Day 1 - #Butterflies

June 5th 2016

Gemma Duffy - CSS Group Leader

Hi, my name's Gemma Duffy, the Irish group leader for this year's CSS Valencia language programme! I am a Spanish secondary school teacher in Bush Post Primary in Carlingford, Co. Louth and I am leading a small group of Irish secondary school students over to Valencia, Spain, to improve their Spanish language skills and also to have a great time at the same time.

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Day 2 - #ItStarts

June 6th 2016

Monday was our first full day in Valencia and what a busy day it was! Our classes are split between two language academies - AIP academy in the morning and CSS Valencia academy in the afternoon. We had breakfast with our host families and our host mother or father accompanied each of us to AIP academy, showing us the way. All of us live within a short distance of both academies.

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Day 3 - #ToTheTop

June 7th 2016

After classes in the morning, we went to the Nuevo Centro shopping centre where we got a chance to do some shopping and check if McDonald's in Spain is much different to McDonald's in Ireland; something very important for teenagers who don't want to risk tasting unknown foods in another country!!

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Day 4 - #Escape

June 8th 2016

After classes in the morning, we had lunch at a park and then had another class with Marta in the CSS academy. We study every morning from 09:00 to 13:00 in AIP Academy, where we study a general language course with other international students, each of us in a level-specific class. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, after lunch, we have a one-hour class, from 14:30 to 15:30, in CSS Valencia Academy where we have specific conversation classes just for our group.

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Day 5 - #CatchingWaves

June 9th 2016

After classes, Carla brought us to a nearby village called Pobla de Farnals where she introduced us to her brother, Rubén and her friend Santi. Rubén and Santi, who work at the surf club there, showed us how to paddle surf! This involved balancing on a surfboard and using a paddle to navigate through the water!

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Day 6 - #AfternoonOff

June 10th 2016

Every Friday, after classes finish in AIP Academy at 13:00, we have a free afternoon. Evie, Ailbhe and Emily decided to go to the beach to work on their tan and have a well deserved rest and then later went to the Nuevo Centro shopping centre to get their nails done.

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Day 7 - #TheFutureUnderWater

June 11th 2016

Saturday is set aside for a whole-day activity. So today we all met with Carla at 9:30am at the metro stop in Benimaclet and she brought us to the 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias' (City of Arts & Science) which is a really impressive, modern part of the city. This futuristic architectural complex was amazing to see and is truly out-of-this-world.

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Day 8 - #Birthdays

June 12th 2016

Sundays are our days of rest. We are busy with Spanish language classes and activities from Monday to Friday, and then a full activity day on Saturday and have Sunday to ourselves. Evie, Ailbhe and Emily decided to go to the beach to relax and they also did some shopping in the evening.

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Waterballs at the City of Arts and Science

Day 9 - #HampsterLife

June 13th 2016

After our class in CSS Valencia we went to the City of Arts & Science at 16:00 where we watched a short documentary on Robots in the amazing and enormous 180-degree IMAX cinema in a building called the Hemisférico. Afterwards, we had great fun in the waterballs!

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Day 10 - #LittleVenice

June 14th 2016

After classes in AIP we went to a nearby village called Alboraya. This is Carla's hometown and she showed us the new development of Port Splaya, located on the coast beside a wonderful beach. Port Splaya is the Little Venice of Valencia with the buildings resembling those in Venice and canals which provide a harbour for boats coming in from the Mediterranean.

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Day 11 - #Shopping

June 15th 2016

We finished class at 15:30 in CSS Valencia and then it was off shopping! We have fitted in a bit of shopping over the past 10 days of the programme but today has been set aside as a designated shopping day.

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Day 12 - #PaddlePaddleStandUp!!

June 16th 2016

Today was our second day of surfing. We had such fun last week that we really wanted to try it again. Last week we did paddle surf, as the Mediterranean was so still and calm that day that there were no waves to surf.

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Day 13 - #UrbanArtTour

June 17th 2016

On Fridays we finish class at 13:00. We normally have the afternoons to ourselves but this afternoon, after classes, we decided to join José and a group of students from the AIP academy to do a special urban art tour of the city.

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Waterpark in Cullera

Waterpark in Cullera

Waterpark in Cullera

Day 14 - #Splash!

June 18th 2016

Every Saturday we have a full-day's activity. We had been looking forward to this one for the past week: a trip to the Aquópolis aquatic park! We met with Liam and Carla, the CSS reps, at the metro stop of Benimaclet where we took the metro to the Estación del Norte, the main train station in Valencia.

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Day 15 - #FirstFarewell

June 19th 2016

It’s Sunday and so we can relax. It was also Ailbhe and Emily's last day and Liam, the CSS rep, met the two girls at Benimaclet metro stop at 13:30 to take them to the airport. Their flight home was at 16:35 and after a couple of frantic minutes repacking to meet the Ryanair weight limit for checked-in luggage, they went through security without any problems and took the flight home.

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Day 16 - #TheGiant

June 20th 2016

Today we had classes as usual in the morning and in the afternoon we got to meet a new CSS Valencia activities officer whose name is also Gema! Gema brought us to the 'Mestalla' which is the name of the Valencia Football Club stadium. We had to wait a little while for the tour to start so we went for an ice-cream in a nearby cafeteria and then we had a browse around the official shop of the Valencia FC.

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Day 17 - #Sailing

June 21st 2016

After classes we went with Gema to a Natural Park called Albufera. Albufera boasts the largest lake in Spain and we got to take a boat trip around the lake! Afterwards we walked to a protected beach where there are no commercial businesses or facilities, just nature at its best! We relaxed there for a while and Evie went for a swim in the sea. The sand here in Valencia is a so fine and golden; it's beautiful! I love it!

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Day 18 - #SpanishWordGames

June 22nd 2016

We do our weekly exam on Wednesdays. Today is our last one. The result will be displayed on our finishing certificates and I have to admit, it was quite challenging! 

After classes we walked to Parque Viveros with Gema and she showed us the ruins of an old Palace from hundreds of years ago when the royal family used to live here in Valencia.

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Day 19 - #TheSurfers

June 23rd 2016

It’s Thursday and after classes we went to Pobla de Farnales where we met with Santi for another Surf lesson! This time there were some good waves and we had such a laugh trying to stand up on the surf boards! Everyone managed to do it by the end of the lesson and it felt great!! I think I've found a new hobby!

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Day 20 - #GraduationDay

June 24th 2016

Today was our last day of classes and we were so sad to say goodbye to our teachers and our classmates! We each got a certificate indicating our participation in the course and our level of Spanish. We took lots of pictures and I must admit I'm going to miss the classes! Mícheál and Evie said they wished their classes were the same in Ireland! I know I definitely enjoyed mine! 

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Day 21 - #TopNotch!

June 25th 2016

Oh my god! Terra Mitica = Class Craic = Muy Guay! What a fun way to spend our last full Saturday here! Terra Mitica is a theme park located in Benidorm and it is top notch! We all met at 9am and the CSS reps Liam and Gema drove myself, Evie and Mícheál to the theme park whch is 120kms south of Valencia, a 1.5 hour drive. 

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Day 22 - #HomeTime

June 26th 2016

The last day of the programme. We go our separate ways today. Evie is flying home to Dublin and so Liam, the CSS rep, met her at 14:00 to drive her to the airport. Carla brought myself and Mícheál to the train station where we said our sad goodbyes. We are taking a train to Murcia to spend a few more days on the coast before we fly home to Ireland next Friday. 

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Carla interviews Mícheál

Carla interviews Evie