2019 DCIS Spain & Morocco Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2019 DCIS Spain & Morocco Program!  We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. The first page, Pre-Enrollment, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info, that participants will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page is intended to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. Please be sure to review the information on the appropriate page thoroughly and get excited for Spain and Morocco!
Travel Dates: March 21, 2019 - April 1, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,050 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $999
Deadline(s): Final payments are due March 15, 2019

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
March 21USA - Madrid, SpainToday the group will travel from the USA to Madrid, Spain.Airplane
March 22MadridOn our first day in Madrid, we will tour our neighborhood and enjoy a snack near Plaza Mayor, which is really close to our hostel. From there we will walk to the Royal Palace to see the grounds, the statues of old Visigoth kings and tour the palace (if we arrive early enough). From there we will walk to the Templo de Debod and enjoy our first evening and sunset together!TOC Hostel
March 23Madrid & MarrakechAfter our morning flight to Marrakech, the group will start their Morocco portion of the program! We will check into our Riad. Lunch will be served at Nomad, a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Spices Square in the old medina. Afterwards the group will be picked up and transferred to ride camels! When our afternoon activity finishes, we will head back to our Riad where we will dine and enjoy live Gnawa music.Marrakech Riad
March 24MarrakechGroup will take breakfast on the rooftop of the riad and get ready for their last day in Marrakech. Everyone will be picked up by a local guide for their half a day medina tour. We will visit Badi Palace, Saadian Tombs and Bahia Palace. This will be a great opportunity to reflect on the similarities between Moroccan and Spanish arcitecture. Our guide will leave everyone in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square), where we will head across the street to view Koutoubia Mosque. Our afternoon will end there where we will discuss the history of Marrakech’s tallest arcitecture. The night train to Tangier that the group will be taking departs at 9pm, therefore we will head to the train station for dinner in advance.Sleeper train
March 25TangierWe will arrive in Tangier in the morning and check into our hotel. The rest of the morning and early afternoon will be spent on a day trip to the Caves of Hercules. The afternoon will end with the group having Moroccan tea at Cafe Hafa (a simple cafe that has a beautiful view of Tarifa’s coastline). Afterwards the group will dine at Le Saveur du Poisson. Once back at the hotel, the program leaders will hold a reflection in order to get everyone ready for the Spain portion of their trip the following day!Tangier Hotel
March 26Tangier & SevilleAfter breakfast we jump on a ferry and cross the Straight of Gibraltar, entering Europe again. Upon arrival in Seville, we'll have lunch and then visit the cathedral to see the Giralda and tombs of Columbus and Ferdinand III, both of whom shaped and were shaped by the Reconquista. We will continue with an orientation tour through the old Jewish quarter in Barrio Santa Cruz and the picturesque Calle de Agua. We will end the night in the Alameda de Hercules for dinner. Hostal Plaza Santa Cruz
March 27SevilleWe will start the day in the Real Alcazar, which features a mix of Arabic, Mudejar, and Gothic architectural styles, and learn about the legendary rulers there – which might seem familiar to Game of Thrones fans. We will have lunch at the Mercado de Triana, which sits in an old Moorish fortress and later seat of the Spanish Inquisition or the Mercado Lonja del Barranco, a fish market along the river that was converted into a modern food market. After lunch, we're off to Parque Maria Luisa for a look at the Plaza de España with special attention to the regional decorations that feature scenes of the Reconquista. After that, students will enjoy unstructured time to explore the gardens, including opportunities to visit the Mudejar art museum and Seville’s museum of archeology that contains impressive Roman art and ruins salvaged from Italica.Hostal Plaza Santa Cruz
March 28Seville & CordobaAfter breakfast in Seville we will take the train to Cordoba for a day-long visit to the enchanting city. Our first visit will be the iconic mezquita. As a church that was then a joint mosque, to only mosque, maintained by Jewish architects and engineers, and then converted into a church, there is no better monument to the conflict and cooperation between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Andalusia. After lunch (which must include the Cordoban specialties salmorejo and tortilla), students will go on a “patio hunt” to try to find the best examples of Cordoba. We'll return to Seville this afternoon/evening for dinner.Hostal Plaza Santa Cruz
March 29Seville & GranadaAfter breakfast we're off to Granada. Upon arrival we check into the hotel and then strike out for the Granada cathedral, which took so long to build that its art and architecture reflect many changing styles in Europe. We will visit the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, who completed the Christian conquest of Spain. If time allows we will also visit the Centro de Lenguas Modernas, part of the University of Granada for students to get an orientation on options for a longer study abroad experience. In the evening, we will tour the beautiful and historic streets of the Albaicin, and end the day watching the sunset over the Alhambra from the mirador San Nicolas. Hotel Macía Monasterio de los Basilios
March 30GranadaAfter breakfast, we will visit the Alhambra, the last pinnacle of the Islamic era of Spain. In the evening, we will enjoy dinner and a flamenco show caves of Sacromonte, as well as a guided tour of the Albaicin.Hotel Macía Monasterio de los Basilios
March 31Granada & MadridToday we head back to Madrid to visit the Parque de Buen Retiro and its surroundings so that students can relax and enjoy unstructured time to explore before our final farewell dinner. TOC Hostel
April 1Madrid & USAFly home! Your own bed, eventually!

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Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe. 

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
TOC Hostel Madrid

TOC is a spacious and hip hotel located in the heart of Madrid, just minutes away from the metro and major tourist attractions. This is a modern and hi-tech hotel with a friendly staff and a great breakfast! Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Travelers will have rooms and bathrooms which are exclusive to our group. 

 

 

Monasterio Basilio

Monasterio Basilio is located in the center of Granada and provides an ideal location from which to explore the city. This cozy hotel can accommodate up to four students per room with ensuite bathrooms and the quirky aesthetic that defines this hotel makes for a memorable stay.

Grand Hotel Villa de France Tangier

This four star hotel was built in the eighteenth century and is located in the historic center of Tangier. The architecture of the Grand Hotel Villa de France, along with its fountains, pool, terraces and gardens, today create a convivial, relaxing atmosphere in one of North Africa’s most magical cities. Students will have internet access in order to stay connected, and will be grouped in double or triple occupancy rooms according to gender.

Sleeper Train – Marrakech to Tangier

The overnight train is a popular and time-effective way to travel from Tangier to Marrakech. The ONCF overnight train has one couchette car with eleven 4-berth compartments. Each bed is provided with pillow, sheet and light blanket. The car is air-conditioned, the compartment doors lock securely and it is a safe, comfortable and time-effective way to travel!

Riad Star

Riad Star offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech – a little slice of luxury in the heart of the medina. Students will be roomed in double, triple or quadruple rooms based on gender. Wifi is available throughout the hotel. Breakfast will be provided on the rooftop.

Hostal Plaza de Santa Cruz

Hostal Plaza de Santa Cruz is located in the heart of Sevilla, making it ideal for getting around easily on foot. The three star hotel comes with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and breakfast served on the terrace each morning. Students will be split between gender between double, triple or quadruple rooms depending on availability.

Group Flight

DEPARTURE FROM USA

Airline: Lufthansa
Flight: LH481
Date: March 21, 2019
Departs: Denver (DEN) – 5:20 PM
Arrives: Munich (MUC) – 9:50 AM (March 22, 2019)

Airline: Lufthansa
Flight: LH1802
Date: March 22, 2019
Departs: Munich (MUC) – 11:55 AM
Arrives: Madrid (MAD) – 2:35 PM

DOMESTIC FLIGHT

Airline: Vueling
Flight: VY7000
Date: March 23, 2019
Departs: Madrid (MAD) – 7:00 AM
Arrives: Barcelona (BCN) – 8:15 AM

Airline: Vueling
Flight: VY7336
Date: March 23, 2019
Departs: Barcelona (BCN) – 11:20 AM
Arrives: Menara (RAK) – 1:45 PM

RETURN TO USA

Airline: Lufthansa
Flight: LH1123
Date: April 1, 2019
Departs: Madrid (MAD) – 8:30 AM
Arrives: Frankfurt (FRA) – 11:00 AM

Airline: Lufthansa
Flight: LH446
Date: April 1, 2019
Departs: Frankfurt (FRA) – 1:25 PM
Arrives: Denver (DEN) – 3:40 PM

Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here. Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Warmer jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Scarf and Warm gloves (optional)
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power Converter
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • STUDENT ID
  • Spanish/English Dictionary

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Kelsey Shawgo
Kelsey Shawgo
Spain Country Director


Loyola University of Chicago – B.A. Spanish, Minor in Psychology 

Born and raised outside of Chicago to two avid travelers and teachers, Kelsey has always had a passion for exploration and education, which also led to an interest in language. In fact, her first jobs and volunteer opportunities were as an assistant teacher, translator and interpreter. The opportunity to attend a youth leadership conference in Cuba and a study abroad semester in Spain during university cemented her desire to start a life abroad. She has been living in Madrid for ten years and is currently teaching English to Nursing and Physical Therapy students at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. In her spare time, you can find her exploring new places with friends and family, doing yoga everywhere she can, listening to too many podcasts and desperately trying to add more languages to her repertoire.

Stafford Jackson
Stafford Jackson
Morocco Country Director


University of Arizona

Stafford was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and then graduated High School in Dallas, Texas. After attending the University of Arizona, she set off traveling with her sister through Southeast Asia, Europe and Northern Africa in 2013. After traveling through Morocco, she decided to make it her home a year later and started an online shop, selling artisanal handicrafts from Morocco back to the States. While living in Tangier, she met her husband in 2014 while she was traveling through Marrakech. He learned to speak English for her and she moved to Marrakech for him. They now have small wholesale company together and both work of Walking Tree Travel! She enjoys photography, decorating and taking family vacations to small Moroccan villages on the Atlantic coast.

Said Ait Said
Said Ait Said
Morocco Country Director & Program Leader


ISTA NTIC Syba Ofppt, Marrakech

Said was born in Marrakech, Morocco and was raised in the old Medina as well as an off the grid Berber village in the High Atlas Mountains. He enjoys camping, taking road trips and carpentry projects. In 2012 he graduated in IT Development and started working as a freelance contractor for Technical Specifications Development. A year later he started managing accommodations and excursions for travelers in Morocco, where he met his wife, who is American. They are a combination of Berber, Moroccan and American; speaking English, French, Arabic and Tamazighit. He also has a two year old son, named Solomon. Said and his family are currently living in Marrakech, embracing their multi-cultural lifestyle!

Jordan Sparrow
Jordan Sparrow
Country Operations Director - Denver, CO


University of Kansas – B.A. Latin American Studies; Global and International Studies, Minor in Brazilian Studies

Jordan is a Midwesterner at heart, born and raised in Kansas City.  He spent his first summer after high school in Guatemala where he began learning Spanish and cultivated a deep interest in everything Latin America.  In college, Jordan spent almost half of his university career studying abroad in both Costa Rica and Brazil.  During that time, he mastered language skills in both Spanish and Portuguese, spent a lot of time at the beach and met the love of his life in Costa Rica. After college, he moved to Costa Rica where he taught Portuguese to Costa Ricans and began his career in student travel.  After almost six years of living in Costa Rica, Jordan, his partner and their two dogs moved to Denver where they currently live.  As with the rest of the SSA team, Jordan has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.  Jordan is passionate about languages, history, social justice and eating great food.

Oussama Elfouadi
Oussama Elfouadi


Oussama was born and raised in Morocco and has a love for adventure.  He has worked in the tourism industry for many years and earned his degree in tourism and management.  He has traveled to almost every corner of Morocco and has lived in both Tangier and Marrakech. Whenever he has the opportunity, he always takes the chance to explore new places.  Oussama plays the djembe (a Senegalese drum) and guitar, and loves music.  He speaks Arabic, French and English and one day, he hopes to open his own hotel in Morocco or somewhere else in the world.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Alondra Lopez-Varela
  • 2 Alyssa Morales
  • 3 Amy Gonzalez Chavez
  • 4 Andrea Barron
  • 5 Angelee Vigil
  • 6 Asher Gettings
  • 7 Benjamin Keyse
  • 8 Beyra Orbe Ferrer
  • 9 Celeste Crain
  • 10 Daniel Conner
  • 11 Edward Keyse
  • 12 Ellie Lorenzen
  • 13 Ernest Samora
  • 14 Genesis Suarez Vegas
  • 15 Ian Lopez Kilpatrick
  • 16 Karissa Vergel Macedonio
  • 17 Kimberly Zazueta
  • 18 Larry Scherer
  • 19 Leila Jones
  • 20 Melanie Large
  • 21 Patrick Garvey
  • 22 Quinn Pecsok
  • 23 Solomon Kieler
  • 24 Sonia Burns - Group Organizer
  • 25 Thandi Glick
  • 26 Unique Hernandez
  • 27 Yadira Diaz DeLeon
27 Travelers

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Possessing weapons.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  5. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  6. Being out after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Spain website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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