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A World of Thanks to All the Host Families!

To all the Host Families of the Spanish students who came to study English in the Dallas area this past summer. Thank you for making such a huge, positive impact in their lives! It was so successful that students are signing up now for next summer both for Dallas and Washington DC. We were all blessed by your generosity, kindness and attention. Thank you again!!!


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For more information call or email Alina at 2025053449 or

Holy Week in Spain

a cultural curiosity


CIMG2771In the States, Holy Week seems often to be lost in the flood of Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and Peeps. In Spain, Easter is lost in a flood of Holy Week somber marching tunes, people dressed in religious costumes, and antique religious statues being taken out for a walk. For an American living in Spain Easter takes on a whole different meaning – taking on the role of teacher to the innocent tourists of the traditions and history of this culturally rich country.
CIMG2780It is honestly a surreal experience to find oneself in Spain during Holy Week. In modern times, after decades under a Catholic dictator, most young Spaniards have little interest in religion, yet, so many here have an intense connection to the country’s traditional Holy Week festivities. Ten days chock full of tradition complete with pasos, which are statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or other religious figures, many dating as far back as the 1500’s, processing down the streets flanked by marching bands droning on with somber tunes. It seems like everyone you meet is signed up to carry, accompany, or play for one icon or another. And when they aren’t participating, everyone is lining the streets to see the processions meander by.
CIMG4121 (2)In most towns the festivities start on Friday of Sorrows, two days before Palm Sunday (which I always thought started off Holy Week), and it’s hard to avoid being pulled into the strange celebrations. In my case, round about 1am on Friday of Sorrows I started to hear the drums approaching, literally heralding in the start of this eventful time. As the week goes on the processions continue to proliferate until it’s impossible to escape them. By Holy Thursday, everywhere you turn you find yourself corralled by one train or another of people dressed like monks, or in robes that are eerily reminiscent of the KKK regalia.
CIMG4151 (2)And I realize how all of that sounds: a little creepy and dark, and in some ways it is, but this age old tradition is, as all things Spanish, a celebration to be enjoyed. Being a Catholic country, both Holy Thursday and Good Friday are national holidays, making Easter weekend a time when the Spanish flock to cities like Seville, Malaga, and Zamora, famous for their processions and enjoy an intense immersion in tradition and culture. Holy Week in Spain is a cultural curiosity fit to be seen and experienced especially if you combine it with a glass of tinto and a tapa, which no self-respecting Spaniard would go without.
So if you’re willing to open your mind and allow yourself to be mesmerized by this somewhat odd tradition, you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised. Maybe you’ll get lucky and score a torrija, the French toast like sweet proper to this time of year.

Talent for Travel:

 how to travel abroad for free

Often we find ourselves with the dilemma of wanting to travel but without enough of a budget to make it happen.  However, money doesn’t have to be an obstacle if you can be a little creative and happen to have a few talents you don’t mind showing off.   In my experience as a musician I offer you some tips on how to undertake your trip without spending a dime.

MF638U3720-2The first thing that you have to take into account is that on a vacation of this type you have to know how to improvise. Even if you choose a particular destination as your objective, you must keep in mind that circumstances can change at any time and maybe destiny will take you other places you hadn’t planned for but that are equally interesting.

The fundamental objective is to earn enough money to cover your basic needs. It is recommended that you take nonperishable foods with you like canned goods or things that are vacuum packed. You should think about what destination might be good for demonstrating your abilities and be ideal for those passing by to be able to reward you for your efforts. The usual mistake is choosing a spot with a high volume of tourists. There is such an overcrowding in these areas that it’s unlikely for anyone to pause and pay you much notice. What’s more these spots will be so flooded with others like you that it’s difficult to stand out and call people’s attention.  You should look for a spot with foot traffic but relatively tranquil, where people have room to stop and fully appreciate your art. Sometimes it can pay to choose medium sized cities with less people who like you are looking to make money. They’re your biggest competition.

busking_saxophoneYou don’t always have to perform for money. On many occasions it’s important to do so for food. The best place for this is an open air market. There is always someone working hoping for you to change their daily routine, and that’s where you come in.  Dedicating a song to the workers at one of the stands usually translates to free lunch. The same is true for street vendors or sidewalk cafes.  Playing near these posts is great publicity for them and the owners will be more than happy to repay you with a meal.

When it comes to the performance you should transmit happiness and pay attention to people’s reactions. Small things like a gesture or a correctly timed smile can arouse compassion in the spectator that won’t hesitate to leave you a tip.

It’s important on a trip like this to rest well. There are lots of cheap places to find lodging. Either hostels or university residence halls that rent extra rooms can often be the cheapest places to spend the night. Plus places like these can be great for finding people to swap stories with and make friends for future adventures.

prague_musicianA way to travel the world at minimal cost, playing music or performing of any kind can be an enjoyable way to finance your travel dreams. Whether you use it to fund a whole trip or a just a weekend getaway while studying abroad, use your creativity and talents to make your way. Good luck adventurers!

Has this blog inspired you to travel abroad? Check out our web page to find the right travel or study abroad experience for you!


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