Summer International Program

La Dolce Vita – The taste of the sweet life in Italy

I am ecstatic to be writing​ about, my wonderful SIP trip to Urbania Italy, with Centennial College and Centro Studi Italiani. From the beginning​ to the end, everyone you met was eager to welcome you into their homeland and into their lives. From the directors of the school to the staff, our homestay host, and the locals, we were constantly surrounded by Italian hospitality and warmth. This immersion​ into the culture, allowed no time to miss or develop homesickness. Urbania became home. We now have a new family with our hosts, and made new friends that will last a lifetime. Creating this close bond, was not easy. However, a goal of mine was to be more accepting of situations and become more outgoing. This allowed me to benefit fully from all the experiences in front of me. This trip truly encouraged me to develop communication skills, that are invaluable in today’s job society. I am grateful to have participated in this program. All of my expectations were shattered, and I came back to Centennial College with a sweeter outlook on our world. Grazie mille Centennial College e Centro Studi Italiani !

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6 Things I Dare You To Do While Studying Abroad

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My classmate and I are in class playing a board game to help us practice our Spanish.  We are holding our list of items we needed to get, such as 1 kg of jamón and 1.5 kg of azucar.

No entiendo is a Spanish phrase I often say when I do not understand what the other person is saying to me while I am here in Spain as part of Centennial’s SIPs.  It is also the same phrase I hear from the other person as well.  In Oviedo, where I am doing my SIPs, I gain more Spanish because the majority of the people you interact with are locals.  One day, my homestay mom wanted to accompany me to places to help with translation.  But I kindly refused and thinking I could do it on my own.  Well, after being laughed at numerous times, receiving all kinds of facial expression from the other person, and even one person stared at me blankly and walked away.  These are the kinds of reactions I received from the locals when we are not interacting with the same language, me with Spanglish, a word derived from English and Spanish, and the other person with Spanish.  But it is when you get out there to self improve on learning Spanish that these attitudes from people will result.  Its actually vale, okay in Spanish!  So, I hope to help you put your newly learn-ing language to functionality by daring you what I had dared myself to do.  I present to you 6 things I dare you to do while studying abroad in Oviedo.

  1. Sign up for a library card at the local library:  I am thankful that it is accessible to sign up for a library card in Oviedo, so I could borrow books to read on my break time at school and bus rides on school trips.  But, it was definitely a challenge when I tried this.  How will this help with your Spanish?  It will help you by giving the experience in signing forms and speaking…attempting Spanish.  There are common words that you can learn as well, such as nombre, apellidarse, and dirección: name, family name, and address.
  2. Ask 2o people in the first week of school, their name and where they are from..in Spanish:  ¿Como te llama? y ¿De donde eres? (You are asking for their name and the country they are from)  Encantado/a means nice to meet you. This will help you practice the basic introduction to others in Spanish and also making new friends 🙂
  3. Order tarrón helado:  I dare you to order something or this typical flavor known in Oviedo at the local ice cream shop. It is an almond ice cream and during the winter holiday, the tarrón fruit dessert is popular as a gift.  In general, I dare you to order food, because my first time ordering croissants, I ended up with 6 croissants and costing me more then what I intend.  The experience will help you practice numbers and ordering.  Such as when you enter the shop it is polite and typical to greet the people with buenas or hola, bueno días.  To order you could use me gusta… or necesito (I like and I need).
  4. Attend the festival de verano:  During the summer month, the province will have summer festivals.  In Oviedo, the festival of summer offers free concerts in historical monuments, and discounted tickets to theatrical performances.  I had the chance to attend several musicals.  So, how will this help you?   I had to find the location of the place, so I practice my Spanish by asking for directions.  You could use hola, señor/a, donde es.  As well as, everyone I heard when I was in line or seated were speaking Spanish.  That way, I am immersing myself in listening to Spanish.
  5. Watch television:  The local channels offers news, and local tv shows.  I found this helpful in learning Spanish because I start hearing repeated words and phrases, such as tambien, entonces, pero, and mañana. (also, so, but, and tomorrow).
  6. Wonder the streets:  I dare you to wonder the local streets, read the street names, names of shops, and listen on people’s conversations.  This will help you be acquainted to some words and activate your hearing and seeing cues.

!Hasta luego!

Sherry Ing

Massage Therapy student studying at the Universidad de Oviedo intensive Spanish classes as part of Centennial College’s SIPs this summer.

Categories: Spain - Language & Culture, Summer International Program, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rosy walls, Wedding Bells, Mountain Peaks, Cowbells, Vibrant Hues…Buen Días!

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I went on a school field trip to Picos de Europa, a national park in northern Spain.  There were never ending peaks of mountains and cows roaming the hills.

Its my third week studying Spanish at the University of Oviedo as part of Centennial College’s SIPs, and I just finished the weekend off with a school trip to Covadonga, Picos de Europa, and Congas de Onís.  These trips shows the history of Asturias according to my professor and locals.  Our first stop was the Congas de Onís, which had the Puente Romano.  It is a bridge built in the medieval times from the reign of Alfonso XI of Castille and Leon.  In the middle of the reconstructed bridge, hangs the Victoria Cross, that relates to the battle of Covadonga.  On our way to Picos de Europa, a national park in Northern coast of Spain, we had to stop for passing cows, that lived in these mountains.  The cow bells rang in the background, as I hiked up and down the paved path along these mountain peaks.  Beyond these inlands were lakes, Ercina and Enol, that glowed with a deep blue hues.  It was quite a magnificent view!  What I also saw and learn was that it was a site for mining.

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Lucky day for my school, we witnessed part of a wedding ceremony.  In the picture, you can see the four musicians, the bag pipe is a traditional instrument you will hear in Asturias.

Covadonga was our next location, and it has a history that relates to religions; Christianity and Muslim.  I am not verse in history, but before choosing the SIPs, I researched Oviedo, and found this part interesting.  On train and bus rides in Spain, each region and cities I pass by, I start noticing geographical, cultural and religious influences.  Another note, I had a chance to see the elegantly dressed guests of a wedding in the rosie wall, Basilica of Santa María la Real of Covadonga.  The traditional bag pipe was played.  According to my professor, it is custom for a Spanish wedding guests to gift about 150€ each when they do accept their invites.  I guest I will be sending my best wishes to any future Spanish weddings.

¡Hasta luego!

Sherry Ing, currently enjoying the Spanish course in Centennial College’s SIPs at the University of Oviedo this summer.

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Choose Homestay

TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE HOMESTAY

Its the second week that I am studying at the University of Oviedo intensive spanish course as part of Centennial College’s SIPs in Spain.  It is important to know the living choices when studying abroad, you have the option of staying in homestay or student resident, etc.  These living choices has some benefits and advantages when learning a new language.  Here is my top 5 reasons why you should choose homestay.

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5.FAMILIA.  

I get to live with a homestay family who is based in Oviedo.  They know the Catalan Romance language, and also Spanish. They know the city well and  I can ask many questions, such as locations of monuments, the hours of operation of stores, etc.

4.FOOD, FOOD, FOOD.  

Did I mention about food?  My homestay family makes what they usually eat here in Oviedo.  I get to live the way they do through their culinary.  Though my stomach protested in the first week to have some vegetables, I made progress to negotiate with my homestay that VERDE is a must for me. For dessert, I enjoy the fresh local cherries that they have here, its very delicious.  I have lunch very late in the afternoon, that I am not used to, which is around 2pm.  Negotiation with my homestay family is in process to have an earlier breakfast…so I can leave early to school because I still get lost on my way to school.

3. TURN DOWN THE VOLUME.  

When living in a homestay, I can focus more on my studies, so I can be one step closer to my goals of fluency in Spanish.  I do not have to worry about random weeknights parties from roommates.  Hilariously, my upstair neighbours likes to walk in their heels, I think its time for them to invest in carpets, no?

2.SIESTA, YES PLEASE!

I get a chance to do what my family do and learn their way of living.  In the afternoon,  I enjoy my siesta, cat nap, which I find helps me reenergize.

1.SPANISH 24/7.

My homestay family makes an effort to speak to me, despite the communication challenges of not fully understanding each others native language.  In this way, I am in an immersive environment that allows me to  listen and try my best to communicate verbally in Spanish, so I can practice my Spanish.

¡Hasta luego!

Sherry Ing

Centennial College Massage Therapy student, currently studying Spanish at the University of Oviedo in Spain for the summer.

 

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3 THINGS TO DO ON YOUR FIRST WEEK OF THE SUMMER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM IN OVIEDO, SPAIN

What am I up to this summer break?  I am excited to say that I am doing a Centennial College summer international program at the University of Oviedo in the province of Asturias in Spain.  It is where I will be spending the next three weeks learning Spanish.  Often, the first week can be nerve racking, not knowing anyone yet, the new time shift, and unfamiliar customs.  Thats why its important to try these 3 things in the first week of your summer international program in Spain that can help you transition smoothly to the new setting.

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A cage of pan, it displayed their breads that were sliced evenly and served with our pinchos.

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A cage of pan, it displayed their breads that were sliced evenly and served with our pinchos.

1.ESPICHA FIESTA:

In the first week, I had my first espicha welcoming party and sipped sidra from an interesting technique.  This is an event you do not want to miss out on your first week in the Universiad de Oviedo intensive Spanish course.  This is where you can meet some of your classmate in a social setting and also try something new. What is an espicha?  It is a festive, social event in Asturia and sidra is usually consumed at the local sidrería, such as Tierra Astur, in which you would not have a difficult time finding in Oviedo.  Sidra is cider and is a popular alcoholic beverage in Asturias, that is made from fermented apple juices.  The person usually pour it from a height so the sidra becomes foamy and sparkling.  As well as, it is drank at a short amount of time, as it will get warm.  An 1/2 inch residue of the sidra is left at the bottom of the drinking glass, so to rinse and clean it out.

2. SIDRA:  

The video above shows me making my first attempt at pouring the sidra from the large wooden barrel.  This is a must try when in your first week in Oviedo, Spain.  I and others had the same feelings when we hesitate to try this technique.  We were worry about it getting all over ourselves, spill it every where or it might pour the wrong way. To my surprise, it was not what I thought, I only had some sidra on my hands, but was easy to clean up.  The night finished off with traditional music, usually the bag pipe musical instrument is played, along with singing, and dancing.  They also served tasting of a walnut dessert.

3. CITY HALL: 

Ayuntamiento de Oviedo is the city hall of Oviedo, where the municipality decisions are made.  Its one of the places you can go inside with your school group.  The meeting table is where the council communicate with each other in order to make important decisions on the municipal level.

Hasta luego!

Sherry Ing

Centennial College Massage Therapy Student

Summer International Program 2016 Oviedo, Spain

 

Categories: Spain - Language & Culture, Summer International Program, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

San Sebastian

As a frequent traveler, I have been to 16 countries and over 50 famous destinations all-over the world; but if you ask me to recommend the best beach I have ever been, with no doubt, I will give you the name “San Sebastián”, or in the local Basque language, “Donostia”.

Before I start to introduce this amazing city, I would like to quote some words from my travel guide book; “We would like to say there is nothing impossible in the world, but there is one exception, that if someone comes to San Sebastián and didn’t fall in love with the city, which is absolutely impossible”. I was very much impressed by it, and of course, San Sebastián was even beyond my expectation, and here is why:

Spectacular beach
There are two beaches in San Sebastián, which are Zurriola Beach in the east and Kontxa Hondartza Beach in the west. These two beaches are actually quite close, but in two different styles, like completely different. So firstly, the Zurriola Beach is open towards to the Atlantic Ocean, then the wave here is pretty big, for sure it is not good for swimming, and it is absolutely ideal for the surfing. BTW, the surfing class is also available here, if you haven’t tried before, here is one of the best places for beginner. By contrast, the Kontxa Hondartza Beach is bigger, but much more relaxing, prefect for swimming, snorkeling, beach volleyball, beach football, sunbath, book reading, sand castle building… and many other fun activities.

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Historical part
Right beside of Kontxa Hondartza Beach is the historical part of San Sebastián. The archaic street, shops and churches will bring your back to the old time, to see the old Europe, when the great artists were traveling cross Europe, and making their masterpieces. Just don’t follow the crowd, make you own way, get lost in the city, you will alway discover something new and something interesting, and trust me, it is really fascinating.

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The food!
San Sebastián is not only famous for its beautiful beaches, but also, it is called the capital of “Pintxos”. “Pintxos” is the traditional Spanish food, south Spain call it “Tapas”, it is made by many ingredients, with over 1 million different flavors and matches. I believe it is understandable that food is really hard to be described in words, then you will have to try you own. But I will put my reputation here, to say, San Sebastián’ Pintxos is definitely one the best in Spain.

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There are much more about San Sebastián I couldn’t put in words here, but there is one thing I have to say, that San Sebastián is one of the best destination in Spain, and if you go there, you will find out more.

Victor

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