Sunday 2nd of July

#Here we come

Off to Valencia

Hello, my name is Mícheál Duffy, I'm 16 and I just did my Junior Cert. I went to Valencia last year with CSS and enjoyed it so much that I've returned this year. I'm part of an Irish group of students, there are 7 of us in total: Myself, Andrea, Leena, Conor, Iseult, Ione and Gemma (My sister and the leader of the group).
We all met at Dublin Airport for the first time and everyone was really excited to be going on the trip. We met with all of the others at an agreed meeting point and Gemma introduced herself to everyone’s parents before we headed off to check in our luggage. After going through security, we had plenty of time to relax and look around the shops.

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Monday 3rd of July

#DayOne

We woke up early to get to the Language School called AIP where we sat an entrance exam to determine what class we would be in and our level of Spanish. Our host families brought us into the school this morning to make sure we all knew the way. I already knew my way from being here last year but the others were happy to be shown the way for the first time.

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Centre of Spanish Studies class - outside

Tuesday 4th July

#MasterChef

Everyone seems to be settling in very well with their host families, especially Ione and Iseult who have Spanish ‘siblings’ who are similar in age to them. Ione’s Spanish sister has been accompanying her on the metro while Ione gets used to it. Leena’s host family also have another student who is from Hungary and she gets on really well with him.

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Learning how to make paella

Wednesday 5th July

#Voleibol

I must say I really enjoy the Spanish classes here! I know it seems mad to ‘enjoy’ being in classes during the summer holidays but they really are good fun! We play games and have conversations and I really think I am learning a lot. I notice myself understanding much more Spanish and it’s kind of cool because some of the students here don’t speak English but do speak some Spanish (like me!) so we can still have a conversation through Spanish.

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Volleyball at the beach

Thursday 6th of July

#CatchingWaves

After classes in AIP, we had our lunch and headed to the CSS Academy for our speaking classes with Marta, we all enjoyed the class and then went to the bus stop to go surfing. We got the metrobus out to a small town, called ‘Pobla de Farnals’ 15 minutes outside of Valencia. We met our surfing instructor Ruben (who also happens to be my Spanish ‘brother’) and we got changed into our surfing gear!

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Friday 7th July

#BioParc

In our classes in AIP, we split into two teams, one team watched the start of a short animated film called "La Bruxa", while the other watched the end of the film. Then both teams had to work together (speaking Spanish) to establish what happened throughout the video to fill in the missing pieces.

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At the bioparc

Saturday 8th July

#Splash

We met Alba at the meeting point in Benimaclet (near the AIP academy) at 10am and we made our way to the train station. From there, we hopped on a train to a place called ‘Cullera’, where we spent the day at a waterpark called "Aquapolis".

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Waterpark in Cullera

Sunday 9th July

#Peñíscola

We had a bit of a lie in this morning as we didn’t have to meet at AIP until almost 11am. We arrived a bit early so we had an orange juice at a nearby café. Conor decided not to go on the trip today because he wanted to go to the beach with some of his friends that he met here.

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Monday 10th July

#CiudadDeLosArtesYCiencias

After our AIP Lessons in the morning, we headed for the science museum in Valencia! The City of Arts and Science is a very modern area of Valencia located near the port at the end of the old riverbed park. I don’t know much about architecture but the buildings here are so futuristic!

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Tuesday 11th July

#LaLiga

In the AIP Academy, for our last class of the morning we usually have a change of teachers, and our second teacher is called Antonio. During the last 15 minutes of our lesson, we did a "Kahoot" quiz which is basically an interactive online competitive educational game for the classroom…or a quiz using our phones as answer pads.

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Wednesday 12th July

#Fallas

Después de las clases, fuimos al museo fallero (after classes we went to the Fallero museum), which is the museum of the Fallas. What are the Fallas you ask? Well, Valencia is famous for the yearly celebration of ‘Las Fallas’ which is a traditional celebration of St. Joseph when the city erupts in fireworks displays and good times.

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Thursday 13th July

#Paddle Surf

Unfortunately, Conor is leaving tomorrow so he got his certificate today. He was a bit camera shy so didn’t want a photo taken, but he was happy to get his certificate. In the afternoon, we had our oral class with Marta in CSS. Afterwards, we got a bus out to Poble Do Farnals where we did the surfing last week with the Aussie Surf Club.

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Friday 14th July

#TiempoLibre

We had the option of going to the ‘Mestalla’, which is the official football stadium of the Valencian Football Club. I had been there last year and although it was good, I decided that I didn’t need to see it again and instead, enjoyed some free time in the evening.

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Saturday 15th July

#Oceanográfico

My parents had been in another part of Spain on holiday while I was in Valencia and they had always wanted to pay Valencia a visit, so they popped up for the weekend. Gemma and I showed them the city centre, the Old River Bed Park, the City of Arts and Sciences, and some other historical parts of the city.

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Sunday 16th July

#Barancismo!

In my opinion, today was the best day by far on the entire course! Ione, Iseult, Leena, Gemma, and I met up with the rest of the AIP Students at the Academy at 11am. José took a roll call and we boarded a huge bus, bound for a place near "Cuenca". After two hours of craic on the bus, we arrive in a town hidden away in a canyon in the Spanish countryside.

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Monday 17th July

#CityTour

After our classes, we met up with José outside the academy in Benimaclet to go on an Architecture tour of the city to see the important historical buildings in Valencia. We went by Tranvia to the city centre where we were shown a set of towers which used to be part of a wall that surrounded the city, I think they were called the ‘Torres de Serrano’ and they were incredibly large and well maintained.

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Tuesday 18th July

#PuestaDelSol

In class, we played a memory game whereby we had to remember what was behind each card, and then match a noun and a verb together. Each team had a captain and the members of that team advised the captain on what two cards to turn over. My team got off to a good start but unfortunately, we were pipped at the post by our fellow classmates!

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Wednesday 19th July

#Bonaire

After our classes in AIP and a few rounds of Kahoot, we had the entire evening free. We all headed to 'The Good Burger' for our lunch and had a chat and a laugh, we all enjoyed a burger and a refreshing Ice-cream. After that, Leena decided to head into the city centre to do some shopping and get some food.

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Thursday 20th July

#TheFinalSurf

Después de las clases, we got the tranvía out to the University of Valencia where we ate our lunch outside on the grass in the sun. Marta decided that we would do a class outside beside a huge wooden statue of a bull at the University. Me and Ione got picked to practice our Spanish oral skills while Marta recorded it on camera.

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Paddle surfing

Friday 21st July

#LaClaseFinal

Today was our final day in the AIP Academy, we had a normal day in classes with a few rounds of Kahoot thrown in! Afterwards, we all got our certificates with our levels and names on them given to us. We got class photos with our certificates and said goodbye to the teachers and the school! It was quite emotional!

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Saturday 22nd July

#TourDeAlbufera

We hopped out of bed this morning and got ready to meet at the Benimaclet metro station for 11:10am for a trip out to El Saler and Albufera! We all met with Vero at Benimaclet and went to the bus stop where we caught the bus out to El Saler. We made sure to load up on sun cream so we wouldn’t burn to a crisp!

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Sunday 23rd July

#Hometime

We had breakfast with our host families and said our goodbyes. It was sad to leave them but we all hope to meet with our host families again in the future. We all met at the Benimaclet metro station where we stopped and Vero treated us to refreshments at a café before boarding a metro to the Airport.

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Alba interviews Mícheál and Ione

Ione interviews Mícheál about why he came back this year