2019 DCIS Spain & Morocco Program

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A Final Farewell

Written by Jordan Sparrow – Walking Tree Program Leader

Our trip has finally come to a close, and man has it been quite a trip. During the past few days we have been able to enjoy Spanish culture, history, and to relate how Morocco is similar to yet different from Spain. One of the highlights of the trip has been our visit to La Alhambra, which was much more opulent and extravagant than any of us could have expected. We spent the afternoon learning about how it was constructed, its uses, and it’s interesting multi-religious influences. Another highlight has been our visit to Real Alcazar, located in Seville, which was similarly spectacular.

Over the past few days, we have enjoyed spending time together and learning new things. We have tried new foods, used our language skills to communicate with others, and have also had some free time to explore on our own. In total, we have walked more than 80 km on this trip! At yesterday’s final farewell dinner, many of us commented how we are excited to come back to our friends and family in Colorado, however we are also sad that we have to leave such a beautiful place. Don’t be surprised if your son or daughter comes home with the travel bug; many students have talked about how this trip has inspired them to consider coming back to Spain to study on their own. It has been a pleasure getting to know each and every student, they have all brought their own unique perspectives and personalities to this trip making it a memorable and fun experience for everyone. ¡Viva España y Marruecos!

Viva España

Written by Jordan Sparrow – Walking Tree Program Leader

Saludos desde España! Por fin hemos llegado después de tantos problemas con el clima en Marruecos. Cómo nos quedamos dos noches más en Tánger, decidimos hacer un viaje a un pueblo pequeño que se llama Assylah. Ahí, tuvimos la oportunidad de andar por la ciudad, tomar fotos, hacer compras y hacernos tatuajes (temporales!) de henna al estilo marroquí. La ciudad es súper pequeña y segura, entonces nos dividimos en grupos pequeños de estudiantes para darles un poco de independencia y tiempo libre. Muchos estudiantes dijeron que era uno de los mejores días del viaje! Nosotros (los profes y el guia) estamos súper orgullosos de los estudiantes – son responsables, maduros y no se quejaron del hecho que nos quedamos varados otros días en Marruecos. Cómo dicen en ingles, you just have to go with the flow!

Ayer por fin tomanos el ferry hasta España que fue una experiencia interesante sin duda. Las olas eran bien fuertes y había mucho viento. Algunos estudiantes se mariaron, pero nadie se enfermó y todos celebramos con helado cuando llegamos a España. Ayer pasamos la tarde en Sevilla conociendo unos de los sitios más importantes de la ciudad – el Real Alcázar, Plaza de España y Parque María Luisa. Señorita Burns nos ha enseñado un montón sobre la historia española musulmana y es una fuente enorme se conocimiento! Estamos aprendiendo y divertiendonos!

En este momento estamos en camino a Granada dónde nos vamos a quedar dos noches. Ahí vamos a ver La Alhambra, un show de flamenco y otros sitios importantes. Todos están emocionados para conocer otra ciudad y seguir explorando. Les mandamos un saludo y viva España!

Trading Madrid for Morocco

Written by Jordan Sparrow – Walking Tree Program Leader

So far, Morocco has been quite an adventure. From the moment we landed in Marrakesh, we have had the opportunity to see and experience so many new things. After arriving to the airport, we dropped our bags at our Riad before heading out to explore the Medina. Our Riad was beautiful, and we truly feel like we are having a Moroccan experience. After we settled in, we hit the ground running and rode camels outside of the city. On our way to meet the camels, we experienced the chaos of what it’s like to navigate the Medina. What may look like a sidewalk also doubles as a street, we quickly learned to be alert and on the lookout for motorcycles who zoom by at any moment. The sights and smells of Marrakesh are very different than those of Madrid.

Riding camels as the sun was setting was probably the coolest thing we have done so far. For many of us, this was the first time that we have seen camels and we got to ride them for almost an hour. It was a bumpy and noisy ride, but we laughed and sang our way through it. We also were dressed up in traditional Saharan desert clothing and took some awesome pictures. We ended the night with a delicious dinner and a traditional ganawa music presentation at our Riad.
This morning we spent a few hours touring some of the most important sites in Marrakech. We walked more than 9 km, bought souvenirs, ate Senegalese and Moroccan fusion food, and learned a lot about Moroccan history and culture. We are currently on an overnight train to Tangier and are having so much fun! More updates to come soon.

Welcome to Madrid!

Written by Jordan Sparrow – Walking Tree Program Leader

After a long journey, the DCIS group finally arrived to Madrid! The group arrived at the perfect time, mid afternoon, which allowed us to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. After we dropped our bags at the hostel, we began our leisurely walking tour of Madrid centro. Madrid is a very lively city which is buzzing with people commuting to work, street performers, sidewalk cafes and street vendors. We make a point to stop at some of Madrid’s most famous landmarks such as Plaza del Sol and Plaza Mayor. We ended our tour with a stop at Templo de Debod to watch the sun set over the city. We were able to transport ourselves back in history and picture what life would have been like hundreds of years ago. Several students commented on how no buildings in Colorado are even remotely as old as many of the buildings in Madrid. After our walking tour, we had our first proper meal in the city, a three course Spanish feast complete with croquetas, grilled veggies, meat, seafood and dessert (crema catalana for the win!).

Students have done a great job combating jet lag and adjusting to the nocturnal lifestyle in Spain. Although many students were struggling to stay awake through dinner, everyone made it through the day with a smile on their faces. We headed back to our hostel and got some rest before our early morning flight to Marrakech. Currently, I am writing this post somewhere over the Mediterranean sea – we are going to have an awesome afternoon in Marrakech complete with a sunset camel ride, delicious Moroccan food and live music. Students can’t wait to ride camels! More posts to come as our adventure unfolds. Overall, students are happy, healthy and enjoying themselves!