture and it may simply get more ancient rather than innovative. 

With a stagnant real estate market and ghost towns created from unfulfilled housing investment schemes since the downturn, pricing for vacation homes and rentals are at great lows. This is a great thing for travelers who need affordable housing while they explore this wonderful country. I am sure it is not so great for that investor that now pays on a debt that doesn't quite equal the income created from said rentals. Many of this speculation came from foreigners so it may not effect the people as a whole, but the overall decrease in property values certainly effects the morale and pocket books of the economy as a whole. 

With tightened regional budgets since the downturn, socialized services such as healthcare are taking a hit. The cut in budgets for hospitals and other health related facilities can certainly effect the general well being of the local citizens. While students may not suffer from this aspect due to travelers insurance or low relative costs when compared to their home countries, we can see this hampering the psychology of well being. Obviously, no one wants to get sick or become injured in an accident, however if you do, you want to know that you will be taken care of, especially if you are a tax paying citizen that expects these entitlements. 

One of the most important aspects for travelers and nationals as well is the art and cultural scene of Spain. We have all come to expect low cost entrance fees for Museums, Historic sites, and Performing Arts while in Spain. This could all change as cultural and tourism agencies are possibly hindered from chopped budgets or other agencies feeding of their funds. Lets hope such a thing does not happen, but it is one thing to consider when politicians look for ways to make ends meet. 

In the end Spain is an enchanting country that everyone should see. The multiple cultures, languages, and breadth culture is enough to see in multiple life times. Learning Spanish in Spain is very unique as you can see the differences with the typical Latin American Spanish spoken in through the US in many forms. It is also where Spanish all began as Castellano, so you are experiencing a dialect that is thousands of years old and has developed over time to one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Viva EspaƱa!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Overview of our Santo Domingo Spanish Program

The Dominican Republic offers a culturally and historically rich experience on the island of Hispaniola. As the first site for the landing of Cristobal Colon (Columbus), Santo Domingo celebrates the first European discovery of the "New World" with a museum for the explorer with his namesake. The city also offers close proximity to beautiful beaches and enchanting locals that make practicing your Spanish skills very fun.

Our Spanish school is located in the center of Santo Domingo and offers all of our standard program options including group or private instruction, host family accommodations with meals, activities, and excursions. We have provided an overview for this program below.

Utilize the tools at the bottom of the overview for easy zoom features or to alter the size of the document. If you have any questions about our Dominican Republic program, feel free to call us at 1-888-722-7623 during business hours. 

Spanish Abroad Immersion School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Volunteer While Learning Spanish Abroad

Many of our students want to give a helping hand while they are not taking classes. We are very particular about the locations that we offer volunteer programs as we want our students' expectations to be met when they choose a Spanish and Volunteer option. 

Our top choices for this arrangement are in Oaxaca, Mexico; Antigua, Guatemala; and Cusco, Peru. The typical placement fee for adding a volunteer project to your Spanish immersion program is an additional $60-$100 for your entire stay. This fee goes to the school and project to cover administrative costs and donations to help out with materials and other associated costs with running the project. The volunteer options typically including helping out with underprivileged children or the elderly. Such activities include teaching English, sports or game organization, reading, or just general socializing. 

We often get the question if students can volunteer in exchange for courses or why do I have to pay to volunteer? These are valid questions, but we simply offer these options as a supplement to the standard program, so that you can help out and have an enriching experience, helping out the local community. The ability to practice your Spanish in an everyday setting is also an additional benefit that you will not be able to gain in an alternative setting. 

The volunteer program typically requires that you study Spanish for at least two weeks before helping out in a local orphanage, school, elderly home or other organization. This gives the instructors an idea as to your language abilities. Most volunteer projects require a 2-4 week commitment. If you are interested in volunteering while studying in Oaxaca, Antigua, or Cusco, simply make note at the time of registration and let us know the type of volunteering in which you would like to participate. We try to make it a simple process for our students. 

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learning Culture First Hand - Guatemala

Until you have lived amongst a group of people with a set of cultural norms and practices, it can be quite difficult to understand the intricacies of their daily lives. Why people react and live in a certain fashion can be based on historical influences or even a catastrophic events that altered their way of thinking enough to change them entirely.  

A Spanish immersion experience abroad can give you a first hand look into the local culture, especially if you are living with a family and experiencing their daily events. They may not be too different from your own. However, small differences quickly reveal themselves. Something as mundane as a chicken running around in the yard or stray dogs running rampant in the town may bring you out of your comfort level. It can also be a big shock when you try to turn on the little contraption that heats the water coming out of a shower head, only to give up in defeat to a cold shower. 

Such aspects looking back are quite silly to me considering all my travels, but these are some of the things that stood out for me when I first ventured to Latin America and visited the beautiful country of Guatemala. It has been years, but the two weeks I spent in the country changed my outlook on how big this world is. I have people ask me all the time when advising students if Guatemala is safe or "Isn't that a third world country", and I gleefully say yes to both questions. Then I explain why third world perceptions are not a reason to avoid visiting a location. 

We send many students to Antigua, Guatemala each yearm as you can't beat $210 per week for Private instruction and Host family accommodation with three meals per day. I also like to point out that the only safety incident we had was a high school chaperon that had is expensive camera stolen from him by three bullies on bikes, when he was in a sparse part of Antigua. However the 50 high school kids that were with him and running rampant around Antigua fared better. I bet that just as I have, they learned things that they will take with them the rest of their lives.

For more testimonials and images from Guatemala, check out a fellow blogger's experience as he travelled through Guatemala and the Southern Mexico State of Chiapas, which also has improved in safety over the years. Though some border areas may be very touchy. You can see his exploits at Cafe Sin Leche
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Celebration Jalisco Style

Our Spanish school in Guadalajara is offering a $50 discount off our already low prices on any program that is 4 weeks or longer. We thought we would celebrate this great savings with a great video showing quick shots of the major sites of Guadalajara, and the surrounding state of Jalisco. 

The video also features the song Ay, Jalisco No Te Rajes sung by the great Placido Domingo. This is a Mariachi favorite, so be sure to request it when you are eating some tasty Mexican food in Guadalajara! Just register by Cinco de Mayo and put "Jalisco" next to your first name or mention this promotion if registering by phone. 



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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Learn Spanish in Buenos Aires

Our Spanish language school in Buenos Aires, Argentina provided us with their top choices for choosing their home city to study and learn Spanish. Have a gander at the many aspects you can experience and see if it is the right city for you!

1. Food: Where is the Beef? There is plenty in Buenos Aires and it is very affordable. You can enjoy a filet mignon (bife de lomo) for less than $10. The grilled meat is brought in from the countryside where the cattle are grass fed. They also have amazing ice cream among other specialties from a multi-cultural city.

2. Public Transportation: You can buy a tiny guide called the Guia-T that holds bus and train routes to travel around the city. Transportation is cheap as most locals rely on it rather than personal cars. Taxis are also much more affordable than many major cities of the world. 

3. Low Living Costs: Domestic products are extremely cheap and are typically at least half the cost of the same product found in the United States. You definitely won't be paying $1 for a tomato, in fact you can purchase a lot of fresh veggies for close to the cost of the dirt in which they grew. 

4. Fairs (Ferias): There are many different weekend festivities around the city. Different neighborhoods have their own markets with live musicians, games, and street performers. You can also get some yummy street foods.

5. Tango: Dance clubs (Milongas) and tango performances are some of the highest expressions of Argentine culture. There are many dance studios around the city that can provide you with instruction at all levels of proficiency. You can also cover the intricacies of the history and how the famous dance style was developed. 

6. Shops: In a city with over 12 Million people and many different cultures from all over the world, you can get your hands on just about any item you can think of. There are a variety of stores for clothing, jewelry, antiques, accessories, and did I mention food. 

7. Nightlife: With over 30 thousand people per square mile in a bustling city, you have to find time to let your hair down and  relax. Part of that means getting out there and enjoying the variety of cafes, bars, restaurants, and dance clubs that dot this massive city. Near the University neighborhood of Palermo, you can find some of the most lively nightclubs.  There are a variety of options for those that want to spend very little or a go all out. 

8. Hub: As the capital of Argentina and the 2nd largest city in South America, you can catch connections to all over the Continent, and the world for that matter. There are also very affordable bus services to all over the country and a ferry to Uruguay for a quick adventure to an entirely different country. 



9. Futbol: Argentina is known to have one of the world's best soccer teams with players such as Maradona gracing the annals of history. Buenos Aires has ferocious fans who love their teams, whether it be the Boco Juniors or River Plate. Having the chance to attend one of these matches is reason enough to visit the city. 

10. Locals: Portenos as the people for Buenos Aires are known are very friendly. You can find many different cultures as with any cosmopolitan city whose ancestry came from all different corners of the globe. Having the opportunity to explore the city with someone that has lived in Buenos Aires their entire life is an entirely different experience, They can point out different nooks and crannies that you wouldn't have even thought were there. Tours of different neighborhoods are a popular activity offered by the school. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lima Spanish School: Islas Palomino Excursion

Here are some great photos from Lima, Peru. These students and staff are heading out to Islas Palomino after some extensive immersion classes at our Spanish school in Lima. This is just one of the fun activities that you can participate in while studying abroad in Peru. Depending on the time of year, you have access to trekking, hot springs, surfing, and much more!

You can start classes in Lima on any Monday of the year with a Sunday arrival to start your accommodations with a host family or shared apartment. We also just recently added a Surf program for $90 per week which includes 3 hours of instruction, surf board, and wet suit. Just request this additional program at the time of registration. 

Waiting for the Boat to Arrive
View of Lima from Boat

Macho Men Ride Boats


Swimming Near Island Full of Sea Lions
All Done. Nap Time. 
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Culture in the News: Adultery Mexican Style


Photo by Libby Rosof
Funny, I never knew adultery was illegal in Mexico but this week Congress voted to make adultery legal.  I read several articles regarding the reasons for such a decision. Some say Congress wanted to decriminalize adultery because the law discriminated against women while others say the law had not been enforced since 2004.

When I was living in Mexico, I never knew adultery to be illegal. In fact, I remember that in my neighborhood it was normal for a husband to take a second wife and if he was “bien macho” maybe he would add a girlfriend. Wives and second wives knew each other but never talked to one another. 

A good example was my neighbor, Leonor, who never said anything about her husband's second wife. However her children were very curious about the step-siblings. Unfortunately, the second wife was never seen at various family gatherings, and the children had no right to meet the grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. Everyone involved knew about the situation but no one talked about it. As a child, I always wondered why Leonor never left the cheating husband.

I am not sure how the change in the law is going to help women in Mexico. To be frank, the law did not make any sense because it placed undue burdens upon the women, while letting the men do what they had always done. I guess time will tell. Perhaps women will take up second husbands.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Mexico Savings in Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta

Photo by Bryon Howes
Two of our great Spanish language schools in Mexico are offering reduced costs for the month of April and May.  You simply need to attend the program during these months and you will receive a $50 discount for 2 weeks and longer or $100 discount for 4 weeks or longer  at our Option #1 school in Oaxaca, and Option #2 School in Puerto Vallarta. 

These are two amazing locations this time of year and offer great examples of the rich culture that Mexico is known for. Oaxaca is known for its indigenous roots and amazing food. Mexico is known the world over for it fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors. Oaxaca is known by many to have the best recipes in the country. 

The Oaxacan market is definitely a must see with its intense sights and smells. You can see dozens of types of chiles and types of produce that you would definitely not find back home. It is the Capital of the State with the same name, so it does have a substantial population and lively city life, but it is definitely more low key than what you would find with Mexico City or Guadalajara. 

Puerto Vallarta is our largest beach city, so you can receive a great immersion experience by getting away from the tourist zones. There are several beach in the vicinity and a very easy to navigate public transportation system. You also have very modern amenities such as shopping malls and large supermarkets. 

Strolling along the Malecon (boardwalk) is a great experience with street performers and random art pieces. There is a fairly cosmopolitan restaurant scene with Parisian Style Bistros close to authentic Mexican seafood restaurants. There are also many fun activities including trips to the nearby jungle and boat tours. 

Either way you go with Oaxaca or Puerto Vallarta, you can have a great experience with highly qualify schools that have been established for several years. We know that the onsite staff will provide you with an intense Spanish immersion program. Plus you will now save a little cash and have great weather if you choose to study in April or May. 

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