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Comillas Academy Pays a Visit to “Albergue La Peña”

After watching the movie “The Way” in Spanish, our students learned about the importance of this pilgrimage, the traditions behind the story of James (Santiago), and the different paths people take to get to Santiago de Compostela. Comillas just so happens to be the 15th day on the North Route of El Camino de Santiagoand has a nice but very small shelter.

Have You Ever Been Chased by a “Cabezón”?

Have you been chased by a “Cabezón”? We have. Although not many know the origin about this tradition, during the festivities of Saint Peter, a few “cabezones” (translation: big heads), march through the streets and chase people at the local plaza. The more you try to hide or run away, the more they will chase you.

Who is Cooking up the Spanish Academy’s Tasty Meals?

It’s our pleasure to introduce Juan, the cook at Abbas Hotel. He is a gregarious Cantabrian who has worked at the hotel for a few years now. Aside from being the person responsible for the Comillas Academy’s meals, Juan is also an educator (he has a college degree in education and some teaching experience). When Juan is not cooking up delicious meals for our students, he enjoys playing paddleball.

Here, Juan is with one of our students after an interview that she had to do for one of her projects; Juan was very kind to dedicate time for her to interview him. Provecho!

Students Try on Traditional Cantabrian Costumes

Carlos Pérez Balbas and his wife, Maria Josefa “Curri” Fernandez Sampedro came to El Esplón to show their traditional Cantabrian costumes. They have several dresses, a few general decorations and a huge pride for their ancestors. We had one of the most beautiful experiences so far with people from Comillas. They live just across the street from El Espolón (our school). Once Saul, the person who is in charge of El Espolón, learned we could be interested in this intercultural experience, he contacted them to visit our Academy.

Learning Spanish in Style!

Time at the Language Academy is flying- it is hard to believe we’re already entering our third week! Students who were hesitant at the beginning of the program are now speaking with much greater fluency.

Dance, Dance and more Dancing: Prepping for the World Expo

Cultural exploration classes are meant to broaden students’ perspectives on a certain culture, and for today, students learned about the two different sides to China’s current culture. In Ding Laoshi’s class today, students decorated paper lanterns with calligraphy. An ancient practice of sending wishes to the heaven’s, students got the opportunity to personalize their lanterns with characters that represent them, such as their names, their zodiac animals, words that represent them and their own wishes.

El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James)

Comillas happens to be one of the stops on the northern route of the famous Way of Saint James or commonly known as El Camino de Santiago.  Comillas Academy students watched the film called “The Way” starring Martin Sheen as an introduction to the many reasons why hundreds of people annually make this pilgrimage.  

Henna حناء Tattoo Crazy!

In cultural exploration class, students had a chance to learn about a wonderful plant we call henna (حناء). It is a plant whose leaves are ground down and mixed with either lemon, oil, tea or other liquid to make its paste form. After letting it rest, it then can be used for dying hair, skin or fabric. In the Arabic culture, henna is used as a celebratory tradition prior to a bride’s wedding day. Women gather for the Henna where the bride wears traditional clothing like a thoub, ثوب. The henna is unique in color and design to each part of the Arabic world.

Arabic Academy Shenanigans

Let’s take a step into Lyon Hall: the Arabic Academy’s dorm. On any given day, you’ll find water balloons, sidewalk chalk and birthday celebrations!

Arabesque Ensemble Visits Arabic Academy

Who can keep a beat? The greatest benefit MMLA brings to learning a language is the total immersion component. Today the Arabic Academy got a visit from the Arabesque music ensemble. A major part of any culture is music and to be able to hear the rhythmic distinction here in Pomona was a treat. Arabesque taught students about different patterns specific to Arabic music. Students learned about the oud, tabla drum, violin and kanoon.

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