Final Day

After three weeks, our second session is Cadiz is coming to an end. We still have one more day of classes, but our final exams are completed. For the next day, we can each take a breath and seize the final moments we have here. We each have different priorities as to what we will do. Many will go to beach, some will have their last tapa, as for me, I’ll be heading back to one of my favorite cafes that I have discovered. I’ll sit there and read as people walk by continuing on their daily routines. When I do this, I feel like I am apart of the community. As if I really lived here in Spain. I feel like I am blending into everyone and everything else around me. I’ve noticed that its actually a very Spanish thing to do, people watch. When you are in the square you will see children running and playing as the elderly peacefully watch.

I have gotten into a pattern while I have been here. Three weeks seems to be a perfect amount of time to feel utterly immersed in the culture, but still yet so far from it. I’m ready to leave Spain, but also ready to come back again. I think we are each reflecting now on what has this time meant for us. Few have been here solely for the credits, most were here for the experience. For the last week, I personally have been panic struck. I’ve been in Spain for six weeks in two different areas, yet I feel like I do not know enough about Spanish culture or language still. When I left the US, I expected to return with a deep understanding of Spain and Spanish. I forgot that the more you learn, the more you know, the more you know, more you must learn.


The view from our classroom.

After long discussions with my new friends and teachers I have come to the conclusion that I need to come back, that I need to learn more, and that I love Spanish for more than its convince in the world. I’m not the only one that will be leaving Cadiz with this mindset. Many of my fellow amigos have already started planning a long term trips back to study in Spain. I am so amazed how what can seem like a simple college study abroad program can really change the course of peoples lives. Some in big ways other in small. Thank you Profesora Matz for providing us all with such an amazing program. Each day you helped foster friendships, learning, and exploration between the group.


My roommate Jen and I on my last night in Cadiz.

When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Eat Sushi

My time, and everyone in the group’s time here in Spain is winding up. I have long since been counting the days, as I enjoy keeping track of things, but now a mere 3 days away from our arrival on US soil, the feeling is really beginning to sink in.

Lucky for us (and this is the only time I will ever say this) we have our even sooner approaching final exam to keep us busy! For me, this exam is a nice test to see what knowledge I have accumulated over my time here in Cadiz. Needless to say studying and a final review is oh so necessary, but I am IMAG1239eager and slightly nervous to take and get back the results. Heres a riddle for you, “Whats unexpected, calms the nerves and feeds the soul of a college student?” Sushi from the Mercado de Cadiz.

Yes. I know, “Sushi in Spain? Isn’t that more of a Japanese thing?”, you say. Why yes, yes it is, but in reality 80% of Spain’s red tuna export goes to Japan. Now knowing this I urge you to think about how much tuna sushi there is and the fact that Cadiz is known for its wide variety of  extremely fresh fish(sold openly at the Mercado each day save for Monday). “Hm, maybe Cadiz isn’t such a bizarre place to find amazing sushi after all”, and let me tell you it IS amazing. Would you just take a moment to appreciate the picture. The best California rolls and red tuna nigiri I have ever tasted have been in Cadiz. I liked the Cali rolls so much that I ordered some more rolls to take home for dinner(developing a minor sushi addiction).

In addition to my savory sushi, I had my long awaited canela y azucar( cinnamon and sugar) crepe. It might not look like much, but inside this thing is filled with flavor and the perfect crepe consistency. From week one I have IMAG1234been craving a crepe and I’m proud to say that I finally got one. Before today, just 3 days before I leave, I had just never been in the right place at the right time with the right about of money, but oh was today different. I also acquired this morsel in the eating area of the Cadiz Mercado. Seriously, no regrets.

Morals for today: Study hard, but make time to enjoy life, especially in the last few days. Just because you haven’t tried something up until this point, doesn’t mean that that its too late. And lastly, for the sake of everything good in the world, please keep calm and try the sushi.

“A Different Language is a Different Vision of Life”

“A Different Language is a Different Vision of Life” (quote by Federico Fellini)

By Mariam Taha

It is hard to believe there is only one week left of our trip in Spain. Looking back, I feel like I have improved greatly upon my Spanish, specifically when it comes to speaking. I arrived knowing that the biggest thing I wanted to work on and improve was my speaking and pronunciation. I have now experienced, and I confirm, that studying abroad is the best way to learn a language. Here in Spain, we are completely immersed in the language, while we are at home with our host families, at school, site-seeing, or on the streets speaking with locals.

People from other parts of the world or even other parts of Spain have claimed that it can be difficult to understand when people from Southern Spain speak Spanish, but I have not encountered any difficulties. I can definitely hear and recognize the Cádiz accent, but I have no problem understanding people when they speak. The only thing I need to work on is understanding native Spanish speakers when they begin to speak very fast, no matter where they are from.

Our classes here are very discussion and conversation-based, which makes sense considering listening and speaking are two of the biggest aspects of a language. The classroom setting is a great place to practice because there are students of all different levels and we can help each other without feeling awkward or uncomfortable (as some may feel while speaking in public with a local). It is also nice to have the professor there to help us and correct us when necessary. We get to practice speaking about so many different topics, therefore practicing using new vocabulary and grammar all the time.

I feel like I got the most practice speaking Spanish at our meals with my host mom, Pacquita. We would eat lunch or dinner and end up just sitting there and talking for a long time. I would talk about my classes and various experiences in Cádiz, and she would talk about her past and her life as it is now. She is a very interesting, kind, sweet person and I am so lucky to have had her as my host mother in Spain. We can understand each other very well when we speak and she also makes sure I understand what she is saying and will explain it using other words if needed.

I am so glad I have had this experience because now I feel much more confident in my second language. I truly love the language and I think learning a new language is so much fun. This is happening at such a great time too because I am about to get started in the health field, where knowing Spanish will certainly be useful. I unquestionably recommend studying abroad in a foreign country to anyone wishing to learn a new language, or improve upon one they have already studied.

Our Spanish class with our professor

Our Spanish class with our professor

Some classmates at the top of the Torre Tavira

Some classmates at the top of the Torre Tavira

First impressions of Granada

I am amazed at how after 5weeks, Spanish cities still are able to captivate me. This weekend we spent about four hours traveling from Cadiz in the city of Granada. Before leaving Cadiz, I had spoken to many people who said Granada is their favorite city. After doing some research on the history, food, and people I had high expectations for the city. After a long, windy, and beautiful bus ride we reached in Granada around 2:45pm. Although we had only been on the bus, most of us were exhausted. We took a short siesta in the hotel, mainly poolside.

Around 4pm, we ventured out into the city of Granada. As a group, we toured through the city, along with a wonderful guide. He explained the historical significance of many areas in the city including the cathedral, the Moroccan market, and the Arabic area. The cathedral was massive and was in actually three different buildings. To my surprise, in the cathedral were the tombs of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This underlined the great historical significance of this city. I was shocked by the overall beauty and energy that surged through the city. Whether I was looking at solid gold master pieces in the cathedral or the people relaxing with a drink and a tapa, I knew that this was not going to be a boring weekend in Granada. Once the tour finished, together with a few friends, I went back to the Moroccan market to explore. I was brought back to summers in Israel, in the open air markets, haggling, searching, and feeling utterly overwhelmed. There was so much to look at! Beautiful things were everywhere in sight. After the market, we went back to the Arabic area. I bought a dress and had a Moroccan woman put henna on my arm. For the hour or two that I spent in those two areas, I felt like I had been taken from Spain and brought to Morocco.

Moroccan Market Place

Moroccan Market Place p.c. Alexandra Amores

Now it was time for dinner, which meant time for tapas. I was so excited to try tapas in Granada, because I knew that with a purchase of a drink they would bring out a tapa to match. Although I knew this, I was still shocked when it happened. By the time I had finished with my tapas there wasn’t even a need to really order a meal, but for the sake of delicious Spanish food, it was my duty to have more. We all quickly ran back to the hotel to meet with the group. We would be going to a Flamenco show. While in Cadiz, we had gone to a flamenco class and talked extensively about it in class. However it had never occurred to me that there are different types of flamenco. The flamenco in Granada was very different than the flamenco in Cadiz. My observations were that flamenco in Granada was more staged, dramatic, and had a stronger focus on dancing. While in Cadiz, it is much more toned down, very serious, and filled with emotion. A group of five people preformed for us; It was an intimate venue and the performers were feeding off of our enthusiasm.


Flamenco Show


Around 12:30am were headed back to the hotel. After an exhausting, busy, and wonderful day, I laid to rest in an air conditioned room for the first time in 5weeks.

Conversation with a side of La Cena

Vamos a ver, where to start…oh I know! The best place to always start and finish is the food. From my 4 weeks here in Cadíz I have come to realize the importance of meals within Andalusian culture. Wether it be sitting down for a 11751773_10206251328775899_8073518702978289032_ndelicious home cooked lunch (because yes, they do that here) or going out for dinner (all hail the mighty tapas menu), there is always some aspect of each meal of the day, and even snacks, that holds some cultural significance and an even smaller personal significance that I have come to enjoy. It truly is an emotion that you must experience for yourself.

This year has been the hottest in quite some time in Cadíz. It seems that the wind has stopped blowing and the sun is taking its revenge on humanity. Needless to say, we are the tourists walking around during siesta time (the hottest part of the day), or even after ( its still hot), sweating like mad and forever a little dehydrated, but hey, our calves look great!

After such a day like today for example, when the sun had gone down, me and another chica in the group went out to eat. Now we did not have the typical Spanish tapas, actually was had Mexican and Italian food, but the type of food is beside the point. It is great to experience the Spanish cuisine, but more importantly is to immerse yourself in the culture and to learn by doing. As I mentioned earlier meals play a very important role. People here go out for ice cream during the day. There is never a time where I have seen an empty heladería (ice cream store). And likewise people go out for dinner. Though dinner here is not as large as the dinner in the USA it is muy importante for the people of Andaluz. Dinner here is more about the conversation than the actual food. That is not to say that dinner isn’t always excellent because I’ve not had a bad dinner yet, but more than the great food Helado de palmerais the great person you are sharing the experience with. Really, the food goes with your conversation, the conversation doesn’t go with your meal.

So with that bit of knowledge I urge you to try new foods, stay hydrated, find every excuse to talk to everyone(en Español, por supuesto), have that post dinner ice cream because why not, and take some time at the beginning, middle, and/or end of your day to sit down and have a conversation with someone about Mexican food in Spain.

It Is All in the “Flip”

Todo es en el “Flip”

It is all in the “flip”

By Caterina Francisco

Cuando vistes un lugar nuevo, algo muy divertido para hacer es tratar unos platos principales. Está noche fuimos a un restaurante que se llama Transvaal, donde miramos una demonstración en cómo preparar el salmorejo y las tortillas de patatas. Mi anfitriona ya me ha hecho el gazpacho, que es similar con los ingredients usados para el salmorejo. El salmorejo es una sopa de puree que consiste de pan, tomate, aceite, vinagre y sal. Está servido frío con jamón y huevo por encima de la sopa. Estuve un poca nerviosa de probarlo con los huevos y el jamón encima porque esta tradicionalmente servido así, pero si no te gusta, puede ser opcional. Para hacerlo, primero necesites una batidora, o como todos los españoles usan, sus “thermomixes”. El thermomix es un robot de la cocina, que puede cortar, mezclar y batir todos los ingredientes al mismo tiempo. Después, ponga todos los ingredientes, además del aceite, dentro de la maquina y mezclar hasta que llegues a la consistencia que quieres. Mientras que está mezclando, añada el aceite hasta que la liquidación empieza a ocurrir. Como nuestro instructor nos ensenó, todo es de ojo. No hay una receta concreta que el instructor usó para mostrarnos y esto es lo que pienso es divertido de la comida española. Hay muchas diferentes tipos y maneras en como puedes preparar la comida. Lo que es importante es de escoger la manera que a tí te gusta.

When visiting a new country, something very fun to do is try the main dishes of that region. Tonight we went to a restaurant called Transvaal, where we watched a demonstration on how to make el salmorejo and a potato tortilla. My host mom has already made me gazpacho, which is similar in some ingredients used to the salmorejo. Salmorejo is a pureed soup, which consists of bread, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and salt. It is traditional served cold and topped with hard-boiled egg and ham. I was a little nervous at first to try it with the egg and ham on top, because it is traditionally served like this, but if you do not like it, it can be optional. In order to make it, first you are going to need a blender or, just like the Spanish, use a thermomix. The thermomix is a “robot of the kitchen”, that can literally chop, mix and blend all of the ingredients at the same time. After getting all of your ingredients, put them all in the blender, besides the olive oil, and begin to mix them all together until you start to get the consistency you would like. While it is mixing is when you add the olive oil until it starts to get into a nice liquidized form. Like our instructor informed us, everything is by eye. He did not use an actual recipe to make the salmorejo, and this is what I think makes Spanish food so much fun. There are many different types and ways in which to prepare food. What is most important is to choose the way you like best!

Después de preparar el salmorejo, nuestro instructor preparó una tortilla de patata. He aprobado muchas tortillas desde que llegué y es posiblemente mi comida más favorita de España. La tortilla es muy fácil para hacer y solamente necesita cinco minutos para cocinar. Lo que es más importante es el “flip”. He escuchado mi anfitriona me lo explicar “el flip” muchas veces. Básicamente es cuando la tortilla está cocida, tengas que hacer un volteo con un plato encima del sartén para que la tortilla queda en su forma. Hay una expresión que el cocinero nos dijo cuál fue: “No se puede hacer la tortilla sin romper los huevos” y esto significa el esfuerzo que necesita para lograr una meta o un sueño. La cocina en un país extranjera es divertida porque puede reflejar lo que has aprendido como una persona individualmente, y de la nueva cultura y gente. ¡Buen provecho!

After getting the salmorejo ready, our instructor showed us how to prepare a potato tortilla. I have tried many tortillas since I arrived, and I have to say this is probably my most favorite kind of Spanish food! The tortilla is very easy to make and only needs about five minutes to cook. What is most important when making the tortilla is the “flip”. I have heard my host mom explain this many times. Basically when the egg is cooked, you need to make a flip by putting a plate on top of the frying pan in order for the tortilla to keep its form. There is an old Spanish expression that our instructor told us which was: “You can not make the tortilla if you do not break the eggs” and this represents the effort that you need in order to achieve a goal or dream. Cooking in a foreign country is fun because it reflects what you have learned as an individual person, and of the new people and culture. Bon appetite!

Preparation is key

Preparation is key

Eagerly waiting to try everything :-)

Eagerly waiting to try everything 🙂

It's all in the flip

It’s all in the flip

The finished product: a perfect, round tortilla

The finished product: a perfect, round tortilla

Exploring the Southern Coast

¡Hola! Soy Caterina Francisco, escribiendo del cuento de Mariam!

Hello! I am Caterina Francisco, writing from Mariam’s account!

Alrededor de la costa del sur de España, hay tres ciudades más importantes que empezaron la historia de España. Hoy visitamos las tres ciudades, cuales son Vejer de la Frontera, Bolonia y Tarifa. Vejer de la Frontera es una ciudad muy conocida por su color blanco en casi todas de los edificios y casas. Mi primera impresión fue que esta ciudad es muy tranquila porque cuando llegamos había casi nadie en las calles.

The history of Spain is said to have been started by the settlement within three main cities, which line the southern coast of Spain. Today we visited those three cities which are Vejer de la Frontera, Bolonia and Tarifa. Vejer de la Frontera is a city very well known for the white painted style of buildings and homes. My first impression of this city is that it is very quiet, because when we arrived there was hardly anyone outside in the streets.

Tuve que presentar para mi grupo sobre un poco de información sobre las ciudades: Vejer, Bolonia and Tarifa- la ciudad más al sur del país. Vejer de la Frontera está ubicada a la derecha del rio Bárbate, en una colina y es conocida por su pueblo que es casi totalmente blanco. Salimos está mañana a las ocho y media por autobús para ir a Vejer. Cuando llegamos en Vejer, saludamos a nuestra guía. Ella fue muy simpática y sabía mucha información sobre la ciudad y lo que ha ocurrido allí. Caminamos mucho tiempo adentro de la ciudad por las calles principales. Saque muchas fotos de las vistas y de las casas blancas. Fue maravillosa de ver como la gente de esta ciudad son muy amables y si necesite ayuda, ellos se asisten inmediatamente. Lo que fue especial para ver fue las calles y los edificios. Las calles son tan estrechas y algunos tuvieron que ser reconstruidas después del terremoto que ocurrió en Portugal en 1755. Es muy interesante para mi cuando puedo aprender y conectar algo que ya sabía de mis origines o de mis estudios portugueses a algo que ocurrió en el mundo hispano.

While visiting these cities for the day, I presented to my group some interesting information on Vejer, Bolonia and Tarfia, the southern most city in Spain. Vejer is located on the right of the Barbate River, on a hill and is known for its town dressed in white. We left this morning from Cádiz at 8:30 in the morning by bus in order to go to Vejer. Taking the bus was a great way to really see some of the countryside of Andalucía. When we arrived in Vejer, we greeted our tour guide. She was very nice and knew so much about the city and what has happened there. We walked a while inside the city through some of the main streets. I took many photos of the views and of the white houses. It was marvelous to see how nice the people were, and if you need help, they can assist right away. The buildings and streets were very interesting to see. They were narrow and some of the buildings had to be reconstructed after the after-effects of the earthquake that hit Portugal in 1755. It is very interesting to me when I can learn and connect something to my heritage or my Portuguese studies to the Hispanic world.

Después de visitar Vejer, fuimos a la ciudad Bolonia y visitamos Baelo Claudia, las ruinas romanas. Visitamos el museo que mayormente fue afuera de un edificio. Baleo Claudia fue abandonada en el siglo VI, donde tenía mucho terremotos. Me gustó mucho de ver las ruinas y pienso que es muy importante para una persona como yo de entender una civilización antigua para entender como llegamos a nuestro tiempo de hoy. Después de ver las ruinas, fuimos a la ciudad de Tarifa. Había mucho calor hoy, pero todavía podíamos disfrutar la playa y las tiendas. Después de caminar por la ciudad un poco, fuimos a mojar nuestros pies en el agua. El agua del mar mediterráneo fue tan frio que solamente podía poner mis pies. La vista de África en la distancia fue increíble. Nunca he imaginado que alguna día yo visitaría un lugar como Tarifa y definitivamente quiero volver algún día. Me siento muy tranquila aquí en Tarifa, es como el mar da el mejor equilibrio con el calor de la ciudad.

After visiting Vejer, we went to the city of Bolonia, where we visited Baelo Claudia, the Roman ruins. We visited the museum that is actually entirely outside. Baelo Claudia was abandoned in the 6th Century, after a serious of earthquakes occurred. I liked seeing the ruins a lot and I think it is very important to understand ancient civilizations in order to understand how we arrived to where we are today. After seeing the ruins, we went to the city of Tarifa. It was so hot today, but we could still enjoy the beach and the stores. After walking through the city for a little while, we went to wet our feet in the water. The water was so cold in the Mediterranean Sea that I could barely stand to put my feet in! The view of Africa in the distance was incredible. I would have never imagined that one day I would visit a place like Tarifa and I definitely want to come back. I feel very peaceful in Tarifa, it is like the ocean gives a great balance to the heat from the city.


The iconic pueblo blanco (white town) copied by many other cities

The iconic pueblo blanco (white town) copied by many other cities

The many archways throughout the city of Vejer

The many archways throughout the city of Vejer

Ancient town market of what once was Baelo Claudia

Ancient town market of what once was Baelo Claudia

The water was freezing! But at least is came with a great view of Africa!

The water was freezing! But at least is came with a great view of Africa!

El Mercado (The Market)

By Mariam Taha

To get the most out of our study abroad experience, it is important to immerse ourselves in the everyday lives and culture of the community. An example of this is following the routine of the locals. One way we did this was on Saturday morning, we went to the market. Going to the market is a very popular thing for people to do, usually on Saturdays. This way they get their fresh food for the rest of the week. This was made very clear to us because of how crowded it was. Some people even go every day to the market so they can plan their meals around whichever food seems the freshest that day. The market has fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and more. The market is neatly organized so that all the fish is one place, fruit in one place, and so on.

I personally love fresh fruit so I was elated when we got to try a few fruits native to this area. We got to try a cactus fruit known as “prickly pear.” It was sweet and tasted a little like kiwi to me. We also got to try “la pera de San Juan,” which is a small, juicy pear that is only in season for a very short time here. Since its time is limited, it is very popular right now and also slightly on the more expensive side. I absolutely loved it and I am lucky that my host family serves them with almost every meal.

This is a distinct part of the Spanish culture which is very different from the United States. In some towns in the United States, there may be farmers markets once a week or sometimes only once a month. For the majority of people, they get their produce from the supermarket. At the supermarkets in America, produce is not always the freshest and can sometimes be pricey if it was shipped from another area because the local climate is not adequate for growing that food. Here in Spain, it differs because most people get the majority of their food from the local market, and whatever they cannot find there, they will get from the supermarket. The food does not have to travel long since it is all locally grown, fished, etc. Therefore, the food is very fresh and the quality is much better, compared to that of the United States.

I feel that going to the market was a great experience because we got to see something that is so prominent in the everyday lives of people here.

Market Sign

Market Sign

Mucha Gente (Many people!)

Various Market Fronts

Fresh Fruits & Veggies



Hello world!

Complete 1-4 semesters of Spanish language in 3-6 weeks during the winter or summer in Cadiz, Spain.

Professor Maria Matz will assist you throughout the program on-site.

Reside in one of the oldest cities in western Europe by the sea.


Learn more about this program on our Facebook page or by checking out the program’s brochure (pdf).

You can also read about the program from two student participants who blogged in 2013.

Cadiz.SU14-PLaza de espana sevilla