WPS-Colegio del Carmen Cultural Exchange: The Final Post

Hola a todos,

It is Saturday, August 12th, and we have been home for a little under 24 hours. In reflecting on the last few days of our trip, I am amazed at this beautiful experience!

Monday night, the American chaperones were invited to an asado – or barbecue! There, we at costillas, morcillo, salad, potatoes, and flan. We enjoyed this meal so much!

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After the cabalgata/horseback riding excursion on Monday, we attended classes on Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, on Tuesday, 5 of our American students participated in an English debate against the Argentinians. We learned a new style of debating, all the while working together to come up with questions about the motion: “the role of schools in addressing cyberbullying.”

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After the debate, we were interviewed by the San Rafael Newspaper. We were asked questions about our experience, whether we liked our visit to Argentina, etc. ¡Qué famosos somos!

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The newspaper article should be published in the next few days. We will let you know when we receive word!

On Wednesday, we had such a wonderfully busy last day! We started off in class and then, at lunchtime, we began the packing process before a fun night of festivities. Packing was interesting seeing that we had purchased a bunch of items to bring home to the States.

 

 

Sitting on our suitcases in order to close them and arranging everything with care, we packed everything as much as we could prior to the dance!

Later that evening, we were all invited to a special event, the end of the exchange dance! For this event, the restaurant bar Fonix was rented out. We got ready for a fun night of dancing and hanging with our Colegio del Carmen amigos! We were able to order drinks – soda or fruit smoothies – and either sit at the tables or dance on the dance floor. Either way, we had fun learning salsa and cumbia dance moves and took lots of pictures with our friends!

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So much fun! Baila baila baila! This last night was such a blast!

The hard part came the next day – Thursday morning – when we had to say “goodbye.” This was an emotional adiós with some tears and lots of “thank yous” and hugs.

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Everyone was sad at the end of the exchange. It took almost one hour to say our “goodbyes” before we embarked on the first portion of our trip back home to the United States. Our bus ride from San Rafael to Mendoza took about 3 hours. Then, our first flight was to Santiago de Chile. For this first leg of the trip, we flew over the Andes Mountains. Such beautiful snow-topped mountains that we saw from the plane!

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Then, after our short flight, we had a 4-hour layover in the Santiago de Chile Airport. The long flight departed at 9:45 p.m. and landed in John F. Kennedy New York at 8:10 a.m. the next day!

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After a wonderful couple of weeks in Argentina, we were happy to finally be home. What an incredible experience – We could not thank our Argentinian host families enough! Also, muchas gracias to the Argentinian teachers who organized the visit for us. An unforgettable experience, muchísimas gracias por todo!

Thank you, WPS students, for being a joy to travel with!

Until next time,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Rose, Ms. Churma, and Mr. Fleischmann

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La Cabalgata/Horseback Riding Excursion

Hola Familias!!

¡Esperemos que estén “re” bien! We have had the best day! Our Cabalgata/Horseback Riding Excursion in Valle Grande began with a short bus ride!IMG_8688

Once we arrived, we split into two groups: one to begin with horseback riding and the other to take a short bus ride to the man-made lake with a large dam. This water source helps generate electricity. During the winter months, the dam keeps the water from the reservoir from going into the river. However, in the summer, the water is allowed to pass through to create a higher water level in the river. This allows for fun summer activities, like kayaking and rafting on a class 3 rapids.

There, we could spend time with our hosts, walk around, as well as have an impromptu photoshoot! ¡Qué divertido!

The lake was stunning! With such pure, clear water and different colors of rock and sand. We had to capture the moment!

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After our walk around the dam, we swapped activities and began the horseback riding portion of the excursion. First, we received a detailed demonstration of how to safely ride a horse. We learned about steering and braking – all useful tips prior to riding! Then, we proceeded to hop on the horses and set out in groups of 6 or 7 people with 1 guide each. This way, the guides were able to answer any questions we had as well as assist us throughout the ride!

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Valle Grande was unlike anything we had seen before! The mountains of rock and sand were gorgeous and had varying colors.

Overall, we had an unbelievable time! Even the teachers!

Before we returned to Colegio del Carmen, we made one last stop in Valle Grande for lunch by the river! There, we ate empanadas and pernil sandwiches. So delicious!

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Such a wonderful and unforgettable day!

Gracias for reading!

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Churma, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Fleischmann

Weekend Festivities

¡Hola Familias!

Our second weekend was such a blast! From Valle Grande (Great Valley) to Las Leñas, some of us traveled with our host families. Others stayed right here in San Rafael, spending time with their Argentinian parents, brothers, and sisters!

The teachers kicked off the weekend with a trip to Sabores and Secretos del Monte. At Sabores, we were able to try all type of jelly, marmalade, and dulce de leche. All of these products were handmade at the shop! At Secretos del Monte, a specialty smoked meats shop, we tried smoked beef, bacon, pork, and deer among others! In the shop, our favorite Mr. Fleischmann, or as we affectionately refer to him, Tío Pedro, tried on an interesting boar’s hat!

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The weekend was complete with a trip to La Juanita Repostería Artesanal! There, we tried gathered with the Argentinian program director, Mannie, and our fellow Argentinian English teachers, Valeria, Belén, Silvina, and Emilce. Such delicious pastries, hot tea, and great conversation!

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While the teachers were checking out these local artisanal shops, the students were visiting amazing sights all over the region of Mendoza!

Some went to eat at delicious Argentinian restaurants!

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Others went shopping in search for gifts to bring home for family and friends (and maybe some cookies or alfajores to snack on while we are still here in Argentina)! Delicious artisanal food, leather products, and handmade souvenirs are some of the more popular Argentinian purchases. Our Lyman Hall/Sheehan High School sword even made it to Ketobac, a popular local shop!

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Some students also visited Las Leñas, a ski resort located in Malargue which is about 2-3 hours from San Rafael. Many students walked around, took pictures, stayed overnight in the family’s homes, and even went sledding too!

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While they were bundled up in the snowy mountains of the Andes, a large group of American and Argentinian students had a picnic in San Rafael!

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Either way, we were able to see beautiful sights as well as spend a lovely weekend with our familias argentinas!

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We crossed over bridges and took pictures of beautiful rivers!

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Los Reyunos Lago was another popular destination.

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Some students even went ziplining over Lago Los Reyunos!

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Others ventured out on quads!

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Gracias to our familias argentinas for making this second weekend just as adventurous and awesome as our first! We had a great time and are looking forward to our horse-riding excursion tomorrow!

Hasta mañana,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Churma, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Fleischmann

¡Baila, Baila, Baila!

¡Buenas noches, familias!

Happy Weekend! We enjoyed an interesting opportunity on Friday – a dance lesson! Our dance instructors included professionals and their assistants who have been studying el baile argentino (Argentine dance)!

We began the lesson with an exposition from the teachers themselves! Very dramatic!

We watched intently and tried our best to learn the steps or pasos to the dance!

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We started the lesson with a folk dance! In order to learn this dance, we snapped our fingers to keep time, paired off, and practiced the turns and foot movements – forward and backward. This dance did not seem too difficult; and, in general, we were able to complete the dance without fumbling too too much!

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After the folk dance, we dove right into the Argentine tango! We split off – girls on one side and boys on the other. The girls practiced the unique turns that are characteristic of the famous Argentine tango. Holding onto the wall was incredibly helpful as we were learning this step to be able to execute it with a dance partner.

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Then, in watching a few teachers and students model the dance, we saw how the dance progressed – from the hold to the choreography that we were challenged to learn. All the while, the instructions were provided in only Spanish. WPS students did a nice job of trying out this new type of dance!

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Since there were only two WPS boys present at the dance lesson, one of our students, Matt, thought that he could try on the skirt and take the role of the woman in the dance! We thought that this falda was a hilarious addition to the dance pair! ¡Olé!

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What a fabulous opportunity to dance the Argentine tango in Argentina! Gracias for this opportunity, Mannie and Colegio del Carmen! An absolutely fun and exhilarating experience from our trip that we surely won’t forget!

Should you like to view either of videos from the dance class, please feel free to send me an e-mail at sfallahi@wallingfordschools.org. Gracias!

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Hasta la vista,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Churma, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Fleischmann

Presentations #2, Raising of the Flags, and Classes

¡Hola, hola, hola!

Thursday was the final full day of presentations for the American students! We were able to provide a great deal of information about United States’ culture, customs, holidays, daily routine, weekend activities, and places to see! Each presentation was so articulate and detailed – The students made us teachers very proud!

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However, by the end of the 6th session of presentations, we were definitely ready for some new topics! Nevertheless, we listened attentively and demonstrated the utmost respect while others presented!

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Word had spread that we had a magician in our midst. The 6th grade group even requested that Matt perform another magic trick with his playing cards!

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Then, after the presentations, the students reunited with their host families – even their occasionally rambunctious younger Argentinian brothers!

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As the students returned home for lunch and siesta, many of the teachers were able to venture out into the town and grab a coffee from one of the local cafés, such as Havana, which is nearby the school! ¡Qué rico!

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Today, on Friday, we reunited in the lobby of the school, Colegio del Carmen. We were invited to the school’s morning assembly.

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During this gathering, the Argentinian students in Kindergarten through 7th grade (that’s right, 7th grade is still considered to be “primary” at CDC), sang the national anthem and raised the blue and white Argentinian flag!

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Then, after the raising of the flag, we were invited to introduce ourselves by stating our name, our age, and one activity that we liked to do. Surprisingly, the young Argentinian students were able to understand our brief introductions, telling Andrea – Miss Fallahi’s host – in the assembly that we liked a number activities, from watching movies to dancing and swimming! I for one was incredibly impressed with the level of English that these young students have, especially since many attend the optional bilingual classes in the afternoon. ¡Excelente! They were so excited to meet and greet us!

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Following this assembly, we returned to our host brothers and sisters and attended classes with them. The teachers went to Andrea’s class and saw how she teaches 4th grade science through English immersion! The students were so engaged in the lesson about the changes in states of matter!

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We really enjoyed spending time with the students in the primary school of Colegio del Carmen today!

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Such an interesting day! We enjoyed spending time with our Argentinian hosts and took a nice group shot!

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Later this afternoon, we will have the unique opportunity to attend a dance class! Can’t wait to baila, baila!

Talk soon,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Churma, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Fleischmann

Más Fotos

¡Buenas noches amigos!

I apologize – The blog entry from yesterday somehow did not load properly. Here are a few more pictures from Wednesday’s Parque de Aventuras excursion!

First, here’s a picture of the empanadas that we scarfed down in between activities!

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We also received pictures of the beautiful park!

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We sure lucked out with the weather! The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was a crisp 70 degrees during the daytime. We could have not asked for a more perfect day for this outdoor excursion!

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Throughout the day, apart from lunch, we took turns in small groups at each of the major activities. We were able to capture some special moments during the mountain biking…

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…trekking…

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…finally reaching the top of the mountain…

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…ziplining…

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…or even scaling the mountain during the air games!

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Either way, we enjoyed ourselves immensely! Thank you so much to the Argentinian teachers for planning such an ideal day for all of us!

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Please stay tuned for more!

Hasta luego,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Rose, Ms. Churma, and Mr. Fleishmann

 

 

 

El parque de aventuras

Hola lectores!

¡Hoy hemos tenido el día perfecto en el parque de aventuras! That’s right, aventuras…Amazing adventures!

While not all of the pictures have been shared, I thought that I would at the very least start with the pictures that were taken in my group!

Today, we traveled to a brand new park located near Las Tinajas. It was owned by the very same people, a man and his family, who bought and privately run the park. What a project it must have been for them because the park is so absolutely incredible!

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This morning, after meeting at Colegio del Carmen and traveling a short distance in coach bus, we arrived to the adventure park! There, we were greeted and separated into three adventure groups. Then, we took turns experiencing different activities alongside our Argentinian brothers and sisters!

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At a whopping 70 degrees, the day was as beautiful as could be and perfect for these outdoor activities! My group began with mountain biking. Up and down the small hills on the gravel paths, we rode as a group.

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The blue sky combined with the red, yellow, and brown rock and vegetation resulting from the arid climate made for a breathtaking sight!

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After mountain biking, my group next continued onto trekking.

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During this, we hiked up the path created within the park. This activity was complete with obstacles. At times, to scale the rocks, we needed to hold onto a rope and move slowly (right foot then left foot). Other times, we needed to hoist ourselves up with a rope or even climb a ladder! The rocks sometimes only left us with very small spaces.

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Either way, we helped one another by extending a hand. Our tour guide kept stating, “Buen equipo,” or “good team!” and it sure was! We encouraged one another, especially on the more challenging parts of the course. Occasionally, we even stopped to take a picture in front of rocks…

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…climbing ladders…

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…or even taking in the scenery!

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Sometimes, teachers even took a candid shot (thank you, Miss Churma!).

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We took a small group shot at the top of the mountain! We made it!

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Throughout the day, the groups rotated at four stations, one of which was lunch. During these activities, we worked up an appetite and chowed down on pasteles, or Argentinian fried empanadas, crust filled with beef and egg. Apart from being delicious, this lunch also gave us a rest period to hang out and relax!

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We finished off the day with air games! This included ziplining, repelling, and a ropes course. Some of these activities challenged us physically, however, we were safe at all times with the guides right by our side to help us if needed. Helmets were a must!

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Even for goofball teacher chaperones!

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Here are some of the pictures that students wanted to share about this part of the day!

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Today was such a fun-filled day! A truly unforgettable experience! Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 11.16.47 PM.png

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Thank you for following this blog and reading the posts! If you have any pictures that you would like to contribute, please feel free to e-mail me at sfallahi@wallingfordschools.org or text at (203) 506-0729. Also, by parent request, we now have a shared folder on Google Drive for pictures taken on the Argentina Exchange Trip.

Until later!

Gracias,

Miss Fallahi, Ms. Churma, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Fleischmann