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Left: CJ at a Japanese festival; Right: Kaylin with host mom in Senegal

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There are many benefits to hosting a student from abroad, even for just a couple of weeks. Here are five reasons why people love hosting!

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If you find yourself wanting to do something special with your exchange student in Oregon or Washington, these ideas will have you covered.

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The trip in its entirety was fantastic. Traveling abroad was such an amazing experience that expanded my mind, my language skills and my respect for other cultures. I made friends there that I will stay in contact with for a very long time. Some of my best friends now are people I had the pleasure of meeting in Costa Rica.

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My host siblings after dinner in Lorient

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Eating paella with Esther, Maria, and her friend Christina

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Going to Spain from June 24 to July 17 was the scariest, craziest, most incredible thing I've ever done. Prior to this trip, I had never been outside of the country, and even though going on exchange was going to be really out of my comfort zone, I was so excited. 

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Our last day in Paris was spent visiting the Musée d'Orsay, riding a ride in the Jardin des Tuileries, walking and exploring the Marais, Place des Voges, Le Centre George Pompidou, and Les Halles. We finished the day with a traditional French dinner in the Marias!

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On Saturday we wrapped up an amazing week of Spanish camp in beautiful Manuel Antonio. We had a wonderful time surfing, visiting the national park, zip-lining, getting to know Costa Rican culture with our host families, and even celebrating the Fourth of July. 

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On Monday we went to the Eiffel Tower and saw it from all angles - from underneath and from across the river at the Place du Trocadero. 

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We went up to Montmartre and visited Sacré Cœur, where we had a great view of the city!

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Our last weekday in Tours-swinging through the trees.  Everyone had a ton of fun, especially zooming across the lake!  Sophie dipped too low and got soaked!  Another super hot, humid day.

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A lovely (but hot & humid ) afternoon spent at Clos-Lucé, where Leonard DaVinci spent his last years.  A great combination of his art and engineering that our students really enjoyed exploring.

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An awesome château visit to Rigny-Ussé where Charles Perrault lived and wrote a number of famous fairy tales, Sleeping  Beauty being among the most well-known.

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Allez, dansons! 

Get dancing with some of our Lakeridge students. Check it out! 

https://www.facebook.com/andeointernationalhomestays/videos/101555665641...

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Your children are great travelers! Each day has gone according to plan and from my interactions and observations, they have been enjoying themselves. Carol and I enjoyed visiting each host home.They are using their classroom time well and getting the most they can out of learning. Here sre some picture highlights from days three and four.

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Here are more photos of our Pacer crew at the Château d'Ussé, where Charles Perrault lived for a time and was inspired to write many fairy tales that we know and love.

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À Tours and we visited Le Château d'Ussé today!

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Bonsoir!  Spent the day at Chenonceau and the nice weather has returned !

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Our first full day began with students reporting back about host families at our meeting spot at 10 am.

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We visited Toshogu shrine today with our host brothers and sisters. Even though it was raining, we had a great time! What a great way to end our trip!


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This past Saturday we spent a whole day at an estancia, an Argentinian cowboy ranch. We got to ride horses and bikes, play soccer and volleyball, eat a delicious parrilla lunch, and enjoy an authentic folkloric dance on the lawn.

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Our travels to Costa Rica went so well! It quickly became evident that we are all in such good company with each other. What a beautiful group of kids that we are lucky to be with: polite, good natured, attentive, responsible, and fun! Thank you for sharing them with us and providing them with this wonderful experience.

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The sun is finally back in Tours! 

 

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On Saturday we set out for San Ramon for our ziplining canopy tour. San Ramon is in another province, about 90 minutess from San Isidro. As we rode in the bus we could see the weather becoming wetter and cooler as we drove up the mountain.

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On Thursday we assembled at the school for a Zumba class. Some of the kids were a bit apprehensive, but nearly everyone really got into it after we started. The class was great - very high energy and great music!

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Today after classes students let their creative sides shine.

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Yesterday we got to make our own chocotorta, a typical dessert in Argentina, as a group. It was timed perfectly, as it was Carlee and Linsey´s birthday, so we got to sing to them and celebrate with cake! :) We finished the evening with a group dinner out.

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Students are getting to know Tours with a stroll around the city.

 

 

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Wednesday was a busy day! We started off by taking the bus into San Jose, the capitol city. It's a busy, bustling place compared to San Isidro! We walked around the center, looking at the lovely historic buildings, including the post office, national theater, and museums. We also went into one of the churches, and then stopped for lunch and a little shopping in a souvenir mercado. The highlight for the kids was probably the giant pizzas for lunch!

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On their first day of classes, Gresham students sit in on classes with Sano Nichidai students.

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Today, the students took a ride on the tram with Yannick to go bowling. Everyone had a blast! 

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Tuesday we stayed in San Isidro. We did an optional hike above San Isidro again, then met at the school for a cooking lesson.

We made Arroz con Pollo, or rice with chicken. This is practically the national dish of Costa Rica. While Gallo Pinto (beans and rice) is more common in daily life, you'd be hard pressed to find a Fiesta or gathering without Arroz con Pollo.

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Lakeridge students at their language school in Tours.

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On Tuesday our afternoon excursion took us into the mountains to the beautiful Orosi Valley. We had a picnic of fried chicken (the best fried chicken ever according to some) at a scenic overlook. We were then able to visit the two oldest Catholic Churches in Costa Rica and the Basilica de Los Angeles.

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Gresham students and their chaperone, Tara, arrives in Japan.

This is the giant buddha in Kamakura that was made in 1252 and has survived tsunamis and earthquakes. Amazing! We had a fun day exploring the coastal area of enoshima too. 

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Monday we went on a tour of Tours with our awesome guide Annick! Exploring the history of this beautiful old city, from Roman ruins to vestiges of the medieval ages up to gorgeous Renaissance buildings, and into our contemporary world with current art exhibits in several places for the students to explore on their own this Wednesday during their free afternoon.

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On Sunday we decided to have a day at the Parque del Este near our home stays. We met at our favorite ice cream parlor, Pops, and walked 3/4 of a mile to the park where the kids hung out by the pool, hiked the nature trails, played soccer, and relaxed for a couple hours.

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Today we were back in San Isidro for a more normal schedule. Since our schedule didn't start until 11, several of us went on a walk in the hills above the town. Lovely views and a fun bridge to cross.

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After an exciting first day of orientation at the language school, students ventured out into the city on a walking tour. We saw the Casa Rosada and knew President Mauricio Macri was there by the small Argentinian flag displayed on the top.

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Spain immersion group with chaperone Lindsay Zolotoff. 

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The journey to Argentina begins for West Linn students!

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Sunday was a free day in our schedule, but we didn't want to waste the opportunity to experience more of Costa Rica. So, we pooled together some of our spending money and coordinated a trip to the beach!

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We spent Saturday morning enjoying some down time at the hotel before beginning the long trip back to San Isidro. We all needed a little relaxation time, especially after being awakened by the Howler Monkeys around 5 each morning. They sound just like their name, very loud! Costa Rica has 25% of its land protected. Tortugera is one of the large protected areas, which means there is really lots of wildlife and it's very nearby!

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Today we spent the whole day in Tortugera. We started with an early morning (5:45 departure!) boat ride into the jungle to spot local wildlife. We saw toucans, cormorants, a caiman, big spiders, lizards, a poisonous dart frog, monkeys and lot of other birds.

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We arrived. Just a quick update from the Montparnasse train in Paris, where we await the TGV to get to Tours.  Very few slept in the plane rides!

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Today the Lakeridge students say goodbye to their parents at the Portland airport as their adventure to France begins.

Before taking off for France:

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Today we set out for a 3 day adventure in Tortugero, a turtle refuge on the east coast of Costa Rica. Our bus left bright and early, at 6am, for the 4 hour ride. We then transferred to a boat for the last hour of the trip. Tortugero is only accessible by boat or airplane - there are no roads or cars here!

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After class on Thursday, we had cooking lessons. We made chalupas and a very Costa Rican dessert, Arroz con leche. Here are some photos.

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Lakeridge students learn how to do the salsa during one of the first few days in Costa Rica. Click on the link below to see students showing off some dance moves.

http://www.facebook.com/andeointernationalhomestays/videos/10155507503859623/

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On Monday, we met up to familiarize ourselves with San Isidro through a scavenger hunt for the post office, bank, supermarket, etc. Afterwards, we went to the school to start Spanish classes. The school is lovely, with well-tended landscape.

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Here is a glimpse at the student's language school ELEC in Costa Rica where they have their classes each afternoon. 

The view from ELEC.

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On Monday we took the public bus into Heredia, the closest major town. The bus ride was quite an adventure! The bus was very full, and the drivers go pretty fast on narrow roads.

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We spent Sunday with our host families, getting to know them better and immersing ourselves in Spanish. It's been really interesting hearing the kids compare their host families. Each one has unique differences from the kids' regular families, whether food, religion, family members, etc. The kids are taking the differences with excellent spirit!

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On Monday our very nervous students took a test for placement in their Spanish classes. In the photo they are working on it in our classroom at Maximo Nivel. Once the classes were formed, they had their first hour of classes.

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Hola and greetings from Costa Rica!

Once through security everything moved quickly and smoothly. We only had to wait a few minutes before they started boarding our flight. In Phoenix we had just enough time to find our new gate, buy a sandwich or slice of pizza and then off we went again.

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Report from Tim:  "Everything went well after getting through security at the airport.  No problems with the flights -- most of the students got some sleep on the plane, and our arrival in San Jose was easy.  We were picked up immediately and then dropped off at our host families, although not without both a sense of anticipation and nervousness. Since it is Father's Day here as well, some of the students will be attending family events, as will I. 
More later..."

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Excited, a little sleepy, and ready for a new adventure! 

 

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If you’re wondering what to do with your exchange student, consider this: Even something you think of as mundane, such as going to the grocery store, can be interesting to an international guest. When you're in a different country, everything can feel different and exciting—so we encourage you to include your student in all sorts of activities, big and small. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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To prepare for my trip, I focused on experiencing modern French entertainment and pop culture for the past months. These are my favorite discoveries:

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As I prepare to make my trip to Mexico, to experience the culture, people, and customs, I have decided that one of the most effective ways of understanding how I should get ready and what I should have in mind is to talk to people who have a direct experience with the country itself.

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Preparing for a trip abroad, where you will be submerged into a new culture, can be a daunting prospect. Readying yourself as much as possible beforehand will limit the stress of traveling greatly. Here are things I have been doing to prepare myself:

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Hello! My name is Hannah and I am travelling to Madrid, Spain this summer for 3 weeks. I am incredibly excited for this experience and cannot wait to board the plane!

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For my blog post, I decided to choose something that I am very passionate aboutfood! One of the things I am most excited about going into my trip is the opportunity to try many new things, especially foods.

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¡Hola!  I am Lindsay Zolotoff and this is my 9th year teaching Spanish at Newberg High School.  I am an Oregon native, graduate of Wilson High School, Oregon State University and George Fox University.  My husband Nick, is a fellow educator and we have two children, Finn (5 in May) and Emilia (2 in June.)  My parents introduced me to international travel at a young age, encouraging a love of culture and adventure.

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Hi, I’m Susan Douglass and this is my 9th year teaching Spanish at Cleveland High School. 

Prior to Cleveland I taught at Sellwood Middle School for 12 years. While at Sellwood I started an annual summer home stay program to Costa Rica that I ran for 10 years. I chaperoned that trip 5 times and also chaperoned a high school IB program through IES to Costa Rica 4 years ago. So I have a lot of experience leading middle and high school age students overseas. 

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The most important factor in determining the success of a program abroad is the mindset of the participants involved – the exchange student, his or her parents, and the host family. Take this quiz to find out if you are truly ready for an immersion program!  There are no right answers. Just use your responses to find a program that is right for you (and your parents!)

How long have you studied the language?

A) 2 or more years

B) 1 year or less

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by MacKenzie Lahren


I arrived in Malaga, Spain at around noon after about fourteen hours of flying. I felt a mixture of uneasiness and excitement with a slight tinge of confidence. I could do this. I could live in a foreign country where no one really spoke English and I knew no one.

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- by Rebecca Summit

This past summer I spent three weeks in Cadiz, Spain. It was my first adventure to Europe, and even my first out of North America. I had high expectations for this long-awaited trip, and for the most part, I think that my expectations were met.

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- by Natalia Corbitt

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- by Jenna Follin 

There are absolutely no words available to describe this amazing experience!

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- by Hannah Singleton

Julie, who stayed with my family in April, and me on Lac D'Annecy in her father's boat

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by Emma Meese

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by Daniel Kompolt

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by Janiel Elizarraga Oregel

Well, after spending the first few days here in France. I could certainly say that I felt out of place, but it did not deter from the experience I felt while getting accustomed to France.

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by Hayden Hopkins

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by Emmett Williamson

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by Hayden Hopkins

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The kids are staying well with fresh cold coconut water while hanging out in the sun and surf at Playa Conchan!

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This morning students and chaperones busted some Zumba moves. Our profesora, Yoana, was kind to start us off easy. We learned the basics of Merengue, Salsa, and Bachata. I asked some students if they are feeling ready to go home. They said they miss their families but love traveling. Good sign!

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As it so turns out, Fabricio's mother lives near Arenal, and it's her birthday. We gave her a surprise party complete with a penata.   The kids swam in her pool, and we toured her extensive garden.

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by Molly Balmer

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Here are some scenes from school today.

 

 Geography, bilingual,  French-German. The school has a bilingual track.

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by Sara Komoda

Bonjour!

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by Emmett Williamson


So far our trip has started with a bang, literally thunderstorms on the first night!

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Here are a few fun pictures from Monteverde! 

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by Daniel Kompolt

Day 3:

Today we all slept in a little more because of the late night [we went to a party]. Then we went to the beach.

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 Hola familias!

 

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Drachenfels cog wheel train, before a visit to the Drachenfels overlooking the Rhine.

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The West Sylvan students visited Tortuguero! Yaaay!

How to sum up today? Iguana, Spider Monkey, Howler Monkeys, Toucan, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Caimans, Royal Egrets, Aningas, Frigate birds, Turtles, Giant Golden Orb Spiders, Sloth.

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Today was a busy day at La Paz waterfall gardens!

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Greetings from Costa Rica!  These 3 pictures capture the beginning of our trip. Life at LAX felt like it would never end, resulting in a wise choice by Delta to preboard the group. Sleeping  on the red eye was iffy.

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And they're off! Check in with our blog for updates about the group's adventures! 

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Chaperone Robert Zenk reports that "everything went smoothly and everyone is with their host families now. Their excited looks said it all!"  Follow this blog over the next couple weeks for some special updates from students themselves!

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Today we went shopping in small groups and the students got to decide which stores they wanted to visit. We went to Heredia since there are more shops there. Afterwards we walked up to ELEC and worked to fix our own lunch. Doña Azalea taught us to make corn tortillas and arroz can pollo. Everyone had a special cooking task. Very fun and they were fueled by hunger.

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Last night the students really gave it their all and rocked the dance class! They will be coming back with some smooth moves to show you all.

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Scenes from Cologne. A very hot day.  We  toured the cathedral, old town, crossed the railroad bridge and enjoyed the scenery from a 28-story observation tower. I think we are now medieval specialists.

 

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Today we learned to use Costa Rican money to shop and also discovered what a Post Office is. Students wrote postcards and learned how to affix stamps and on which lines we write the name, the address, and so forth! Enlightening! Each student had a private interview with a chaperone about the home stay. No major concerns at this time. Most reported their home stay as "excellent". 

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Today was an eventful day for us here in Costa Rica!
 
We headed up to the Poas volcano and the national forest.

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A few photos of Aachen: 

In front of Charlemagne's cathedral

A brief lunch stop between guided tours.  Mostly Currywurst was consumed

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We went to the market in Heredia TuesdayStudents discovered new smells, sights, and tastes.

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From Paloma: 

We are safe and having a great time! Some of the kids keep repeating that they cannot believe that they are here!

Our first night in Costa Rica was beautiful and calm. We had dinner at a local restaurant them headed to the B&B. The next day we took a walking tour of San Joaquin de Flores and got familiar with the area and where we will be at the next few days.

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 Frau Schroeder and Mr Kendrick met with all the students today at the school where they are shadowing their host siblings, Werner Heienberg Gymnasium. Students seem happy and enjoyed their first weekend with their host families! It was pouring rain there today, but they are hoping for better weather for their first excursion tomorrow, to Aachen. 

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And they're off! Find updates about the Alder Creek students in Costa Rica here! 

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The West Sylvan group arrived safely to San Jose and then made it to their host families in San Isidro. Yesterday, all students spent a free day with their host families. 

Celeste reports:

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Frau Shoeder reports that the group arrived safely with their host families and will be spending the weekend with them. We'll have more news on Mondayor Tuesday after Frau Schroeder sees them all at school. 

Here is the schedule of which days they will have excursions so you can follow along:

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Hello! My name is Becky and I'm going to Cádiz, Spain this summer for 3 weeks! This is something I have been looking forward to for so long, and I can't believe that my plane ticket is going to be used in less than two months!

When I fly to Spain, I am going to be with my best friend and her mom, making those 18 hours much more bearable. We will spend one day in Madrid, one in Córdoba and then they will take me to Malaga where I will meet the rest of those going to Cádiz.

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I recently discovered that two families are willing to host me and fortunately they both live in rural areas. Both are families of five, although one family has two daughters and a son, while the other has two sons and a daughter. I was able to see a picture of their homes using Google Maps and they appear to be quite nice. I’m very excited for my trip, and am hoping I will be able to overcome the language barrier.

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Play guitar at the Farmers Market

Selling prints of my artwork: this includes contacting coffee shops or restaurants that are willing to display my artwork then setting my price with a form of contact information and waiting for some calls!

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  Last summer, my family and I hosted a student from France. It was such a fun experience, and I’m really excited to see what it’s going to be like on the other side of things. By being a part of the host family for our student, I know what it’s like to totally invite someone new into the family. Through this experience, I believe it will help me connect with my host family because I share with them similar feelings of what it’s like to host.

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Six months ago, I signed up with ANDEO to do a semester abroad in Spain, not really believing it was actually going to happen.   Now with three days until my departure for Madrid, the reality of this decision is starting to hit.   As part of this experience, I have agreed to to a blog, to document and describe some of the high and low points of my journey.  So, where to begin……...

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Mark your Calendar for these Upcoming International and Cultural Events in Oregon and Washington

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In preparation for my trip to Spain, I have been doing some research on the country. Some of the things that I looked into were Spanish food and music. I decided to interview my friends to see what their knowledge of Spain's culture was.
Here are some short interviews about Spanish foods:

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This year we received 27 applications and made 10 summer abroad scholarship awards and one semester abroad award totaling $5,000. The students were nominated by their language teachers and completed a $500 word essay. They will submit a "before" and "after" blog project. Find out more about our summer abroad scholarship.

Look for blog posts from these students throughout the summer!

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While traveling to another country individually I am aware I am almost like a window into another culture. I feel like I should share as much as I can with my host family about my own culture and lifestyle as possible. Just as I am learning about their culture and country, they are also doing the same.

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Study Abroad Then And Now
 
 
Hi!

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ANDEO's Volunteer Internship Program connects international interns with local non-profit organizations. Interns stay with host families and volunteer 20-30 hours per week. It’s a great opportunity for participants to improve their English, gain work experience, and make an impact on the community!

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Here is an invitation to the Culture Club's upcoming open house. This is a great organization that offers fun, immersion learning experiences for young children. All are welcome! 

Bonjour à tous et Bonne Année!

All are invited to join us for “Portes Ouvertes” at TaborSpace (5441 SE Belmont St 97215) on January 16th from 2:00-3:30 pm. Come by to mingle and see Culture Club in action!

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Interested in leading a group of your students abroad but worried about the financial cost for students? Here are some fundraising activities previous school groups have used to raise funds for the trip:

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Teachers report that inviting international teens to Oregon schools for short-term visits increases student motivation and performance in foreign language classes. In its thirteenth year of the Northwest School Visitor Program, many schools are participating.

Portland, Oregon, October 22, 2015 - Despite budget cuts and record enrollment, schools across Oregon and Washington are opening their doors to teens from France, Spain, and Mexico for a few weeks this winter and spring.

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The first 48 hours of your time abroad will probably be the most exciting of your entire stay. There is so much to discover, so much to explore, so much you don’t know about…These first two days are filled with emotions: you may be a little anxious and worry that your second language is not good enough. You may be struggling to fit in and overwhelmed by everything new you discover.

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My trip to France was absolutely extraordinary, and I cannot wait to share it with you. To start off this blog, I have included a link to a video montage that I filmed over the course of my three weeks with Andeo. I hope you enjoy. I will be adding pictures soon! 

Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHz5FHh35EE

Thanks!

~Sam

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On my trip to Nicaragua, I met some of the most kind, welcoming, and generally lovely people I have ever known. Above are their photos, and below are their corresponding profiles with their name, occupation, and their answers to the questions: "What is your favortie thing about Nicaragua?" and "In your opinion, what is the most important thing to have for a good life?" (Note that all answers are tanslated from Spanish to English)

Photo 1: 

Name: Julian

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Costa rican bbq for my birthday was a great way to spend my 18th

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As much French as we think we know before we go to France, there is always so much more to learn. More specifically, there are expressions that are unique to each region. To help prepare you a bit for your stay in France, I have a list of expressions that I learned while staying in Bordeaux. While some of these expressions are used in all of France, there are also many that are only said in Bordeaux.

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I knew before my trip to Spain that looking at the similarities and differences between the American and Spanish culture without bias would be a difficult task. Nevertheless, I tried my absolute best to observe the variances without judging them. Every culture had their own lifestyle so instead of looking at certain aspects as wrong or weird, it is important to view them as interesting or just  as a matter of fact. And that is exactly what I did.

Teen Life

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Day 1

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While i stayed in Manuel Antonio. My class room was outside and the veiw was amazing,

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Oh say can you see


By the dawn's early light

 


What so proudly we hail

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How many Pacers can we fit onto Mme G's beach throw on the banks of the Loire river?

 How many Pacers can we fit onto Mme G's beach throw on the banks of the Loire River?


More. . .

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Brian stretching and settling back in

 


Her eyes are painted using the same technique as the Mona Lisa's.  Are they following you?

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Clos Lucé, the chateau where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life.


"An obstinate rigor"

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In an old village inside a troglodyte cellar

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Twins for a day in the carriage house of the castle of Chenonceau. 


Our fantastic group

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el martes 7-7-15 9.30h (Tuesday, 7-7-15, 9:30am)

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Art Changes Everything

By Griffin Brandstetter

 

What is your hope or dream for the future you will inherit?

In what way could you make that dream come true?

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Today while at Rancho Santana, a beach resort on 2700 acres, we heard many new perspectives.  One of the employees told us that some of the benefits of the resort for the local community was that now everyone has a motorcycle and the houses are now made of strong material.  

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We started our morning by going to a food market. We got to see new fruits, tons of vegetables, fish and other seafood, all sorts of meat (some of the girls were turned off by what they saw) and tonsof other stuff. We tried sweet plantain chips and spicy ones, we ate things that don´t have translations to English. We ate and then walked back to the school where we ate some of the unknown fruits. Then it was lunchtime and we ate some more (very little actually since we were so full).

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We had our last day of service with the kids today. We played Duck, duck, goose; Red light, green light; colored with them and just spent time with them. Some of the girls were sad to leave and want to go back tomorrow. I can´t believe that the time has gone by so quickly. We have one more day in the country and then head home. Thank you for allowing your girls to go on this adventure.

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This morning we piled onto the bed of an old pick up truck and headed to the small rural town of Cuascoto.  

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el miércoles 1-7-15 18.00h (Wednesday, 7-1-15, 6pm)

Hello family and friends!

Here are some of our adventures over the last several days!

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Today we shadowed a student from Formacion Fenix to see what a typical day would be like.  The Nica students have to be at the bus stop at 6:30 am, to catch a 7:00 am bus. That meant I had to wake up at 5 am to shower, eat breakfast and walk to the bus stop. 

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So this week we are mostly doing service. We started yesterday with a couple hours in the nearby park with a group called COVI. They take in at-risk kids and have activities planned for them throughout the day. Yesterday we started by cleaning up the grounds. We then got to know some of the kids and played some kid games like Red Rover. Today we went back and started with some soccer, then Monkey in the Middle and finally Do You Love Your Neighbor?

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A very hot day, we played volleyball, basketball, badminton & soccer in the shade.

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In the community of El Limon 1 & 2, there are many challenges and few resources towards maintaining good health.  Some examples are access to clean water, medicine, transportation to hospitals, and teen pregnancies.

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Sorry I haven´t been able to post for a few days. Friday we had a cooking class where the girls and I made some chocolates using Ecuadorian chocolate, peanuts and dulce de leche (like a caramel sauce). They were pretty good and most of us ate them right after lunch.

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1) Our guide, Annick

2) L'Hôtel Gouïn, with an incredible façade of Renaissance architecture ( the rest was bombed during WWII and later reconstructed)

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Jan says computers have been overheating, hence they aren't able to post to the blog. Hoowever, all are doing great and have been involved in puppet and mural making the last couple days.  They will try to post agin soon! For now, check out a few new photos in the photo gallery. 

 

 

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Jan says they have been having problems with computers overheating so haven't been able to get a bog post up. However, they've been busy making puppets and working on thier mural, and everyoone is doing great! They will try again soon! 

 

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Today is our last day in Ecuador. We head to the school this morning to take off for the teleférico - a cable car that takes us to Pinchincha and allows us to see the whole city from the top. After lunch t the school, we will have some time to get organized and say goodbye to our families. Our flight leaves at 11:42 p.m. And we will plan to leave the school at 7 to make sure we get there with plenty of time...probably too much time!

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Since we arrived on saturday aftrrnoon, communication with the students has been sporadic. Internet connection has been spotty, one moment the signal is there, the other is gone. Today i' ll be able to get a phone that works here so they can call me if they need to. Today is also the first day of classes and are meeting at the school at 9:30. Veronica will join us Wednesday morning. All looks good!

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After so much excitement and anticipation, we made it to Amsterdam. The flight was fine and some of us got to sleep. Waiting for our flight to Barcelona to leave at 2:10 pm. That is 1:10 am back home.

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This question came up in our leadership activity, Art Changes Everything project and as we were talking about Nica history.  Our leadership activity organized us into quadrants based on our personality.  Through asking the question, “Who do you need to be?” we can work with those opposite to give us the best outcome.  While learning about Nicaragua’s history, we learned about how poorly the U.S. has treated the Nicaraguans.

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We hopped in the van, traveled up a very windy road, and then hiked through the jungle. We reached the sacred area where we met the Shaman.  He did a wonderful job telling us about the history and customs of the indigenous people of Costa Rica.

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Today we visited two places that claim to be the middle of the world. One was a museum that celebrated the indigenous populations. We were able to participate in a few activites that were pretty fun: trying to balance an egg on the head of a nail (only Hannah was able to do it), balancing on the equator while walking forward with your eyes closed and watching how water spins in the northern and southern hemispheres.

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The last blog post was written by Rico Cabrera, Journalist of the Day

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We have been here only 24 hours, but for every hour, it feels like a month.  Arriving in Managua, I was excited and anxious.  I immediately felt a difference- the trees next to the runway were tropical, the man next to me spoke Spanish, and when we left the airport, the heat took my breath away.  Driving to El Limon I noticed school children crossing the street in their blue skirts and white shirts, lots of people were selling candy, coke a cola signs flashed by.  The contrast between th

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The kids had a fun time with hairnets and knives!  All were chopping veggies and pressing out corn tortillas.  The work produced a delicious lunch for all!

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el jueves 25-6-15 10:00h (Thursday, 6-25-15, 10am)

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Jacob entertained the seniors with his magic tricks.

This is Bella Lea and  Sarah Schneider. Yesterday we had so much fun helping out at the elderly home. We all did jobs that the staff usually do alone. Some of the job options were cleaning floors and windows, making and cleaning beds, cutting fruit for snacks (for the helpers), doing laundry, weeding, picking up trash, and helping some of the elders to lunch (IT WAS LIKE 10 HOW CAN THEY EAT SO EARLYYYYYY).

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Today we went to the Vivarium which is basically a reptile museum. We saw many snakes, frogs, toads, caimans and turtles. We got to pet an anaconda. Unfortunately no pictures could be taken inside. We went to the Parque La Carolina which is a huge park in Quito near our school. The girls watched some boys working out with their shirts off with lots of giggling. They also got to pet lots of dogs. These girls love dogs and the dogs love them because they get attention.

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We started our day energized and ready to trek the capital of Costa Rica. We traveled there public by bus from Heredia which was an adventure all in itself. As soon as we got off the bus we moved nonstop getting in as many sights as we could. In order to make it back for Spanish class in time the school sent a private bus. Most of the kids used the ride for a quick siesta! Tomorrow includes Latin dance and cooking class.

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This is Aidan, again. Today was amazing, except for the rain, which was a bit of a downer to our expectations of sunny weather, but that didn't slow us down from fully enjoying the pros of being in a hotel which was a few hundred meters from both the river and the ocean.

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el miércoles, 24-6-15 9:00h (Wednesday, 6-24-15, 9am)

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Today, since we didn´t have an activity planned we ventured out on our own. We decided to go to a local artisan market to buy more gifts. We took a city bus for 25 cents to the market. I tried to get out of the way and have the girls find the market and find our way back to the school on their own. Nobody really wanted to take the lead, but as a team we made it to the market and back. We were packed like sardines on the bus back to the school.

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Everyone is feeling well and having great time!  We drove from the Pacific side to the Caribbean side where we visited The La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful, like stepping inside of a National Geographic magazine. Pictures of every single student with a toucan coming soon!

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Our first excursion, Monday, to the chateau Villandry, known for its fabulous Renaissance gardens.

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Today we took a tour of Quito. We saw some really old churches (1500s) and walked around colonial Quito. We saw the presidential palace where they were having a changing of the guard ceremony. After that we went up to a really high hill called El Panecillo where we took in a great view of Quito. 

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Today is the first day of class!  Before class, we took a public bus to CPI in Heredia.  The weather changed from light rain, to windy, to sunny, to heavy rain, back to mild rain and cooler! Smiles all the way! 

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Wow! I can't believe week one is already gone. It has flown by! The students keep asking me if we can stay longer - My response is always that I'm the wrong person to ask because if it were up to me, I'd stay forever! I think we have some lifelong travelers on our hands now...sorry! 

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We started our first weekend in Ecuador with a trip to Otavalo--about a two hour drive north from Quito. We stopped at a small monument showing the middle of the world. <i think we are going to another one a different day that´s more of a big deal. Once we arrived in Otavalo our first item of business was shopping at the Otavalo Indian Market. The girls were excited to get their shopping on and had a good time bargaining with the natives.

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Logan was having some issues with the blog but he let me know the group arrived safely. Hopefully he will be able to post updates and photos soon! 

 

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This is Aidan (writer), Wyatt, TASMAN, Leah, and Serena. Today, we woke up extra early and took a bus ride (about 3-4 hours), where Percy kept us entertained by teaching us about the local wild life and other fun facts about Tortuguero.

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They'll be arriving in Quito very soon! Buen viaje! 

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Hi, Parents‼️

We had a terrific first day looking for crocs on the Torcales River.  We went into a mangrove where we found colorful crabs and termite nests.  Our terrific guide, Johnny, said there were anteaters close by.  The mouth of the river at the Pacific Ocean was a bird watcher's paradise.  A few of us had the good fortune to spot a pair of red and blue macaws on our day trip.

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The group arrived ahead of schedule (30 min) in Madrid and were all greeted by their Spanish host families. Everyone is now resting and spending the rest of the weekend with their families. 

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Bonjour tout le monde!  Students are settling in to host family life and learning their way around.  We are all looking forward to Monday when classes begin in the most adorable little language school you've ever seen (pictures to come) and we'll have our first chateau excursion.  A bientôt!

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Have a safe and smooth journey! Buen viaje! 

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This is Jack. Today we went to the volcano Poas. We could not see any part of the volcano due to clouds. It took us two hours in a bus to reach the volcano. We spent about an hour and a half hiking around the volcano. After our trip to the volcano we saw a sloth and went to local store. After we arrived back in San Isidro we went to our daily Spanish classes and played games. Today, I learned about the Volcano Poas and some history about Costa Rica and who Juan Santamaria was.

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The class helped our community today by picking up trash.

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Clayton had a great day celebrating his 14th birthday. The girls were really sweet and gathered decorations. We had a piñata and cake. It was typical of a Mexican birthday except the director told me to put flour in the piñata with the candy. That was a nice surprise for the kids.

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Sorry for the delay in posting!

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The first day the kids were tested individually for their Spanish level than broken up into groups of 5 with one teacher. They have class for two hours a day sometimes in the classroom and at times outside. Some kids have homework like making a family tree of thier American and Costa Rican families.

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Have a great trip! Buen viaje! 

 

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When you kids get home the kids should be able to make you tortillas with arroz con pollo. Aroz con pollo is eaten on Sundays or special occasions. We all ate it today for lunch and then Clayton's mamatica prepared it for his birthday dinner as well. 

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Have a great trip! 

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Well, it was a long flight to Madrid followed by a mad dash to catch our flight to Sevilla with less than 45 minutes between arrival and departure, but our first group of students arrived tired, safe and sound in Sevilla on Sunday morning.

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learning to salsa dance

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soccer with the local boys

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Yesterday we arrived safely to San Isidro and were welcomed by our host families.

Today the kids all reported that their families are really nice and they all have their own bedrooms.

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Pic # 1 San Isidro roof tops and San Jose in the distance Pic #2 our new amigo

First day at the school

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The group arrived safely to San Jose and spend their first night with their host families in San Isidro de Heredia. The photo was taken after their scavenger hunt around the town, in front of the main church in San Isidro. They had their first Spanish classes afterward. Check the photo gallery for more photos! 

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Hola parents

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We made it! Flights went smoothly, luggage arrived, and Diego was there and waiting for us when we got through customs. It doesn't get much more successful than that for a long day of travels!

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An early morning departure from PDX for West Sylvan. Have a smooth flight to San Jose!

 

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And they're off! Buen viaje a todos! 

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We're so close - the countdown is on! 

I can't wait to share my love for Ecuador with all of my students. It is one of the most amazing countries, filled with wonderful food, people, art, and history.

Here's to a life changing, eye-opening trip! Don't forget your passport!

Mehl

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This year we received 24 applications and made 13 summer abroad scholarship awards totaling $4,000. The students were nominated by their language teachers and completed an essay and a blog proposal in addition to their detailed host family applications. Find out more about our summer abroad scholarship.

Look for blog posts from these students throughout the summer!

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Whether you have already applied to go abroad this summer or are still thinking about how to make it happen, we asked some former participants to share their best tips and advice on how to make the most of your summer abroad experience!

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By Joan, Elizabeth Markleson, host mom

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Most of our programs allow you to choose your own program dates, flights, and length. Some advantages to this are that families have control over booking flights and are able to use frequent flyer miles. One challenge, however, is that students must travel independently to their program destinations. Some teens are understandably nervous about flying alone.

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You will need a valid passport to participate in all of our programs abroad including summer abroad programs, semester or academic year programs, and gap programs. Some gap programs may also require a visa, depending on your location and length of stay.  Please see the following tips to help make sure your follwoing documents are valid and up-to-date. If you already have a passport, make sure it does not expire less than six months before your scheduled return flight.

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The holidays are a great time to ask friends and family to help support your summer abroad program. Take a look at these holiday fundraising ideas from our previous participants!

Many students ask for support toward their trip abroad instead of gifts, but here you'll find some additional winter fundraising activities from our students.

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Here are some tips to help you write a great letter to your host family.

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application. It’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not.

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"Going on an exchange for one month has been the most humbling, yet empowering thing I have ever done in my life. I learned how to be grounded when literally everything around me was different and plans constantly changed."

By Maris Yurdana, 2014 homestay immersion participatnt to Spain

From Almost-Canada to Almost-Africa

The view from my bedroom window in Portland, Oregon and in Estepona, Spain

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