Spanish American Institute of International Education - SAIIE - Co Curricular Activities

SAIIE programs are structured around the active integration of our students into the Spanish lifestyle and culture, and with this in mind, we support our academic program with an extensive range of cultural activities, from volunteering and internship opportunities to numerous day and weekend trips as well as daily socio-cultural activities run each afternoon after class. In addition, we also offer a popular language exchange service (intercambio program) where we partner American students with Spanish students to provide a fun and relaxed way of improving their speaking skills in real-life situations.

SAIIE strongly promotes the social educational activities, because it’s a great tool for students to learn and immerse themselves into the Spanish culture.  Through these activities you will be able to find out more about the city, Spanish customs, culture, language, food, etc, which will complement your education in class.  Throughout the term, every week the school will organize activities in the evening from Monday through Thursday.

Some of these activities will have to be done in group fostering communication and team orientation, which will be very beneficial for the student’s future career.  

Day trips and overnight trips are offered throughout the semester. Some of these trips are included in the program cost. The rest of the trips are optional. Day trips usually take place on a Friday. Overnight trips usually take place from Friday to Sunday.

Usually in spring and fall we offer 5 day trips and 3 weekend trips depending on the calendar.

Some of these trips could include the following:

Day trips

Ronda

ronda-2013As one of the oldest towns in Spain you'll find history around every corner in Ronda. There are traces of Ronda's origins from the Neolithic age, through the era of the Romans, the Arab age and the conquest of the ancient city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1485 through to the 19th century when Ronda was best known for the banditry in the surrounding hills and the origins of bullfighting in the Ronda bullring which still stands.

It's a town that you'll need to come back again and again to visit and you'll make new discoveries and friends every time you visit!

Click here to view more photos of Ronda!

Aracena

aracena7Aracena is a small town located in the province of Huelva. The historic quarter, declared a Cultural Object, and the grotto of Maravillas are the main attractions.

The first thing we see as we approach the town, is an Almohad tower that bore for almost two hundred years the standard of the Templar Knights. The city centre has numerous interesting monuments, such as the castle and church of the Templar Knigths, from the 13th and 14th centuries; the Renaissance church of Asunción, from the 16th century; the old City Hall, a medieval building with a 16th-century main front; and the Gothic church of Nuestra Señora del Mayor Dolor, from the 13th and 15th centuries, the oldest in Aracena. However, the most interesting of all is the grotto of Maravillas, with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, which at 1,500 metres is one of the longest caves in Spain. Inside the grotto we find twelve halls and six lakes.

Córdoba

Cordoba2013In Roman times, Córdoba had more cultural buildings than Rome. It was the capital of the province of Hispania Baetica. Remains of the Roman Temple built by Claudius Marcellus, the Roman Bridge and other Roman remains can still be seen around the city.

Córdoba was conquered by the Moors in 711, and Moorish influence can still be felt in the city. During the time of Islamic rule, Córdoba was the largest city and embodied the most sophisticated culture and the most developed bureaucracy in Europe.

The most important monument in the city is the former Mosque (the 3rd largest mosque in the world), known by its Spanish name, Mezquita. After the conquest, the Christians built a cathedral in the middle of this large complex, so it is now two sacred sites in one.

Córdoba was recovered from Muslim invaders by Christian forces as part of the Reconquista in 1236, and became a centre of activity against the remaining Islamic population. Surviving Renaissance monuments in Córdoba include the Palacio de Viana, the city's Ducal Palace.

Click here to view more photos of Córdoba!

Gibraltar

gibraltar2010Located in the most Southern point of Spain, the rock of Gibraltar occupies a strategic position at the eastern entrance to the narrow straight and guards the only exit from the Mediterranean to the wide ocean beyond. Gibraltar has been in the historical limelight for over 3,000 years.

It was during the capture of Gibraltar by the Castillians (1309-1333) that the streets of the lower town were constructed and Gibraltar became a substancial city.

Gibraltar became a British garrison in 1830 (During the War of the Spanish Succession) and was declared a colony. Since then Britain and Spain have have had many disputes over the territory.

Among its many tourist attractions one of the main ones is to visit the monkeys on the rock. Nobody knows how the famous tailless Macaques came to be on the Rock.

Click here to view more photos of Gibraltar!

Itálica and Archeological Museum

Itálica

italica5Founded by General Publius Cornelius Scipio (he was later known as Scipio Africanus) in 206 BC next to a Turdentian settlement, 7 kilometers from Seville, It demonstrates wonderful examples of Roman architecture, mosaic work and city layouts. Italica was one of the first Roman towns in Spain. Called Italica in remembrance of Italy. Originally it was simply a hospital and a small military base designed to house the wounded veterans of the war with the Carthaginians led by Hannibal and was built after the battle of Ilipa (Alcala del Rio), but it soon developed into an important port and in the first century AD give birth first to Trajan and then Hadrian (though some accounts say Trajan was really born in Rome). Hadrian took particular pride in his native town and embellished it with many of the buildings that are to be seen today.

Archeological Museum

arqueologico2

One of the best museums of its kind in Spain, located in the Maria Luisa Park and originally built as part of the 1929 exhibition. The focus is on the Romans, but there is also a prehistorical section which includes the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Later, the Phoenicians, the Greeks and the Carthaginians all traded and settled in what is now the province of Seville.

Be sure not to miss the Carambolo Treasure located in the section of the Phoenician colonisation. In 1958, workmen digging foundations for a new sports club found twenty one pieces of gold jewellery, including a necklace, bracelets and pieces from a crown dating from the 6th century. In the design, there are clear connections with the Orient, raising questions about who these people were who were the inhabitants of Andalucia all those thousands of years ago.

The basement here houses Paleothic artifacts and items, such as copies of the remarkable Tartessian Carambolo treasures. This hoard of 6th century BC gold jewellery was discovered near Seville in 1958.

The main galleries are upstairs and are devoted to the Roman era with statues and fragments rescued from the nearby ancient site of Italica. Highlights include a third century BC mosaic from Ecija and sculptures of local born emperors, Trajan and Hadrian. The rooms continue to Moorish Spain via Palaeo-Christian sarucophagi. Visigothic relics and artifacts discovered at Medina Azahara.

Click here to view more photos of Itálica and click here for Archeological Museum! 

Jerez

jerez2013Spend the day in a unique town where we will take you to the one of the most famous wineries we have in Spain, González Byass. Learn the process of how they make sherry wine and its history.

González Byass is one of Spain's most well-known sherry bodega. Its origins can be traced to 1835 when the business was started by Manuel María González Angel, who was subsequently joined by his English agent, Robert Blake Byass. The González family assumed sole control of the business in 1988. The firm produces the world known sherry Tío Pepe.

Not only was the Gonzalez family at the forefront of sherry winemaking, they’ve also participated in the introduction of the polo game in Spain, the first grass tennis court, the installation of the first electric lighting and running water in the plant, the first train project in Spain as well as numerous other industrial and cultural innovations.

 

Cádiz (Beach trip)

cadizCádiz is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in southwestern Europe. The “Tacita de Plata” was founded in 1100 B.C. by the Phoenicians, a seafaring people who turned Gadir into an important trading colony where the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Visigoths and the Muslims would all subsequently settle. An open, cosmopolitan city, it sport was chosen by Columbus as the point of departure for his second voyage to the New World. The city would then become, after the decline of Seville, the port to The Indies, drawing the flow of trade with the American Continent. This frantic commercial activity then brought about an era of economic, cultural splendour, when Baroque palaces with their characteristic towers offering amazing views were built.

Havana is Cadiz! A stroll along the Cadiz sea front, from La Caleta to the Campo del Sur, will remind the visitor of the image of the avenue the Malecón in Havana, as there are many similarities between Cadiz and Latin American cities, thanks to the constant flow of people travelling between Cadiz and the New World. The cathedral in Cadiz is a good example of this influence, as are several of the manor houses and the towers with their views which grew up in the midst of old Cadiz’s cityscape during the expansion into America.

 

Weekend Trips

Madrid

madrid1The capital of Spain, located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula and right in the center of the country, with a population of over three million people. Madrid is cosmopolitan city, a business center, headquarters for the Public Administration Government, Spanish Parliament and the home of the Spanish Royal Family. Madrid also plays an important role in both the banking and industrial sectors.

Madrid, originally called Mayrit, was founded by the emir of Córdoba Muhammad at the end of the 9th century. During the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians, Madrid passed from Muslim to Christian hands several times, it was the origin of the mixture of cultures which characterizes the city still today.

The present location of Madrid, in the centre of Spain, was established by the king Alfonso I in 1083. Madrid was nonetheless chosen by Felipe II as the capital of Spain in 1561. However, the Spanish Court moved again to Valladolid in 1601, but it returned definitively to Madrid 5 years later.

What remains today of the distant past are mainly Baroque and Neoclassical structures, and buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as “Plaza Mayor”and “Palacio Real”.

Lisbon

lisboaThe capital of Portugal since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, Lisbon is a legendary city with over 20 centuries of History. The Alfama is one of the oldest quarters in Lisbon.

Once the launch pad for many of the voyages of discovery (notablyVasco da Gama's epic journey to India), Lisbon was the first true world city, the capital of an empire spreading over all continents, from South America (Brazil) to Asia (Macao, China; Goa, India). It is forever known as the city of the explorers.

Explore World Heritage architectural marvels. The city's legendary seven hills will also seduce you into admiring characteristic mosaic pavements and dazzling tiled façades, and will reward you with strategically placed miradouros or viewpoints offering breathtaking panoramas over the city after a ride on a charming old tram. Lisbon's has a wonderful mix of the old-fashioned and the hip; of the historic and the modern, but you'll also want to go outside the city to the fairytale town of Sintra and to the cosmopolitan shore of Cascais.

Lagos

lagosLagos is located in Southern Portugal in the region of Algarve and has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. This will be a great ooprtunitty to spend a relaxing weekend on the beach. The area offers many exciting activities such as surfing, biking, sailing, etc…

Click here to view more photos of Lagos!

 

 

 

Morocco

moroco.2012.2In Morocco, we will be visiting the cities of Tangier, Asilah, and Chefchaouen.

Tangier is a city in northern Morocco. It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean of Cape Spartel.

Asilah is a fortified town on the northwest tip of the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Its ramparts and gateworks remain fully intact. Its history dates back to 1500 B.C., when the Phoenicians used it as a base for trade. This town has been occupied since than by the Portuguese (1471), the Spaniards (1912), and now the Morrocans.

Chefchaouen is a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief twon of the province of the same name, and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue. The city was founded in 1471, as a small fortress which still exists to this day, by Moorish exiles from Spain to fight the Portuguese invasions of northern Morocco. In 1920, the Spanish seized Chefchaouen. Spain returned the city after the independence of Morocco in 1956

Granada

AlhambraGranada is situated in the eastern part of the region of Andalusia. Its unique history has bestowed it with an artistic grandeur embracing Moorish palaces and Christian Renaissance treasures. As the last Moorish capital on the Iberian Peninsula, it also holds great symbolic value.

The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is in Granada. It is the most renowned building of the Andalusian Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the touristic cities of Spain.

The Almohad influence on architecture is preserved in the area of the city called the Albaicin with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction.

Granada is also well known for the Sierra Nevada Mountains where you can ski. This is Europe’s most southerly ski resort and it is small in comparison to other European resorts.

Intercambio Program

We run a successful language exchange service, the “intercambio program”, through which we assign each student a native Spanish partner. This gives students the chance to practice and improve their speaking skills in a fun and relaxed environment outside the classroom, whilst meeting local Spaniards and learning about the culture.

We also organize various group “intercambio” activities (optional) throughout each term. Past events have included wine tasting sessions and tapas dinners with intercambios.