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And the Cafeteria Music Battle Continues…

The heated competition over which language academy will dominate the Pomona cafeteria with music and choreography continues! Frary Dining Hall came alive yesterday when the Chinese Academy broke out into a dance routine that had everyone’s arms waving and feet stomping. Ellery, the Chinese Academy dorm head, led the group from the front with booming music and lots of singing. The Chinese Academy students really enjoyed their share of cafeteria limelight. Now we wait to see which Academy will try to one up us!

-Colin Edwards and Lindsay Call, Program Assistants

Freestylin’ During Free Time: The Chinese Academy’s Pool Day

With summer days reaching up to 100 degrees, Language Academy students seek every opportunity to cool off by taking a dip in the two outdoor pools on the Pomona College campus. The Haldeman pool is available for student use in the mornings before breakfast and during free time in the afternoons. This 50 meter by 25 yard Olympic-sized pool has lanes set up for lap swimming, two water polo goals and two large diving boards for the more daring students. This morning, I accompanied three of my students (Noah, A.J. and William) to the pool for an early morning swim.

Pardonnez-Moi! Learning French Social Conventions

The French Academy beat the heat again with almost half of the students spending their activity period at the pool for a well-deserved dip after a long day of classes. The theme of the day began at morning assembly where students debated the importance of using vous  instead of tu when addressing a police officer. Conversations did not stop there though as the cafeteria buzzed with discussion on the topic of the day, social do’s and don’ts. Students were especially careful to accompany each burp and belch with a pardon.

¿Qué Te Pasa, Calabaza?

Tuesday began with laughter and energy, as some of our boys presented a sketch of comical social interactions. These included finding a seat in the dining hall, secret handshakes and overbearing greetings. The crowd favorite, however, was definitely “how (not) to talk to a girl”.

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.

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