domingo, 28 de abril de 2013

Why do they love exchanges?

In the following two videos, both American and Basque students talk about some of their most outstanding and memorable moments in Scituate and Getxo.
In the first one, Joseba interviews Mike:

Anna interviews Laura and Molly interviews Leire during the 
Farewell Party.

viernes, 26 de abril de 2013

Students' Opinion about the Exchange

In the following days ourenglishprojects will provide the readers with some videos where both American and Basque students will give their opinions about the current exchange.

lunes, 22 de abril de 2013

Last Words, by Mrs. Virginia Lima

Last Words, by Mrs. Virginia Lima

Try to imagine 700 teenagers traveling back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean to open their eyes to another world. For 28 years Scituate and Getxo have enjoyed a cultural exchange unlike any other. Our two high schools have transformed the lives of countless people as we have shared our homes for four amazing weeks. All of our lessons, excursions, meals and adventures have created a memorable experience to be cherished.
All of us from Getxo and Scituate are similar in many ways. Our connection to the sea and our unique historical place make us all feel proud. We are happy to call Bilbao and Boston "home" as well. Our distinct cultural curiosities enliven our fascination with each other and the world beyond. Any differences we notice only make our friendships stronger. Now we are left with everlasting memories and real possibilities to see each other again!

Life at the Weekends

It may seem that our American friends spend all their time in cultural activities. That's not completely true. There are lots of things we have not written about. They have had and enjoyed another amazing life with their counter partners after the official activities. They have lived their free time in the things and places they love (beach, shopping, discos, sports...). They have even had new experiences (surfing, rafting...) with their Basque friends and their families. But those are the personal things they will share with their parents and friends when they get back home.

Last Saturday they went surfing. Lucas Rincón, our American Language Assitant at J.C.Baroja High School, was there teaching them how to surf.  They enjoyed time and sea and had a great time together.

domingo, 21 de abril de 2013

Fine Arts Museum and Boat Trip along the Ría del Nervión, by Lizzy Tedeschi


Fine Arts Museum and Boat Trip, by Lizzy Tedeschi

Yesterday marked the twelfth day of our adventures in Spain, and as always we ended up with memories that are sure to last a lifetime. We began the day by observing a class at Julio Caro Baroja, the high school that the majority of our Spanish friends attend. After an hour or so, we were off to "el Museo deBellas Artes," or the Fine Arts Museum.  

With the help of a Spanish-speaking guide we learned about a wide variety of art, from sculptures to oil paints, including the history behind their existence and the person that created them. 


From there, we began the ten minute walk to  the boat that took us for a ride around Bilbao. In addition to being a great way to spend tome with friends and chaperones, we were presented with a plethora of historical knowledge about famous landmarks as we drifted lazily by. 


After that, we were given a few hours of free time during which we explored one of the main streets of Bilbao, La Gran Via.

Edificio del BBVA situado en la plaza de España de Bilbao (Vizcaya) 

Between  the shopping, sightseeing, and cafés con leche, we were definitely happy campers. As our time together came to a close, we headed back to the meeting spot where we took the metro back to our Spanish friends. After a long day we were excited for "la cena," or dinner, with our host families.

viernes, 19 de abril de 2013

A Day in San Sebastian and San Juan de Luz, by Hanna Roy

A Day in San Sebastian and France, by Hanna Roy

Today was a pasaporte day because we were off to France in the small town of San Juan de Luz! I'm sure if the weather wasn't rainy and cloudy the town would have been very beautiful! Lots of people bought baguettes and croissants that were absolutely delicious! The town consisted of many quaint little streets filled with boutiques that had very nice shop owners, some of whom even spoke English!

As the rain continued to fall, we hopped back into the bus and across the border to visit Ondarreta, a beach in San Sebastián. 

It was wicked gorgeous! Even though it was raining and darkout, the beach was amazingly pretty with two big islands across the way. At the end of a long walk we saw three cool iron statues, called El peine de los vientos by Eduardo Chillida, that were spread out on a cliff overlooking the water.
 In my opinion, the rain and rough waters made them look even better!
Our final stop before returning back to Getxo was the city of San Sebastián that was right on the water. When we arrived it was still raining so all anyone wanted to do was find a cafe and have a nice cafe con leche! There were many shops along the main street, and at the end there was an outdoor concert that I could not understand because it was all in Euskera. However, at the edge of the town there was a very pretty beach in front of a long street, and at the end of that street was a beautiful church.

Personally, my favorite part of today was the bus ride. I love looking out the window at the luscious greenery that surrounds the small towns by the highway. The mountains are ginormous and absolutely tower over everything. They are especially cool when the low clouds cover then so that you can't see their peaks, and they appear as mysterious figures in the distance. I have taken many photos over the course of this trip, but not so much of the mountains because I feel their majestic qualities are too great to be seen on film. Definately something to be seen with your own eyes when they are right in front of you in person. These are something Scituate certainly does not have, along with many other things we have come across on this adventure!

jueves, 18 de abril de 2013

Town Hall and Guggenheim Museum, by Andrew Fiddler and Carter Kupchella

Andrew Fiddler and Carter Kupchella

The day began with a long metro ride into the city of Bilbao. We got off the train at Abando and took a short walk over to the City Hall of Bilbao. We entered the building and began our short tour. The first thing we got to see was the Coat of Arms hanging at the top of the stairs. There was one for the City of Bilbo, one for the Mechants Guild and one for the House of Austria. These coats of arms were moved here from the old city hall buildings. We then walked up the stairs to see the Arabic Hall. This hall was built with an Arabic style, similar to halls built in southern Spain. After taking a look outside from the balcony, we continued to walk through he halls and see paintings of former mayors. We then saw the mayor´s office. Finally, and most importantly, we saw the Plenary hall.

After our trip to the city hall, we walked along the River of Bilbao until we could see the Guggenheim Museum. Along the walk we had to guess what the museum looked like. Most guesses were way off, until we actually saw the museum. Everyone knew right away that it looked like a boat on the river. 
We walked around front to see the giant puppy statue. We all took pictures around the puppy and had the opportunity to walk around for lunch. After lunch, we all entered the museum and saw many pieces of art. I think the most interesting part was all of the optical illusions on the first floor. They all made us feel like we were walking around in circles for a long time, when we really only moved about five feet. After this, we continued to walk around the museum until we were ready to leave. We took the metro home and arrived to an amazing lunch.

Andrew Fiddler

Yesterday, (Wednesday) our day trip was to the Ayuntamiento, or town hall, of Bilbao, and to the Guggenheim museum.  The difference between the Ayuntamiento of Bilbao, and the Diputación of Bilbao that we saw earlier in the week, and which is also a kind of town hall, is that the ayuntamiento is specifically to govern over the city of Bilbao, as opposed to the entire province.  The building itself was very beautiful, with enormous marble staircases, bronze chandeliers, and stained glass on the inside, and tons of intricate architecture on the outside.  After a brief tour of the building, we walked up the street to see a panoramic view of the Guggenheim from across the river.  
The building itself is a huge structure of titanium, steel, and glass that is made to mimic the shape of a ship.  Since it was about noon, we dispersed for a quick lunch, and then met by the ¨puppy¨,a giant flowered statue of a dog, for our tour.

I personally very much appreciated the architecture and design of the building itself, but the modern art inside didn't really do it for me: some I found interesting, but in general I much prefer a museum of fine arts like we will see on Friday over the type of art we saw in the Guggenheim, but that is just my opinion.  After our successful excursion, and a very hot day besides, we all piled immediately onto the air conditioned bus and journeyed back to our homes, and to the beaches, in Getxo.

Carter Kupchella

miércoles, 17 de abril de 2013

A visit to Gernika, by Marie MacCune

A visit to Gernika, by Marie MacCune

Today we, among other adventures, climbed  308 steps up a mountain in the Basque countryside. 


At the Santimamine archeological site, we trekked our way up the path in order to see one of the most well preserved homes of our own species from the Paleolithic era. Before seeing the caves for ourselves, we experienced a virtual tour. With the help of amplified recordings and 3D glasses,we were able to see the very cave paintings that have provided anthropologists with clues into not just the beginnings of the Basque people, but of our civilization as a whole. 

We also visited the beach town of Mundaka. The sleepy atmosphere and sunny beaches made for an incredible place to stop and eat lunch.  

The cliffs and waves were like nothing we have back home. Soon there after, we traveled to the town of Guernica. There we spent time at the Assembly House and the Museum of Peace. We visited the Tree of Guernica, a symbol of strength for the Biscay region. 

At the Museum of Peace we learned about the horrific bombings that took place at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.  The stories hit close to home as our minds wandered to family and friends in Boston.

It was a great reminder of the incredible safety and good fortune we've experienced while in Spain. After today, we were  all a little bit prouder of ourselves and of our Basque counterparts, and  of what this exchange promotes: discovery, communication, and understanding. Bringing together two cultures that have an entire ocean between them.

martes, 16 de abril de 2013

A Day in Bilbao, by Ben Garman

Monday April 15: A Day in Bilbao
Greetings from Bilbao everyone! No, I mean literally greetings from Bilbao because the Spanish exchange group visited there today. Altogether, the trip to Bilbao was very culturally enhancing, which was the main goal of the excursion I would imagine. So our daily experience goes as follows: after gathering at the school Julio Caro Baroja we caught the Metro at Algorta station (the station closest to the school) and headed out of Getxo. We got off the Metro Moyua station in Bilbao and saw the brand new library there with many different languages.

 Later we made our way to the Diputación; meaning the regional government building and had a tour of that fabulous building. We learned many fun facts about the building itself and the way government was run in Pais Vasco. For example the money from the Basque Country goes to Madrid each year but only a small amount because the Basque people would like to be as independent as possible from Madrid.We also learned that the representation for Vizcaya/Bizkaia which is part of the Basque country will always be shown as a lady. After this tour we had a short break in which most of us went to eat our lunches.
 After lunch we reconvened for the second of the tours this one being a two hour long tour of 
Old Bilbao on the other side of the river. This tour was in English so that we could understand more of what was being said and therefore get more out of the tour itself. We learned a lot about Old Bilbao such as the town's two main occupants were either fishermen or miners. The fisherman lived on one side of the river and the miners on the other.
 We also learned that Saint Nicholas is the saint of the Sailors which we all found interesting considering that we are the Scituate Sailors so it was something that we could relate to. 

After the tour and two hours of free time which most used to shop for gifts in Bilbao we headed back to Getxo via the Metro some of the group having to disembark at different stops depending on where their host families lived, but we all made it home safely which is the most important part.       

lunes, 15 de abril de 2013

Welcome Party, Saturday 13th

Welcome Parties have a special value. But if the weather is good, then it helps a lot. On this occasion  we had  lovely sunny spring weather. Parents, students and teachers prepared the party and we had a great group of Basque people who played and danced typical Basque music.
It was such a beautiful day that we were able to use the garden at school for the picnic.

domingo, 14 de abril de 2013

IES Julio Caro Baroja BHI and Town Hall

Today, 12th April 2013, our American friends have been welcome by the Principal of Julio Caro Baroja High school.
Then have been walking along the city as far as the Town Hall, where they have had an official reception.

sábado, 13 de abril de 2013

11th April, last day in Madrid

Not so early as in the previous days did we go to Museo Reina Sofía.
We took the underground to go from Gran Via to Atocha Renfe. We watched the modern station and saw the AVE, the fastest train in Spain (300 km per hour); then we visited the old station with its beautiful garden and lots of stands.
Once in Reina Sofía, we observed the different tendencies of modern Spanish paintings, but we especially spent our time watching "Gernika" by Piccaso, and other paintings by Miró, Dalí...

At 14:00 p.m. we took the coach to Burgos, the Spanish teacher's birth city, a very beautiful city on our way to Bilbao where, as everybody should know, there is one of the most beautiful cathedrals of Spain, if not the most.
And at 20:30 sharp, we arrived at IES Julio Caro Baroja, after watching Bilbao from the highway for the first time, where our Spanish/Basque families were impatiently waiting for us.

viernes, 12 de abril de 2013

Day 2 in Madrid, by Marisa Marshalka and Ariel Dickerman

Day 2 in  Madrid, 4/11/13,  
an extract of the Diary by  Marisa and Ariel.

"After a much needed 8 hour sleep, we awoke to eat a buffet style breakfast in the Tryp Hotel. Spanish breakfasts seem to be a lot more meat-based than carbohydrate-based like in the US. Our first  destination in the morning was the renowned Prado Museum. Everywhere we looked the architecture was breathtaking.Carlos, patiently, explained the history of democracy in Spain as we passed
El Congreso de los Diputados on our left.

Before entering El Prado, we took a group picture with the statue of one of our favourite Spanish artists, VelázquezIn El Prado, we had a lovely tour guide who explained to us the significance of a lot of famous works, such as Las Meninas. We learned about Velázquez last year in school. It was cool to see the real painting. It was much bigger than we imagined!

Just when we thought our feet could not hurt any more, we took a walk in a park. The gardens were so well pruned, without a leaf out of place. One of the highlights of the park were the trees that looked like broccoli.  

 As we reached the lake in the center of the park we decided to rent a row boat in the pound. The sky was cloudy, but the water was clear enough to see the enormous fish beneath the surface. Other Spaniards on row boats were really friendly.
Then, we took a two hour break for lunch.

Carlos claimed that every Spanish person is a little crazy, so we had to stop by the statue of their literary embodiment, Don Quixote.Wherever we go with Carlos, other tourists stop to listen to his stories. Our next stop was the Egyptian ruins, which were moved to Spain to preserve them from a flood. We didn´t expect to experience two distinct cultures  in one city.

One of the most culturally enriching experiences we have had thus far was a Flamenco spectacular we saw at night in Tablao Cardamomo.

 The loud music and stomping kept everyone on their toes. It looked like the dancers were in pain, but that is just part of the expression of the dance. As we headed back to the hotel, our instinctual caution was confirmed.

Our innocent group fled when they saw a car of masked thieves break into a building. Even though we saw something that made us question our safety, we feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to visit such a beautiful and historic city.

We want to thank Carlos for showing us all that we love about Madrid and staying patient with us along the way. Mrs. Lima, Mrs. Cuilla and Mr. Roberts made the day just as unforgettable.
It is so difficult to leave a city that we just got to know, but we are excited for our next adventure!"