One of our host siblings put together this fabulous video of her experience with a Spanish exchange student the summer of 2015. Long lasting friendships were made and new experiences took place. Looking forward to Summer of 2017 when Spanish students again go to Connecticut, USA and then Americans go spend 2 weeks on the coast of Spain. Looking forward to the new adventures!
Two years ago, Go Inspired started a program in Bethel, Connecticut. The goal was to begin an exchange program between Spain and Bethel, CT teenagers. The first year, there were 24 Spanish students from Castellon and Madrid, Spain enjoying the summer in Connecticut living with Bethel host families.
In the summer of 2015, one of the Bethel host brothers traveled to Benicasim, Spain to stay 3 weeks with the Spanish student he hosted. We had a chance to talk to Alex about his experience abroad.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alex Staib, I am from Bethel, Connecticut in the United States. I am currently 16 years old and I enjoy playing sports and traveling.
Why did you go to Spain this summer (and for how long)?
I went to Spain this summer to see my exchange brother, Edu. I went for three weeks during the months July and August.
Describe the place you went to.
I went to a beach town called Benicassim. It was very nice, as the beach was walking distance and easily accessible. Also the atmosphere in the town was very relaxed and easy going.
How was your experience overall?
The three weeks I spent in Spain were the best weeks of my life. I had such an amazing time and I can not even begin to describe how much fun my stay was.
What were some of the cultural shocks/surprises you experienced?
Some cultural shocks that I experienced was that everything was in walking distance. This was a big surprise to me because in America if you don’t live in a city then you need to drive everywhere. Also another big shock to me was how easy going the parents were. In Spain we got to go to parties and go back home the next morning. In America we have nothing like this because we have to be home by 12 or 1 in the morning. However, the biggest cultural shock to me was how nice the Spanish people were. The Spanish people were so nice and there was no rush to go any were which really amazed me. For example, when I was going back home I had to take a bus to get to the airplane and on the bus an American said “I think the bus is full. Let’s go.” This showed me how much of a rush the American people are in.
How would you describe the teenagers from Spain?
The teenagers from Spain were amazingly nice and very intrigued into what the American life was like. I got a lot of questions regarding my life in America. Also, I made over 30 friends that I truly miss and can not wait to see again.
What are the teenagers’ lives like in Spain in the summer compared to the US?
The teenagers lives are very active in Spain. I say this because you see your friends every day and hangout with them every day. This can be going to the beach, grabbing dinner, swimming, or just hanging out. The Spanish teenagers stay out a lot later than the American teenagers do. In America we do not hang out with our friends every day because we would have to drive there and sometimes they can live very far away.
Did your level of Spanish improve? Did you learn a lot of new expressions? Could you understand them when they spoke?
Yes, my Spanish improved vastly. I got to listen and comprehend Spanish for three weeks which really helped my auditory skills for Spanish. Also I spoke a lot of Spanish so, I got more comfortable with speaking Spanish. One thing I did not know improved until I went back to school was how much my pronunciation of Spanish words improved. I now speak a lot more fluently than I did before. Yes I learned a lot of new Spanish sayings and some that aren’t appropriate. At first I couldn’t understand them a lot of the times, but as my stay continued I understood the Spanish a lot more.
Why do you think it is important to travel?
I think traveling opens up so many opportunities for you and you get so many experiences and life lessons out of traveling. For example because I traveled to Spain this summer I now have like my own Spanish family which I would never have had before. You get so many experiences and stories out of traveling as well, you get to experience the culture, food, people. You also get life lessons like how to better yourself and you also learn what you are capable of. I think everyone should travel and I know now after this trip I want to travel the world and not be a normal 9-5 job in America, because that’s just so normal.
What were some of the activities you did while there?
Some activities I did in Spain were going to the beach, swimming, walking, hanging out, playing tennis, playing soccer, playing beach games, and partying.
What food did you enjoy?
The food in Spain was amazing like so much better than the food in America. Everything I ate tasted so rich, fresh, healthy. I loved eggs with potatoes, and ham.
Anything you didn’t enjoy about your experience?
I have to be completely honest, there was nothing I didn’t enjoy. I wish I knew Spanish better, but besides that and my ear infection everything was perfect. Even with my ear infection, and not being able to sleep for two weeks I loved everything.
Do you have any plans to study abroad in the future?
Yes, I will study abroad in Spain in the future. I loved everything about Spain and who knows maybe one day I will be living there. This trip opened up my eyes to how much I love traveling and I found what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Does this change your perspective on the US/Spain?
My perspective was greatly changed. I now am a changed person due to my trip. I now have a more positive outlook on things in life. I also believe Edu coming to Bethel and me going to the Spain was just meant to happen.
Did you have any embarrassing moments related to the culture?
I would have to say no, but I probably asked a few silly questions during my time there.
Would you recommend this experience to other teenagers? Why or why not?
I would recommend this experience to other teenagers in a heartbeat. I feel that not only should you host a foreign exchange student, but you should also go their country as well. I say this because you will learn so much about yourself and what your limits are. I conquered a lot of my fears during this trip and now I am a better person for it.
Thanks, Alex for being so candid about your experience. We wish you luck in the future and we are thrilled that you got to go to Spain and learn about the Spanish culture first-hand!
¡Día de la Independencia! Hoy todos han pasado el día con su familia y han aprendido como celebran los americanos esta fiesta tan especial para ellos.
Independence Day! Today everybody spent the day with their host family and learnt how this holiday is celebrated here in America.
Diversión asegurada para Javi y Diego. No han parado en todo el día haciendo actividades con los Bornn, la familia de Javi.
Más relajado está Marino, acompañado del fuego y los famosos marshmallows.
Gabriel también ha pasado gran parte del día comiendo:
No como Cristina, que ha estado un poco más activa hoy que algunos de nosotros.
También tenemos fotos de Carmen y Arantxa. Solamente mirando las fotos ya sabemos si están bien o no. Que envidia, ¿no?
Para acabar hoy, les dejo con las fotos que me llegan de Hermosilla y Kike, que han pasado el día juntos.
This is all for today! See you tomorrow!!
Have you ever wanted to escape to a Greek island surrounded by unspoiled nature? From June 29-July 3, 2015, we are offering our Yoga and Sacred Dance retreat. This Yoga and Sacred Dance retreat will focus on re-balancing energy and repairing problems within our bodies while going in search of the sacred. Sacred dances, meditation and dervish yoga coming from India and Tibet as well as other places, will be practiced and learned. It is a chance to treat yourself by focusing on stimulating and harmonizing all the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual resources. This will allow you to be more at peace, more creative, and more joyful in their daily lives.
In the afternoons, the group will discover the island with its small villages, waterfalls, springs and beaches.
Join us in Samothrace/Samothraki, Greece! An enchanting experience awaits you.
Group Discounts available.
Last year, 24 Spanish students ages 12-17 spent the summer in a small town in Connecticut. They had the chance to live with host families who took extra good care of them throughout their stay. They traveled as a group to New York City and Boston and took part in many activities with local kids. We are looking forward to meeting the 2015 group this summer.
Green grass, rolling hills, black taxis, medieval castles, Dublin and full immersion in English (as well as so much more) awaits the students who joins us in Ireland for a month this summer!
The dates for the trip to Ireland will be June 28-July 22, 2015 if leaving from Boston. If leaving from Spain or another country in Europe, the date will be June 29th.
This is a unique opportunity for students who are studying English. It is a trip around Ireland with a group of American students ages 14-18, visiting the spectacular sights, learning about Irish culture and enjoying the amazing things only Ireland has to offer.
For more information, please check out Summer trip to Ireland
Is your child learning Chinese? Do they want to really speak the language? The best way for your child to improve his/her language skills is through immersion! Go Inspired has teamed up with Capital Mandarin and is offering a fabulous trip to China this summer for students.
Our Summer Trip to China to Learn Chinese is for students from ages 12+. It is a fully-chaperoned group taking students to China from New York, United States, from Zurich, Switzerland and Valencia, Spain for 3-4 weeks during July and August so students have a chance to learn Chinese in China in the summer.
We believe that language study is greatly enhanced by an understanding of the culture in which the language is spoken—this is what sets Capital Mandarin apart from other Chinese language schools.
Beginner to advanced students welcome! Students participating in our Summer Trip to China to Learn Chinese will have 15 language lessons a week, each lesson 50 minutes with no more than 8 students in a class. There will be afternoon activities as well as 3 excursions per week focusing on Chinese culture. The focus of this course is to provide an immersion experience for each participant. They will have an opportunity to explore and discover the exciting city of Beijing and all it has to offer as well as meet students from around the world. There will be free time and many group activities outside the classroom.
The dates for this summer are: June 27-July 25 & July 25-Aug 22, 2015 so you choose what is convenient for you.
See one of our students Fernando Garcia this past summer in China.
For more information, please check out our website Summer in China
Week two started with a tour and tactile experience behind the scenes at one of fashions best artisans. We were able to see the many patterns and materials that go in to creating woven goods for the fashion industry, what a great way to inspire textile use in Interior Design!!! After a morning of looking at the samples he creates for clients we were able to tour his design work shop and his factory work shop and see how an idea from a design label becomes a reality in Andrea’s studio.
So interesting to see the artist process!
Rain was not our friend for travel, but the group persevered and made it to the furniture icon showroom of Self Habitat where we were able to sit in some of the most renowned chairs in modern design history. Learning about Italian designers and the process from which they get their inspiration to how they create the end product and all the considerations was an eye opening experience for all.
The week was not all field trips as studio time is needed to get the final projects done! So a few days of creating and workin through their own artist process was accompanied by a visit and lecture from Fabio Leoncini, the architect for Ferragamo. Fabio showed his international works to the group and talked with them about the ideas and concepts of Ferragamo and what he has to produce for them. Fabio walked the group through the drawings that he did for the latest instillation at the Museo Ferragamo and explained the level of details, down to the exact shoe that he had to provide for his high end employer!
As week two wraps up the group is well on their way to creating amazing attempts at interpreting Equilibrium inspired by Museo Ferragamo.
Some even had a chance to go to the Ballet while in Florence!
Go Inspired. Go Inspired is a cultural exchange company that looks for unique, creative opportunities to explore the world. firstname.lastname@example.org
Go Inspired LLC
Go Inspired LLC
Go Inspired USA
11 Van Campen Ln Bethel, Connecticut 06801 USA
Phone: +1 (203) 826 0411
Phone: +1 (203) 826 0411
Go Inspired Spain
Calle Lucena N°8 Castellón 12002 Spain
Phone: +34 627 094 709
Phone: +34 627 094 709
Broaden your horizons with Go Inspired’s unique travel programs.