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Students Return from Institute in Puigcerdá

Students Return from Institute in Puigcerdá
Meredith Berry-Toon

Five Canterbury students—Mimi Dattilo '19, Brendan Omaña '19, Gillian Marma '20, Abby Omaña '20, and Katherine Delamere '21—spent the first portion of their summer break on exchange in Puigercerdá, Spain with Director of International Travel Julio Omaña. The participants formed the inaugural group to attend Canterbury's Institute in Puigcerdá, a 16-day Spanish-language intensive program hosted in the northern region of Cataluña. Students skilled at any Spanish level were encouraged to attend the program.

The excursion included daily classes and language lessons at Escolar Vedruna, hiking and biking trips around the comarca of Cerdanya, and spending time with their respective host families by preparing dinner. While each student stayed with a host family throughout the duration of the two-and-a-half-week long trip, the group joined together each day for "school" and trips across the city. Many of their daily courses incorporated art and architecture popular to Cataluña which the students were then able to travel to see later the same day.

Julio remarked that a big success of the program was observing the improvements that the students made using their Spanish, even on an hour-to-hour basis. Often, he noted, students would learn concepts in the morning classes that he could then see them using in their conversations during the afternoon excursions.

Julio has directed and overseen Canterbury's summer exchange trip to the island of Mallorca, Spain since 2010. He began the Institute in Puigcerdá as an alternative trip for students, those who may not have the time to dedicate five-weeks to international travel as required for the trip but who still hoped to participate in a cultural and language exchange.

The students concluded their studies with a trip to Barcelona. There, the travelers experienced the architecture of the city through tours of La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and the modernist hospital complex of Sant Pau. They also explored the city's gothic architecture, walking through the city's narrow, labyrinthine streets and climbing to the top of La Catedral de Santa Maria Del Mar.

"We also threw in some shopping for good measure," laughed Julio. "We all miss Puigcerdà, the friends we made, our host families, too."

For more information on international travel and summer trips, please contact Julio Omaña directly at