Monday, December 15, 2014

Activities 15.12.2014-21.12.2014

The last week of classes at Tía Tula are upon us and so is Christmas holiday. On Monday we’ll go ‘visit’ a shopping centre, on Tuesday we'll learn how to cook some Christmas tapas and on Wednesday we will go ice-skating. Also, there’s a new seafood bar/restaurant in town and we’ll go check it out. And last but not least, on Friday we are having our own Christmas party so come and join for the last Tía Tula blast of 2014! :)

Monday 15, 18:00: Shopping centre – Since Christmas is getting closer we’ll go to a shopping centre El Tormes in case you ‘still’ need to buy some presents. We’ll also see a nativity scene that has been put up in one of the rooms. Approximate duration: 2h.


Tuesday 16, 17:00: Cooking class – We will learn how to cook 3 tapas typical for Christmas. Approximate duration: 1h.


Wednesday 17, 18:15: Ice skating – We will go ice-skating on an artificial ice skating ring close to Plaza de la Concordia. Approximate duration: 1h 30min.


Thursday 18, 19:30: Seafood bar/restaurant –  A new seafood bar/restaurant, ‘El Club Náutico’, has opened in Salamanca and we are going to try some of their tapas. Approximate duration: 1h 30min.


Friday 19, 12:00: Christmas party – We finish our last day at Tía Tula in 2014 with our very own Christmas party! Approximate duration: 2h. 


Saturday 20: Excursion – Trip to Segovia and Ávila.  For more information please ask at the reception desk.


Sunday 21: Happy Holidays!


Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free.


And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

University New Year's Eve

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
La Nochevieja Universitaria (something like a student’s New Year’s Eve) is one of the most ‘important’ events of the academic year although it doesn't have many things in common with studying and a lot more to do with enjoying the student life itself. It has a ‘long standing’ tradition (this year is its 10th anniversary) and became an event not only for the students in Salamanca but also for the students from the whole of Spain and even other countries.


Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
It started in 1999 when around a dozen of students gathered in Plaza Mayor to celebrate the end of the year with their classmates and flatmates before they all headed to their respective homes to spend the holidays with their families. The following year they did it again but with more people since the word spread and the ‘event’ kept growing. Since it was becoming a ‘large’ phenomenon, in 2004 an event management company took over the event and from then onwards it keeps gaining popularity. In 2013, almost 45,000 people attended the event and the whole show made it to the national news. This year La Nochevieja Universitaria takes place on December 11th and even more students are expected to arrive.

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
The show (live music, visual show, etc.) at Plaza Mayor is open to everyone, however, people can buy tickets for ‘pub crawls’, VIP back stage access, special ‘La Nochevieja Universitaria package’ including ‘gominolas’ (gummies), Santa hats and other accessories needed to make it a special and unforgettable night. The ‘gominolas’ are tied to the Spanish NYE tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck in the New Year. However, in 1999 the students didn't have grapes and thus they ate 12 gummy bears. Since then the tradition has evolved and now you can even buy gummies that look and taste like grapes but are in fact made out of jelly thus bridging the traditional NYE with the student one. 

What is definitely worth mentioning is the amazing 3D light show that took place last year. This visual spectacle raised certain questions since it was sponsored by a brand of rum and some people were asking whether it was appropriate. However, rum or no rum, it was seriously cool (as you will see for yourself in the video at the end of the post) and I would have definitely liked to see it live.

Photo retracted from http://www.nocheviejauniversitaria.com/historia-nochevieja
Lot of students will also stay in Salamanca overnight or even for the weekend since accommodation can also be included in the 'package'. Therefore, it goes without saying that this event is also economically significant to the hospitality sector which is highly important for Salamanca as well as the municipality itself. In 2011 only the consumptions related directly to La Nochevieja Universitaria reached a revenue of 150,000 euros. To ensure that everything runs smoothly the municipality strengthens the police presence as well as the intensity of the cleaning services.

So, as you can see, if you are in Salamanca on December 11, 2014 it is almost obligatory to attend La Nochevieja Universitaria. It might even be a good idea to invite your friends over and let them experience this unique event and its atmosphere. After all, it’s not every day you will see something like this…

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Activities 9.12.2014-14.12.2014

We hope that you had some time to chill out this weekend because we are back with fun activities! To give you a relaxed start we will begin with a Spanish movie night and then we will get more active. On Tuesday we will go ice skating and on Wednesday we will go to a swimming pool. Also, to help those in need we will go to a charity market and maybe some of you will buy something that catches their eye. And if you would like to travel there’s a weekend trip to Granada!

Monday 08: Holiday. 

Tuesday 09, 17:00: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Wednesday 10, 18:15: Ice skating – We'll go ice skating on an artificial ring close to Plaza de la Concordia. Approximate duration: 1h 30min. 

Thursday 11, 17:45: Swimming pool – We'll go to a swimming pool and have 45 minutes to swim as much as you want.  Approximate duration: 1h 30min. 

Friday 12, 19:00: Charity market – Support a good cause and come with us to a flea market at Calle Toro. All profits made will go to various charities and support those who need it the most. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Saturday 13: Excursion – Trip to Granada.  For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 14: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Being on a clock in Salamanca: 36 hours in the city

Some people think that being a tourist is a very relaxed activity and for some it actually may be. However, if you want to see ‘all there is to see’ and you only have a limited period of time, sightseeing might become a race and thus almost a sport in its own right. Do not be fooled, walking around and up and down the city (depends on what city you are visiting) is no easy task. A friend of mine came to visit me this weekend and unfortunately she could only stay a day and a half. Salamanca has a lot of things to offer, more than you can visit in 36 hours (unless you want to be sightseeing from 8am to 10pm without stopping for food).  The 2 things you simply must visit are the Cathedrals as well as Plaza Mayor. However, visiting these two doesn't mean that you've seen it all, it simply means that you won’t be chased by ghosts when leaving the city. 

I prepared a small ‘plan’ of basic things that in my opinion should be on anyone’s list. I didn't want her to feel overwhelmed, after all, she came here to relax and not to run around trying to do it all. The places I suggested were: Ieronimus, Scala Coeli and El Huerto de Calixto y Melibea (if you'd like more information about this garden have a look at our earlier article here).

Ieronimus is a permanent exhibition through the medieval towers of the Old and New Cathedrals where you can become familiar with their construction and history as well as with the interior of the cathedrals as seen from the inner platform. Also worth mentioning are the amazing views you can enjoy from the surrounding terraces and the towers themselves. 

Another exhibition, Scala Coeli, invites you to discover the two towers belonging to the ‘Clerecia’, a building directly opposite to ‘La Casa de las Conchas’ (The House of Shells). The view from the towers is breath-taking and you can see the New Cathedral from a slightly different perspective than you are used to. You will also get to see one side of Plaza Mayor which you are not accustomed to (you might not even realise it is Plaza Mayor at first). 

And as you might be a little bit exhausted after climbing all of the stairs (although it’s totally worth it), you might want to go have a look at Casa Lis, a Museum Art Nouveau and Art Déco, where you can see some interesting collections of glass and porcelain dolls and have a coffee at a quite unusual and charming café. And if you are only in town visiting there’s a well-stocked gift shop which has a different assortment than the rest of the tourist shops.


Although it is nice to explore the city by wandering around, sometimes it is just not possible and then you need to have a ‘plan’ or at least a doable list of things you would like to see and activities you’d like to do. I think that if you only have a limited time to spend in Salamanca then these things should be on your list. However, most importantly, do not forget to enjoy your time (relax) and feel Salamanca’s atmosphere. After all, that’s what travelling is about. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Activities 01.12.2014 - 07.12.2014

The last month of the year has arrived and with it the festive season typical for December. We will start off our week with a guided tour around Salamanca and if you would like to see it from above then you should definitely go with us to Scala Coeli where you will get a stunning view. There is also a poetry recital and a movie night and our very own language exchange between our students of Spanish and English. Also, do not forget that we are closed on Monday so we have a long weekend ahead of us, perfect for exploring Andalusia and/or Portugal. Don’t miss out and sign up for this week’s activities!

Monday 01, 18:45: Guided tour – One of our staff will give you a tour around Salamanca and show you the most important monuments. Approximate duration: 1h.

Tuesday 02, 20:15: Mini Poetry Recital – We’ll go to La Malhablada where the association Pentadrama will read some of their texts. Approximate duration: 1h.

Wednesday 03, 17:00: Visit to a Monument – We’ll go to Scala Coeli and climb up the two towers to see Salamanca from above. Approximate duration: 45min. 

Thursday 04, 17:00: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Friday 05, 19:30: Language exchange – We are organising a language exchange between our students of Spanish and students of English. Do not miss out this unique opportunity! Approximate duration: 1h.

Saturday 06: Excursion – Trip to Cordoba – Granada – Sevilla & Portugal. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 07: Excursion – For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

5 reasons to learn a foreign language abroad


There are many ways of learning a language and some are more effective than others. One technique will not suit all (probably even 20 different techniques wouldn't suit all) since the ‘best’ way to learn something is very subjective. Before I came to Salamanca many of my friends asked me why I am going to Spain to study Spanish while I could ‘just as easily’ learn it from the comfort of my own home in Slovakia.  Although I understood where they were coming from (some of them have never studied abroad), I couldn't really agree and little by little I have ended up with a list of reasons why I think it is a good idea to study Spanish in Spain and I would like to share it with you now.
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1. Immersion is key. The main point I couldn't agree on with my friends that I could learn Spanish ‘just as easily’ in Slovakia as I could do it in Spain (or any other Spanish speaking country).  Since I have tried to learn a few languages before, I know how my mind works and I know that ‘full immersion into the language and culture’ works best for me. I find it easier to learn a language when I am surrounded by it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week rather than 2.5 hours once a week.  When you are in the country full of native speakers you listen to the language all the time, whether you are using public transport, walking on the street or doing groceries (I am not mentioning being in class because that’s a given when you decide to join a language school).

2. Personal growth. The second reason is that although it is nice to stay somewhere where you are already know the environment and the people, most of personal development occurs while you are out of your comfort zone. Being out of your comfort zone is not always the most pleasant of experiences (hence the term), however, once the things outside of your comfort zone become part of it you will feel better and there’s a big chance you will have changed as a person too (for the better, of course).

3. Meet new people. The third reason is that whenever you move into a new place you will meet new people, however, that doesn’t always mean you will also make new friends. On the other hand, when you go to study a foreign language abroad you are very likely to meet a lot of like-minded individuals who are also looking for new friends and are eager to get to know you.  And because you are more or less in the same situation it is likely that you will bond faster than in ‘normal’ circumstances and that your friendships will last longer.

4. Once you are there, travel around. The forth reason is maybe the strongest incentive for some and that is travelling. Especially if the person lives rather far from the country where the language is spoken, it is cheaper and more comfortable to travel around the country once you are in it than if you have fly there every time (not to mention that you will visit many interesting places that you would not otherwise). For example, I have visited places such as Segovia, Ávila, La Alberca and Ciudad Rodrigo that I would not have otherwise visited (or even known about).

5. Good for work. And last but not least, if you are thinking about your future, studying a language abroad may help you gain a competitive advantage whether you are considering applying for a university programme or looking for a job. University admissions and job hunting are becoming more and more competitive and the importance of being able to differentiate yourself is increasing. Being able to speak one or more foreign languages is always advantageous, however, studying the language in its country of origin is even more than that. It shows that you are independent, able to take care of yourself, that you like challenges and that you are not afraid of getting out of your comfort zone and personally develop.

As a person who has studied abroad a relatively long time, I dare to say that all of these things are true. If you feel that you are have lived in a bubble then learning a foreign language abroad is the right thing to do. It will broaden your horizons by getting to know a different culture and language and new people who are likely to be from all over the world, and by bringing some new challenges that you have not expected. And most importantly, when all is said and done you will feel like a new person who has accomplished a great lot of things since you left home. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Activities 24.11.2014 - 30.11.2014

We will start off this week by a Spanish cinema evening followed by some arts & crafts making on Tuesday. For those of you who like to cook and try new food we have prepared a paella cooking class on Wednesday and an international dinner on Friday. And if you like art we will go to an art exhibition of Salamanca’s very own Enrique Marty on Thursday. Don’t miss out and sign up for this week’s activities!

Monday 24, 17:30: Film – Spanish cinema evening to continue practicing your Spanish listening and comprehension skills.

Tuesday 25, 19:00: Arts & Crafts – Christmas is coming in 4 weeks and so each of us will prepare an advent calendar to await its arrival. . Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Wednesday 26, 18:45: Cooking class – This week we will learn how to cook a delicious paella. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Thursday 27, 18:30: Exposition – We’ll go to the museum of modern art DA2 to see the works of Enrique Marty, an artist from Salamanca. Approximate duration: 1h. 

Friday 28, 19:00: International Dinner – There are many international students at Tía Tula and we think it’s a good idea for each of you to try different cuisines. And so, everyone should bring one dish (salty or sweet) for others to try. Approximate duration: 1h 30 min.

Saturday 29: Excursion – Trip to Cáceres. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Sunday 30: Excursion – Trip to Toledo. For more information please ask at the reception desk.

Please don’t forget that you need to sign up for each activity at the reception desk (to reserve your place, the minimum number of participants required is usually three). Also, unless stated otherwise, the meeting point is always the same Tia Tula school. Lastly, if there’s no price mentioned with the activity it means it is free. 

And don’t hesitate to participate in as many activities as you can, they are designed not just for you to have fun (that is guaranteed) but also to improve your knowledge of Salamanca and Spanish culture, and to put into practice the Spanish you learn in class.