Cooking Class

Making Paella

Our group is fortunate enough to have activities outside of class that helps us learn more about the culture. This weeks activity was learning how to make paella from people who have perfected it. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that is served in a big skillet. Paella normally consists of chicken, chorizo, vegetables, various types of seafood, and rice with saffron.  I love to cook and I was very excited to learn how to make a dish that I love to eat. I originally thought we were only going to be able to watch them make the paella however, they let each of us take turns being the chef. After watching the chefs do each step, we were each given a cutting board so we could put our skills to the test. 

Sangria and food culture

In addition to learning how to make paella, we were also taught how to make sangria. Sangria is a traditional Spanish drink that is made of red wine, rum, sprite, lemon juice, sugar and various types of chopped fruit. Typically the varieties of fruit include apples, oranges, nectarines, and lemons. The chefs were so welcoming to our group and excited to show us how to make a dish that is a staple for them. After about an hour of salvation, the paella was finally ready. This paella was worth the wait it was completely delicious. We all had so much fun cooking together. In Spain, meals are a big part of the day. Meals are a time to catch up with friends or loved ones and to spend quality time together. In Cadiz, family plays a big role in the way life is lived. Here the family is everything and it is noticeable in the culture. In the US our society moves at a very fast pace. This pace became exceedingly obvious once we arrived in Cadiz. In the US meals are often not eaten with family at a sit-down atmosphere but normally taken on the go. I have to admit I almost never take time out of my day to sit down and talk to my loved ones during meal times but this experience has made me want to put more of an effort into doing so.


Although the food and drinks were great the best part of the experience was getting to know each other better as a group. Today brought us closer because we were able to exchange stories of some of our favorite foods. Cooking is a great way to learn more about people and connect in a different way than we normally do. Cooking is also an easy way to connect with my host family. Sharing the kinds of food that we eat helps us both get a better understanding of the culture we come from. This trip has been such a great way to meet people that I never would have met. We are meeting people our classes from different parts of the world like China, Russia, and California. Additionally, we are also meeting people from our university that we wouldn’t have otherwise met. Cadiz is so beautiful and this experience has been so rewarding I’m so happy I decided to go on this trip. I strongly encourage everyone to study abroad!


A Day in Gibraltar

The planning

When I told my family and friends about my trip to Cadiz they all told me that I need to take a trip to see the Rock of Gibraltar. This weekend I decided to take their advice and I took a day trip to go see what all the hype was about. From Cadiz Rock of Gibraltar is less than a three-hour bus ride away. The bus takes a little bit of planning but it’s fairly inexpensive and simple to figure out. I stayed in an air bnb at the linea de Concepcion which is about a 20-minute walk from the rock of Gibraltar. You’ll need to walk into Gibraltar unless you have a car or decide to take a bus. The host of my air bnb gave me a lot of helpful information about the area and helped make my trip go smoother. I would highly recommend staying on the Spanish side if you are planning a trip here because it is absolutely beautiful and you can still pay for everything with euros. Before you can start your trip to Gibraltar you have to go through customs so it’s necessary to bring your passport. The rock is technically part of Brittish territory, how cool is that?

The hike

To see the rock close up there are two options. You can either take in the views from the cable cars or on foot. If you’re feeling adventurous hiking is the way to go.  I decided I was up for the challenge and choose to do it this way. Disclaimer prepare to get your steps in. If you’re planning to do the hike make sure you dedicate at least four hours of time to get from top to bottom. Sneakers and a lot of water are a must! There is so much to see so you will want to take a lot of pictures and breaks to admire the scenery. The best part of the hike is the views they are completely breathtaking. On a clear day, you can see Spain and Morocco from the top.

The Mokeys

Another main attraction of the hike was the monkeys. At first, I wasn’t sure what type of behavior to expect from the monkeys. Before we reached the part of the mountain that was the ape’s den there were warning signs that the monkeys might become aggressive if they are confined on the stairs. I’ve never seen a monkey in person before so it was such an amazing opportunity to be so close to them. While I was busy worrying if the monkeys were going to be aggressive or not they were preoccupied eating fruit and relaxing and well just being monkeys. Be aware that some of the monkeys are curious and will try to steal your belongings. I first-hand experienced an attempted robbery. Luckily, I was able to come away with all my belongings ( it was more cute than scary). In general, they are very relaxed and don’t seem to mind receiving all the photo attention. On the way down we took the Meditteranean steps and the views continued to amaze me. At the end of the day, I was tired and sweaty but it was worth every step. Gracias Gibraltar.