¡Hola, monadas!

Jason y yo llegamos ayer a Granada, un poco molidos, sí, pero contentos.  El viaje hasta acá fue bueno y malo.  Perdimos la conexión en Heathrow con nuestro vuelo a Málaga.  El vuelo de Seattle a Londres salió tarde y esa fue la causa.  Aparte de eso, el vuelo en sí fue bueno.  UN CONSEJO: Si la línea aérea se los permite pídanse una comida especial (special meal).  Nosotros pedimos comida asiática-vegetariana.  Nos sirvieron comida hindú.  Estaba deliciosa y era mucho mejor que la lasagna o el pollo que los otros pasajeros tenían como opciones.

Al llegar a Londres tuvimos que hacer gestiones para pasar la noche allí.  Eso fue divertido.  La televisión del bar del hotel estaba poniendo unos videos de canciones navideñas bien raros, por ejemplo, David Bowie cantando ¨The Little Drummer Boy¨ con Bing Crosby.

El vuelo a Málaga fue tranquilo también, pero al llegar descubrimos que una de nuestras maletas se había perdido.  Allí tenía papeles, libros, zapatos y otras cosas.  ¡Ojalá y aparezca pronto!

Bueno, majos, me voy a dar un paseo por ahí.  Aunque ayer estaba lloviendo hoy está mejor el tiempo y hay que aprovecharlo.

Un abrazo,

Harry

Hola, monadas.

Jason y yo ya nos vamos para España.

Salimos el día 20 por la noche y llegamos a Málaga la tarde del 21. El 26 nos iremos de paseo a Córdoba y el 28 nos iremos a una casa a pasar la despedida de año con mis amigos españoles. Vamos a un pueblo llamado Alcaracejos. ¡El nombre me mata de risa!

En fin. Eso. En España ya saben como contactarme: email [email protected] y móvil – 610-259-126.

Les deseo a todos felices fiestas y un viaje seguro y cómodo.

¡ Hasta muy pronto!

Harry

 ¡Hola monadas!

Acabo de regresar de España.  Estuve presentando un trabajo en la conferencia de la Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry en Córdoba.  Aproveché la oportunidad para visitar también a Mark Bennett en Granada y a los chicos de UPS en el programa.

¡¡No se imaginan lo bonita que estaba Granada!!  Fue super-lindo estar allá con Mark y con los estudiantes.  También pasé un buen rato con mi gran amigo, don Francisco Lillo Roldán (Paco), el dueño de la tienda La Oliva.  ¡Ay, Dios mío!  ¡Qué cosas ricas vende Paco en La Oliva!  ¡Qué quesos, qué aceites, qué vinos, qué jamón, qué patés y otras cosas exquisitas!  Espero que descubran la tienda tan pronto como vayan descubriendo el barrio del Realejo, donde se encuentra el CLM.

Bueno, majos, eso.  Espero que estén bien y que todo les esté yendo bonito.

Un abrazo,

Harry

¡ Hola chicos!

Debido a que Mark deberá asistir a una reunión de AHA e ILACA en E.E.U.U. a principios de febrero hemos decidido hacer unos cambios en el calendario de viajes para la primavera. Como verán, estos cambios harán que sean más largos tanto el periode de viaje independiente después del Curso Intensivo como la excursión a Madrid.

Un abrazo,

Harry

 

CALENDARIO:

Noten que las fechas del viaje a Madrid han cambiado y que el periodo de viaje independiente después del Curso Intensivo se ha extendido a seis días. El viaje a Sevilla se ha adelantado a enero y la excursión a Madrid se ha atrasado hasta finales de febrero.

· Fecha de llegada a Granada: viernes 4 de enero de 2008

· Primera reunión en grupo: sábado 5 de enero de 2008

· Prueba de nivel I (level test): martes 8 de enero de 2008

· Comienzo del Curso Intensivo: miércoles 9 de enero

· Final del Curso Intensivo: martes 29 de enero

· Prueba de nivel II (level test): martes 29 de enero de 2008 (sólo para los estudiantes del nivel 2B del curso intensivo)

· Viaje a Sevilla: miércoles 30 de enero de 2008 a jueves 31 de enero de 2008

· Periodo de viaje independiente: domingo 1 de febrero a miércoles 6 de febrero de 2008

· Comienzo del Curso de Estudios Hispánicos: jueves 7 de febrero a martes 20 de mayo de 2008

· Viaje a Madrid: miércoles 27 de febrero de 2008 a domingo 2 de marzo de 2008

· Vacaciones de Semana Santa: viernes 14 de marzo a domingo 23 de marzo de 2008

· Exámenes finales: miércoles 14 de mayo a martes 20 de mayo de 2008

· Salida de Granada: 21 de mayo de 2008

¡Hola chicos!

La mayoría de ustedes ya me conoce, pero algunos no. Bueno: Mi nombre es Harry Vélez Quiñones y soy profesor de estudios hispánicos en la Universidad de Puget Sound. Con ustedes voy a pasar el semestre de primavera en Granada. O sea, voy a ser el profesor visitante de ILACA y su consejero académico, mediador cultural, compañero de viajes, anfitrión de tertulias y noches de cine, y profesor para algunos en la clase de Estudios Literarios Hispánicos. Es decir que junto a Mark Bennett – el inglés, no el de Willamette – voy a estar trabajando para que su experiencia en Granada sea fantástica.

We are not yet in Granada so I am going to switch to English now to go over a few things:

1) Passport – You should have a valid US passport already. If you don’t you need to get one ASAP following the expedited procedure. (See website and blog for additional information.)

2) Spanish Visado – You should be working on this too. You have received or will be soon receiving information on this matter. You need to submit the pertinent documents and forms so that the AHA official can get your visado. Without it you cannot go to Granada so make sure that you are on top of the game.

3) Airfare – It is time to look into this. Flights are expensive! My suggestion is booking a USA – Madrid flight and then taking the Continental Auto bus to Granada. However you may be able to find competitive $$$ flights to Granada or Málaga. (See website and blog for additional information.)

4) Spending money – The euro is beating the dollar real bad. You need to be realistic about your expenses and plan accordingly. Some students report having spent anywhere from 3,500 to 10,000 per semester abroad. The amount you spend will depend on your travel and on how much you go out, etc. Make sure that you have enough resources available to you. (See blog for additional information.)

5) Español – I suppose that all of you will be enrolling in some Spanish class or other in the fall. Work hard on it and try to learn as much as possible. Take every opportunity that comes your way to practice your grammar and your oral skills.

6) Culture – I suggest that you get a good book on Spanish history or culture and read it carefully. Also, hit the online newspapers from Madrid and/or Granada. The more you know about the culture you are seeking to immerse yourself in the more successful you will be. Otherwise you run the risk of being a “tourist” in Spain for 5 months.
(See website for additional information.)

7) AHA Code of Conduct – Read it carefully. You are going to be expected to live up to its provisions. (See website for additional information.)

8) Spanish Language Agreement – Read it carefully. You will be expected to live up to its provisions. (See website for additional information.)

9) DELE – Towards the end of the spring term you will be taking the intermediate level examination for the Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE). Passing this exam will earn you a diploma from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science that attests to your level of proficiency in the language. There is no other document in the world as respected as this one. In Granada you will be offered preparatory sessions and practice tests but you should try to acquaint yourself with the DELE in the fall. Full practice tests are available. (See blog for additional information.)

10) MORE INFORMATION: Website and blog – I have prepared a website for you that contains EXTENSIVE information on all of the above: http://projects.ups.edu/granada2008/ilaca/index.htm . Explore it thoroughly and carefully. You will be super happy you did. In it you will find a link to my Granada 2008 blog, the vehicle that I will use to convey information and updates to you: http://velez.edublogs.org/. Unlike email, blogs keeps postings available indefinitely and admit comments and replies at any time. There are RSS feeds that you can subscribe to in my blog.

Aqui tienen un par más de observaciones y consejos de dos chicas que acaban de volver de España. En resumen: 1.00 EUR = 1.35 USD, o lo que es lo mismo: 1 USD = 0.75 EUR. Es decir, monadas, que hay que ahorrar mucho para poder disponer de dineritos para pasarlo bonito. Smiley

CULTURAL ASPECTS:
a Describe cultural differences and challenges you encountered and how you addressed them. (e.g. social etiquette, gender issues, etc.)
- Spanish people are assertive, and they expect you to be too. It was good for me. When you go into a store, you have to be ready to say what you want; when you go to a café it’s your responsibility to flag the waiter down. Machismo happens, but not nearly as much as you’d think, and mainly in the free-drinks-and-entrance-to-clubs form; it’s really not all that different from here.

GENERAL ADVICE:
a How much money should a student budget for general living expenses, personal expenses and travel? What is the best way to access funds while studying abroad (ATM, etc)
- The horrible exchange rate aside, Madrid is a relatively cheap place to be. The metro is cheap (about 75 euro cents a ride), cafes are cheap, wine is cheap, long distance busses are cheap (usually around 20 euros one way to the other side of the country), you can usually get into clubs for free…Still, I spent way more money than I expected, and I never even traveled outside of Spain. I probably burned through about $5,000, maybe $6,000.
b How much money should a student budget for general living expenses, personal expenses and travel? What is the best way to access funds while studying abroad (ATM, etc).
- Honestly, as the exchange rate gets worse and worse every day, you’ll need more. I would say that I easily spent $6,000 in spending money, most of which on travel, so it depends on how much you travel. I stayed an extra month to travel and overall I blew through $10,000. But thats only like 6,600 euros, which spend like dollars there.

¡Hola chicos!

La oficina de programas internacionales comparte con los profesores de Puget Sound las evaluaciones que hacen los estudiantes de su estadía en programas en el extranjero. Según me vayan llegando, iré compartiendo con ustedes las reflexiones, consejos, avisos y sugerencias que los estudiantes que estuvieron en España el año pasado escriben en estas evaluaciones.

La siguiente es de una chica que pasó un año en Madrid con el programa de IES. Durante su estadía en Madrid la chica vivió con otros cuatro estudiantes norteamericanos de IES y una RA española en un apartamento. Aunque su situación de vivienda fue diferente de la que ustedes experimentarán en Granada, lo que ella discute a continuación es perfectamente aplicable.

Q) Describe cultural differences and challenges you encountered and how you addressed them. (e.g. social etiquette, gender issues, etc.)

A) A big cultural difference was the concept of the home. In Spanish culture a person’s home is very private and personal and it is quite uncommon for people to have social gatherings in homes. They are very small and all social happenings go on in the pubs and in the streets. Some of my American roommates had a difficult time grasping this concept and adapting their lives and attitude toward living in our apartment which caused tension between them and our RA. It opened my eyes to how differently we live, physically, and the customs that go hand in hand with the different concepts. Other cultural difference that was hard to get used to was staring. Spaniards are known for being very blunt in public with their eye contact and the way they greet each other, such as kissing each other on the cheeks. This was a little awkward at first for my American program-mates and me to get used to, but at a certain point it became somewhat normal. Most of the cultural differences were not as shocking or unbearable for me because I had traveled and spent time with a host family in Spain prior to this experience. So I really feel like I had an advantage going into it in terms of dealing with cultural challenges. In general I tried to keep a really open mind about Spanish culture and was truly interested in learning as much of it as I possibly could. I think having that attitude really helped me deal with the differences.

Q) What things would you tell a prospective student about this program or your travels?

A) Be open-minded and aware of your behavior because you can be disrespectful without realizing it. On a more practical note, always be conscious of your surroundings and your belongings, especially when traveling. Just use common sense and you’ll have a lot of fun.

Una compañera vuestra me pidió consejo sobre si es mejor volar a Málaga, a Granada o a Madrid. La consideración que todos acostumbramos hacer es la del precio, pero también hay otros factores como número de vuelos en el viaje y cambios de avión, hora de llegada a España, aeropuertos de tránsito, etc. A continuación encontraréis mi respuesta a su pregunta. Como verán esta compañera va a salir de Portland. Las cosas cambian algo si se sale de Seattle pues existen otras combinaciones. En general los que salen de ciudades más grandes, como San Francisco, Los Angeles o Chicago tendrán mayores oportunidades y quizá disfruten de mejores precios. Los que salen de la costa este lo tienen mucho mejor también.

Your only other real option besides flying straight to Granada or flying to Madrid and then taking the bus to Granada is flying to Málaga. It is located south of Granada at about 1:45 hours by bus. Its airport is a busier one since Málaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol, a major European tourist destination. In the past some students have found good flights to Málaga. You will find information about traveling to Granada from Málaga in the website: http://projects.ups.edu/granada2008/ilaca/index.htm

In terms of price, it is usually cheaper to fly to Madrid and then ride the bus down to Granada. It also minimizes oportunities to lose your luggage!

You may want to consult with STA Travel 1503 SW Park Ave Portland, OR 97201 (503) 228-1900. WWW http://www.statravel.com/ They specialize in cheaper flights for students, though a quick search I made on their website yielded prices to Madrid similar to the ones found in Orbitz.

I did a couple searches on Orbitz and found out that it is cheaper to fly to Málaga (1,243) than to Granada (1,554) by 200-300 hundred dollars. You also save one connection since it seems that flying to Granada requires that you first get to Madrid.

However the cheapest option by far seems to be flying to Madrid from Portland on Continental or US Airways. Continental can get you to Madrid at 9:20 am on Jan 4 for $1,180 and US Airways at 10:10am for $1,194.

Another factor to consider is time of arrival. It is wiser to arrive in the morning. Some options to Málaga and Granada have you arrive in the late evening, at 7:30 pm or later. That time is fine for a direct arrival in Granada but not so for a Malaga arrival since you would still have about 3 or more hours of travel left before getting to Granada.

An additional factor is the time left to change planes during connections. Heathrow is a nightmare of a place. If you know the drill and have enough time there is no problem. However, if Heathrow is going to be a new experience you are bound to be a bit stressed out. You need at least two good hours to insure you do not miss your connecting flight. The option I found below gives you only 1:35 hours. Also, Heathrow has a draconian rule about hand luggage. You are only allowed 1 (one) piece of luggage as you transfer from your USA flight to your flight to Spain. They mean it. If you have more than one they will make you go back and check it: a true nightmare!

Finally, there is Chicago… Its inclement winter weather often leads to flight delays. I tend to avoid it during that time of the year.

I hope this helps!!

Best,

Harry

SAMPLE FLIGHT SCHEDULES

MADRID 1 - Leave Thu, Jan 3

Continental Airlines 485 Depart: 7:30am – Arrive: 3:37pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Newark, NJ (EWR) 1 stop
Change planes. Time between flights: 4hr 28min
Continental Airlines 62 Depart: 8:05pm – Arrive: 9:20am
Newark, NJ (EWR) Madrid, Spain (MAD)
Total duration: 16hr 50min
===============================================

MADRID 2 – Leave Thu, Jan 3

US Airways 264 operated by AMERICA WEST Depart: 8:30am – Arrive: 4:30pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Philadelphia, PA (PHL) 1 stop
Change planes. Time between flights: 4hr 20min
US Airways 740 Depart: 8:50pm – Arrive: 10:10am
Philadelphia, PA (PHL) Madrid, Spain (MAD)
Total duration: 16hr 40min
===============================================

MALAGA 1 - Leave Thu, Jan 3

United Airlines 722 Depart: 8:35am – Arrive: 2:26pm
Portland, OR (PDX) Chicago, IL (ORD) 2 stops
Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 52min
United Airlines 958 Depart: 4:18pm – Arrive: 5:55am
Chicago, IL (ORD) London, United Kingdom (LHR)
Change Airline. Time between flights: 1hr 35min
British Airways 6982 operated by GB Airways Depart: 7:30am – Arrive: 11:20am
London, United Kingdom (LHR) Malaga, Spain (AGP)
Total duration: 17hr 45min
===============================================

MALAGA 2 - Leave Thu, Jan 3

United Airlines 1171 Depart: 3:30pm – Arrive: 5:12pm
Portland, OR (PDX) – San Francisco, CA (SFO) 2 stops
Change Airline. Time between flights: 2hr 18min
British Airways 286 Depart: 7:30pm – Arrive: 1:40pm
San Francisco, CA (SFO) – London, United Kingdom (LHR)
Change planes. Time between flights: 2hr 5min
British Airways 6984 – operated by GB Airways Depart: 3:45pm – Arrive: 7:35pm
London, United Kingdom (LHR) – Malaga, Spain (AGP)
Total duration: 19hr 5min
===============================================

HORARIOS DE AUTOBUSES MADRID – GRANADA

¡Hola chicos!

Una compañera vuestra me envió recientemente una preguntita bien interesante:
PREGUNTA: I have started looking at plane tickets for January and I was wondering how much time I should allow between arriving in Spain and catching the 11am bus to Granada. Is the bus stop close to the airport? Thanks!

RESPUESTA: It takes about 45 mins or so, maybe a bit more, to deplane, go through passport control, claim your luggage and clear customs. The bus ride to the Avda. de América station is about 30 mins depending on traffic. It should not be longer that that. If you get in at 9:00 and you have purchased your tix online on Movelia, you could make the 11:00 am bus provided you encounter no additional hassles.

Remember: PACK LIGHT!!!!! You will be arriving in Spain just before the month of REBAJAS. They start on Jan. 07 and last a few weeks. Crazy, crazy good, sales. You’d do well in planning to buy some stuff there instead of packing tons and tons of stuff.

INFORMACIÓN ADICIONAL: The bus stops for buses 201 and 204 are just outside terminal 1 and terminal 4. The end of the line is the Avenida de América station so you cannot get lost. It is not wise to take this bus if you are carrying too many bags or bags that are too bulky. The driver will object if your luggage should pose a safety hazard to other passengers. Remember: PACK LIGHT!!! Taking the bus or the subway is only reasonable if you are carrying one normal bag with wheels and a small carry on. Don’t do it if you are bringing more than one bag or one of those huge bags that seem to exist only in the USA! Having seen how many or most of your peers have chosen to pack in the past taking a taxi may be the best option for a great many of you. The taxi stand is always full with white vehicles with a red stripe at the door, the standard paint job for Madrid taxis. A ride to the Avda. de América station should not exceed 25€. A 1€ tip is more than handsome, but it is not necessary.

NOTE: CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE TOP TO SEE THE SCHEDULE OF BUSES TO GRANADA

¡HOLA CHICOS!

La foto anterior es de un local en París. Su explicación está en Flickr.

Espero que estén bien. Yo acabo de regresar de Francia donde estuve participando con otros colegas de Puget Sound, Pomona, Spelman, Bates, etc., incluido el profesor Luis García Torvisco de Gonzaga University, en el XVI congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas. Lo pasamos super bien y nuestras presentaciones fueron estupendas. Sobre todo me divertí mucho con un antiguo estudiante mío, Kai Carver. A Kai lo conocí en 1985 cuando yo era un asistente de enseñanza en Harvard y el era un estudiante de cuarto año. ¡Ojalá y la amistad que surja entre ustedes y yo sea tan buena y tan duradera!

De todas maneras, espero que para ustedes la educación no sea nunca ni una jaula ni una camisa de fuerza ni nada por el estilo. Educaditos sí, pero nunca eduencarcelados, ¿vale?

El fin de semana entrante salgo para Puerto Rico a visitar a mi madre. Regresaré hacia finales de julio. Suerte en todo y no duden en ponerse en contacto conmigo.

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