All Posts

Spain Language & Leadership

July 1, 2019

Our journey began after a long night of traveling to Madrid, Spain where a bus took us to a hotel right in the middle of the city. After settling in, we all got to know each other by playing some games. Soon after, we walked to a well known restaurant Chocolatería San Gines for some “churros con chocolate.” We dipped our churros into steaming-hot delicious, rich chocolate! When we were finished with our mid-day snack, we headed back to our hotel for a much needed short siesta. We all got a chance to call home (Hola Mamá! Hola Papá!) Our siesta rested us enough to walk to lunch and explore a popular park in the heart of Madrid, Parque del Retiro. There were so many beautiful sculptures and buildings in the park, like The Palacio del Cristal. After discovering a cool and shaded area within the park, we settled down and got to know each other a little better. We talked about what being here in Spain means to us. After a little more relaxation in the shade, we felt ready to go rowing in small local boats in groups of three. It wasn’t easy steering the boats but we got the hang of it! After building up an appetite, we walked to another restaurant for dinner to conclude our day. The meals here are huge and often include three whole courses! The restaurant had a cave-like feel to it and it was the perfect way to end our first day in Spain.

– Austin W.

July 2, 2019

After a night of much-needed rest, we got all packed up and ready to go on our tour of Madrid. Our tour guide was born and raised in Madrid and she was very passionate about the city. She has so much energy, enthusiasm, and historical knowledge. She even taught us a couple flamenco moves! We got to see the west side of the city (the oldest part) where we saw the Royal Palace the Plaza Mayor and more. We even went to a secret cookie shop in a church where the nuns put cookies on a turn table without you ever seeing their faces. The cookies fell apart in your mouth and were so good. We went to a restaurant for lunch that was conveniently right next to our hotel. No time for a siesta today! We walked directly to the Prado Museum to see and appreciate the art from artist like Goya, Velasquez, and Bautista Maino. We all agreed that the hour and a half flew by since there was so much to look at. It was too soon before we had to leave and walk back to Parque del Retiro. We played games and clarify the rules for the trip agreed-upon and discussed the non-negotiables. We all signed a flag of Spain as our group contract. Then off to a dinner of tacos in a restaurant directly under the plaza. Everyone left with happy faces…but wait, there’s more! We walked back to the plaza for ice cream to end a great day.

– By CeCe D.

July 3, 2019

A relaxing bus ride brought us to Segovia, a small town north of Madrid, which featured an impressive aqueduct dating back to the ancient Romans, in addition to a grand cathedral and beautiful medieval castle. After a walk under the tall, decorated ceilings of the Cathedral of Segovia, we were led, with the help of the three map masters of the day, CeCe, Maya, and Austin, to the Alcázar in the rear of the town. The castle included a throne room, royal bedroom, and chapel built by the rulers of the Trastamara Dynasty from the late 15th century and onward. Fun fact: it almost burned down in a fire in 1862. We climbed all 152 steps of the tallest tower in the castle to get a breathtaking view of Segovia.

After having a delicious lunch and shopping around Segovia, we were transported to a bed and breakfast in Sebúlcor, where we had a filling dinner and group games. At 10:30 we went to bed to get ready for a day of kayaking on the Rio Duero, tired from a long day of adventure.

– Michael K.

July 4, 2019
After waking up to the relaxing countryside and eating a quick breakfast, we headed to Rio Duratón to spend the day kayaking and playing beach games. As we kayaked, we splashed each other with the cold river water and raced to see who would reach the end first. We went until we saw a dam (which happens to power half the local cities!) and turned around to eat, swim, and play games on the beach. We took a quick swim in the refreshing river before sitting down for traditional and mouthwatering paella. Almost immediately after eating, we split into teams to play beach volleyball and ping-pong. Although we didn’t play the games by the rules, we all still had a great time. With only an hour left before we returned, we went back into the river and encouraged everyone to play our water games. The hour flew by and before we knew it we were kayaking home. Unfortunately, the winds weren’t on our side as we headed back since it was pushing us backward, but eventually we made it. We’re all semi-professional kayakers now!After many games of cards and a round of Spanish Telephone Pictionary, we ate a filling dinner of tortillas at our B&B. We played card games outside as the sun slowly set, making the sky a light pink. Then off to bed to conclude an amazing day.
– Carol Q.

July 5, 2019
After a night of much needed rest from kayaking, we got ready for our walk to a little creek in the forest. On our way to the creek, we observed the beautiful countryside which was such a major contrast to the city life we had experienced in Madrid. For the three hours we were there, We swam, ate, and played many games. We also had an opportunity to really dig into a discussion about community service. We brainstormed ideas about related words like sustainability, eco-friendly, partnership, and cultural immersion. On our walk back from the creek we even got to see some adorable little goats, including a baby! After that we grabbed our bags and packed ourselves back into the van to drive to Amayuelas, a very small farming town that focuses on sustainable agriculture. The population here is only about 22 people, most of whom are retired. On our way there, We stopped at a local grocery store to buy snacks and got to browse the aisles to see what sorts of foods Spaniards eat and buy. We ended our day with a tour of Amayuelas and a delicious organic dinner.
– Maya K.

July 6, 2019
After a night’s rest, the group was split up into two to start our hardcore service work! One group worked on creating adobe bricks from mud, water, and hay. There, we had to stomp around barefoot in the mud and put the mixture into molds, creating our adobe bricks. Our legs may have been covered in mud but learning about the traditional brick-making technique was really fun and none of us minded the mud. Mud spa! Meanwhile, the other group went on the farm where horses, donkeys, and and pigs live. That group worked hard to harvest garlic plants and pull all the weeds from the ground to protect the artichoke plants. All of this work was accompanied by Senda the dog, our new mascot, who Austin describes as “breath-taking”! Senda is absolutely the cutest dog ever and she lives here in Amayuelas. Before lunch, the whole group gathered back together to move firewood for the community. We did it assembly-line style until we had made a major dent in the pile. After lunch and some hang out time, we split up again and one group made “pan” (bread), cookies, and pizza with María José. Later, the whole group ate the pizza for dinner! The other group took a calligraphy workshop with Melitón, one of the main leaders here in the community. The day ended with some competitive foosball…get ready to hear more about our foosball competition coming up soon! At night, we put on small skits to remember some funny moments from our first couple of days here in Amayuelas.
– Michael M.

July 7, 2019
As we end our first week in Spain, we began our second day of service. We broke up into our two groups again and switched activities. The previous adobe brick group worked in the garden by weeding in the greenhouse and meeting farm animals. The previous farming group mixed mud, hay, and water to make adobe bricks. They made 70 bricks!! As we took a break and played with Senda, we moved into our next service activity: stacking firewood. While we listened to music, we passed pieces of wood in an assembly line and by the end, we had gone through more than half the pile. After a delicious lunch, teams were made for our Amayuelas futbolín tournament. Global Works travelers and community members partnered up and selected countries like Israel, Brazil, and Umbrella World to represent. After some traditional Spanish games taught to us by Melitón, we started our futbolín tournament. In the end, Abel y Angel ganaron!! Then we started our interviews of the community members. We asked them questions (in Spanish of course!) about the town, community members, Amayuelas history, as well as community goals for the future. After dinner and some more futbolín games, we fell asleep, excited for another day of service.
-Bella A.

July 8, 2019
Our day started off like any other at the farm in Amayuelas. We woke up and got to breakfast by 8:30. After we ate, we headed down to the farm to continue our service work. Because our adobe bricks were drying, people got to experience all parts of the farming process: weeding, tending to animals, and harvesting. My group and I peeled garlic husks to prepare them for distribution and it was honestly surprisingly satisfying. After service work, we continued our “stick chain” and passed firewood into a big pile. After lunch was more chill-time and we relaxed, which everyone appreciated. I got to take a calligraphy class while some other people were helping to make more bread. After a dinner of homemade pizza (made by us!), all of us and Perri and Carlos sat down and talked about Spanish games, high school advice, and life! Mostly though, we reflected on our experience with service in Amayuelas. Just over a week into our trip and I could already see how everyone in our group is developing as individuals through our experiences here in Spain. It was crazy for me to see and hear so many different people showing more awareness of the impact that a new perspective has had on them.
-Raisa B.

July 9, 2019
For our last full day in Amayuelas, We began with a different type of service for the community. We weeded around and cleaned off an old water bath, originally used as a trough for animals. Some brave volunteers went into the swamp and helped to pull out plants. Everyone else used gardening tools to clear the area in order to turn it into a park for the community in the future. We finished stacking all the wood and walked to the adobe factory to see where they’re made. Angel showed us how they use the hay, mud, and water to make the bricks on a much bigger scale than what we had been doing throughout the week! We saw a cute dog who had just given birth to puppies…and it turns out the puppies were fathered by Trunco, Angel’s dog. We began a game of fútbol with a team of Global Works kids and a team if local kids but after the first goal, the local kids decided we should mix up the teams to make them more fair. At the same time, some Global Works kids played volleyball with some of the local girls. After the games, we bonded with each other about Captain America, macaroni and cheese, and US monuments. At first the kids seemed intimidating but they turned out to be really nice and funny. We came home to a special dinner of Carmen’s lamb burgers and pumpkin zucchini soup. Tomorrow we leave for Valencia to move in with the host families! Until then, hasta luego!
-Hilary Q.

July 10, 2019
Today was our last morning in Amayuelas. After bringing down our suitcases to the lobby and eating a delicious breakfast, we sadly had to say goodbye to the community. During our goodbyes, everyone gave letters they had written in Spanish to people in the community to show our appreciation for teaching us new skills and helping us gain a new perspective on life. Melitón, the owner of the farm, even offered Cece a job after observing her hard work for a week! Finally at 9am we left Amayuelas. During our ride to Valencia we stopped for a quick snack at a small cafe and switched buses. Later we stopped again and ate a sandwich lunch outside, packed with love by Carmen from Amayuelas from Amayuelas.  Everyone had a delicious taste of the typical Spanish cookies our leaders bought for us. They tasted very similar to a vanilla wafer but even better! Once we got to Valencia, we unloaded our bags near a small plaza and stopped at a restaurant to have a drink and get to know our host families. I am in a host family with Bella and Hilary and our host mom’s name is Patricia. She loves basketball, has been hosting kids like us for 15 years, and she has two kids of her own. One of her kids is a 17 year old girl and her other kid is a 12 year old boy. For dinner we had a savory mushroom and ham pizza with tuna salad, and juicy watermelon for dessert. We ended our day by watching two Spanish movies and falling asleep in our beautifully decorated bedroom.
-Maya K.

July 11, 2019
As we settled into our homestays, we got to experience the city of Valencia. It’s a really cute city, and I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s a big-ish city but there aren’t that many people walking around like there are in Madrid or New York City, which I find calming. We started our day with a simple breakfast of toast and muffins. Ale and I are staying with an older woman named Reyes (our very own Spanish grandma), who is very nice and a great cook! After breakfast, we headed down to the bus stop and we were able to reunite with our friends from the group with plenty of stories about our homestay families. After a short bus ride we arrived to an area outside of the city to do our service work. We learned about the local marshland and helped take trash and plastic out of one marsh area. It was messy (and very smelly) work, but fun and rewarding. We even made it onto the local news for the work we’d done! After service, we stuck around and did some mini-hiking, while learning about the area’s history. We saw many beautiful flowers by the water. After this, we went home for a quick lunch and siesta. Later, we met up with the group again to check in and then do a flamenco dance class.  It was difficult but lots of fun and MANY laughs. After the class, Ale and I enjoyed a delicious chicken dinner at the apartment (like I said, Reyes is a good cook!). Hopefully we get a good sleep tonight because we are excited for tomorrow!
-Sofia S.

June 12, 2019
After one night of rest and two pieces of toast, it once again came time for service. We spent a few hours watering baby trees. Each of us can do one or two jugs of water, traveling back and forth between the woody tree habitat and the bottle-filling areas. It was then time for us to go back to our houses for lunch and a siesta. Sophia and I ate paella and salad. Later, the group met up again to visit a museum, El Museo Fallero, celebrating an important Spanish festival. This festival takes place every March and artists from all over Valencia make amazing statues and sculptures out of burnable materials, only to set them on fire as part of “Las Fallas.” After that, we walked to a giant playground with oversized slides. The day ended with some ice cream and hopefully a night of sweet dreams.
-Ale A.

July 13, 2019
Carol, Cece, and I woke up to a breakfast of hot chocolate and cookies at our home stay. We met up with the rest of our group later on and got on a bus to our next destination. We arrived at a Spanish environmental sleep away camp, where we prepared speeches in Spanish to present to the people there. Before we met up with the kids from the camp, we decided to go on a hike to the waterhole. The hike felt long because of the steepness but our destination was 100% worth it. We arrived at a canyon-looking place with bright blue water and pink flowers. Although the water was cold, it was refreshing for all of us. The main “WOW” factor was the cave that you could only access from the water. The cave had water pouring into it, looks of deep water and light shining into it from the top. Everyone was in awe. We took turns climbing up the waterfall to leave the cave and then we found a rock to eat our lunch on. The hike back was even hotter but it felt shorter for some reason. It turned out that the kids schedule at the camp didn’t work out with ours but it was still okay because the speeches we wrote are probably going up on the Global Works website somewhere! Woohoo! (*Note: See below!) I was pretty tired when I came back to my homestay so I ate and then went to sleep.
-Raisa B.

*Global Works is an organization that allows kids from all of America to experience cultural immersion in a creative way.  Through each trip, students are introduced to new people both abroad and in their group. Global works encourages smart and sustainable service work that benefits whoever we are partnered with. Our service work allows us to experience not only the tourism part of traveling globally, but to truly expose us to the everyday life of different cultures. Even if a trip is only one or two weeks, students experience memorable adventure and a unique perspective on the world.

Global Works es una organización que facilita que chicos de los Estados Unidos tengan experiencias de inmersión cultural en una manera creativa. Gracias a estas experiencias, los estudiantes pueden conocer a gente nueva de distintos países y con su grupo de viajeros. Global Works anima a la gente a ofrecer voluntariados que benefician a los demás.  Nuestro trabajo nos permite vivir experiencias más intensas que el turismo, y profundizar la cultura local. Pese a que el viaje dura solo dos semanas, los estudiantes viven una experiencia inolvidable y tienen una perspectiva nueva del mundo.

July 14, 2019
After a good night’s rest in our homestays, the entire group met up and walked around the city, visiting multiple plazas all over Valencia. After visiting the plazas and hearing a little bit of history, we all got on bikes and rode to the beach. Biking through the city was a great way to see all the different neighborhoods in Valencia and each one feels completely different! On the way to the beach we rode through the main park in the city which used to be a river, and we also got to stop to see the beautiful City of Arts and Sciences, which was filled with people (both locals and tourists) and photographers. The architecture was really unique and the bright turquoise water made for some great photos! At the beach we jumped in the sea (after putting on loads of sunscreen of course!) and had a picnic lunch. After tiring ourselves out at the beach, the group enjoyed some fresh smoothies from a little stand. Finally, we walked to our bikes and rode back through the park and the city before settling in for an evening with our homestay families.
-Michael M. and Perri

July 15, 2019

After an adventurous weekend of exploring Valencia we got back to our service work! Our day began with a bus ride to a local apartment complex near the beach where we pulled invasive plants that had begun to destroy the beauty and other important plant life in the area. After a few hours of work, we decided to cool off at the beach before driving back to our homestay families for lunch and a siesta. Our siesta ended and the two Michaels and I left the apartment to go meet up with the group. After meeting up, we took a nice walk through Valencia and ended up at a nice church with a large tower called El Miguelete. We climbed about 200 steps to get to the top of the bell tower for the amazing view of Valencia. After experiencing that, we walked to a local restaurant known for their amazing horchata. We shared glasses of the horchata made from tigernuts and a traditional pastry that you dip in the horchata. After that we all grabbed ice cream at an award-winning heladería before eventually wrapping the day up with some shopping and family time with our homestay families.
-Austin W.

July 16, 2019
Today was our last day of service and our last full day in Valencia. For our service we cleared out rocks and stones from an old road that were hindering the growth of some of the native plants. Afterward, we had a quick snack of chips (did you know that Spain has jamón- flavored chips?!), juice, chocolate, and more. The rest of the time flew by and soon it was time to head to the beach! A small group of other volunteers from all over the world joined us in our beach games. Too quickly it was time to dry off and get back in the bus to our host families for lunch. Raisa, Carol, and I had some chicken which was pretty good. After, we all showered and got started on our packing, we went with the kids next door to our meeting spot. Perri, Carlos, and Sarah were all waiting for us. We took a nice walk through the city to our paella cooking class in a really cool part of town. Not only did we make some pretty cool paella but we also sang and danced while we cooked. We had a 30 minute break while the paella was cooking to have an appetizer (tortilla española and seasoned Valencian mussels)…so tasty! Our host families met us at the class to sample our paella. We even got a special dessert, “crema de arroz.” After all the food was gone and there were smiles on our faces, our host families walked us home for the last time. Mañana vamos a Barcelona!
-Cece D.

July 17, 2019
For our last morning in Valencia, we took busses and cabs with our host parents to the train station to say our final goodbyes to them and the city. After family pictures and goodbye hugs, we loaded onto the train. The ride was only a couple hours; some slept, some  chatted, and we finally arrived in Barcelona!! We took a bus to our hotel and got ready for an afternoon of exploring. After a nice lunch at La Fonda, we walked around La Rambla and explored a couple of stores. We took the metro to see (and dance around) the beautiful Sagrada Familia. We did an audio tour of the cathedral and got to see beautiful sculptures and stained glass windows. We had made the decision to walk to dinner rather than take the metro but 5 minutes into our walk it started pouring. We rushed to the metro and joined the crowds underground to take cover from the storm. For dinner we had pinxos, a basque specialty where we were able to choose from a selection of seafood, meats, and sausages on toasts. After dinner we stopped into a gelatería, whose owners had once served gelato to the pope! We wrapped up the night with Spanish activities and games and went to bed to prepare for another day in the city. ¡Hasta luego!
– Hilary Q. 😆

July 18, 2019
After a restful sleep and quick breakfast of croissant and cereal, we used the metro to travel across the city to Park Güell, a space complete with Gaudi’s incredibly unique architecture. The development of the park began in 1900 and is still being developed and upkept. A walk to a large open space in the park led us to an amazing view of the city with a clear view of the Sagrada Familia and a long bench designed by Gaudi himself, stretching around the perimeter. After our stroll and a personal reflection writing activity, we took a scenic walk through the city and reflected on our service work and it’s effect on ourselves and others. Lunch included traditional Spanish paella and papas fritas. After a delicious and filling meal, we went shopping st a variety of stores including a few local vendors and some small souvenir stores. We hung out at the hotel all together in the evening and we brainstormed awards for each person in the group. We walked to dinner at 100 Montadiros where you can order any variety of small sandwiches that can be made in 100 different styles!! They even had hot dog and hamburgers, pulled pork, and tons of other little sandwiches. After dinner, we watched an entertaining flamenco show at one of the most famous theaters here in Barcelona. We stopped for ice cream on the way home to wrap up our exhausting yet spectacular day.
-Michael K.

July 19, 2019
After a quick breakfast, we took the metro to the teleférico and ride up the mountainside for a spectacular view of the city from Montjuic. After a round of Spanish i-spy, we took the metro to the Boqueria market and picked our own lunches from vendors. We went back to the hotel and soon left to go to the Picasso Museum where we looked at some of Picasso’s famous works. After that, se sent to a restaurant on the top of a former bullfighting ring. Did you know that bullfighting is no longer allowed in Barcelona? Then we all got fans from Carlos, Sarah, and Perri with awards written on them from the whole group. We crossed the street to go to the Magic Fountain show and squeezed in one last game of Whoosh! We headed back to the hotel and got our phones back so we could all connected on our social media to make sure we will keep in touch in the future. Today was another fun day that capped off the amazing trip we had. I’m going to miss Team Senda!
-Bella A.