A day in the life of a Montañita Spanish School student

Have you always been curious of how it would be to be a student at the Montañita Spanish School? Or you have been a student and want to re-live the experience, watch this video made by our lovely former student Marit.

The pictures of last week can be found here

Con mucho amor,

Stasja

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Benefits of Traveling

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Traveling positively influences your life. Doing something different than your daily routine at home gives you the opportunity to not worry about the “issues” back home and it can give you a better view of who you are and what you want in life. Some people make life changing decisions during or directly after they went traveling.

Of course, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people also widens your perspective about life. It makes you able to see your own life from a different perspective and it makes you more aware of your own culture. If you have seen or experienced low standards of living, it will make you appreciate what you have at home even more.

In general, people that travel can adapt more easily to changing situations and have a natural ability of overcoming problems.

Traveling gives you the opportunity to see the wonders of the world. Undoubtedly, you will see breathtaking views. If you travel with someone else the bond that develops from this travel experience will never break. You will make unforgettable memories by discovering what this wonderfull world has to offer.

We asked our students what they like the most about traveling. These were their answers:

Time off from work’ – Jeff and Dave

Meeting new people & sharing my travel experience with someone, those are the best things about traveling’ – Tara

‘It educates you’ – Jordan

‘Conocer a culturas nuevas’ – Milena

‘See incredible things you even couldn’t imagine’ – Anna

So my advice to you all is, keep on traveling!

The pictures of last week can be found here

Con mucho amor,

Stasja

Love for the Montanita community

Hola amigos,

When operating a business it is important to consider how your business can positively influence its environment. We find it important to be an ethical supporter of the community and in the last weeks our activities in this field outside of the regularly  ‘volunteering programs’  have been:

1. Raising awareness of the importance of sterilization of dogs and cats for a ‘sterilization tour’ and volunteering on the day of the sterilizations

2. Teaching Ecuadorian children English

Sterilization Tour for dogs and cats

Once a year there is a churgical van going to some villages close to Montañita to get as many dogs and cats spayed as possible in order to prevent dogs and cats ending up on the street with nobody taking care of them. We thought this was a very good cause and therefore we wanted to help this organisation. We helped raising awareness in Montañita and Olón, so people would know this churgical van was coming to their town. Many students from the MSS were willing to contribute to this good cause. We flyered throughout whole Montañita and put up flyers everywhere.

raising awareness team meeting

flyering

On the day of the surgeries, we saw the owners  taking care of their dog or cat after the surgery. They had so much love for their pets, it was beautiful to see.

just after the surgery caring family

caring owner boy  taking care of cat

Teaching Ecuadorian children English

Another great event we had was teaching Ecuadorian children English. While walking on the streets creating awareness for the sterilization tour for dogs and cats, we met a great family. One of the daughters of this family, asked us if we spoke English. As one of the students said yes, the young girl ran into her house and came back with an English book. She really wanted to study some English with us! However, our duty of saving the cats and dogs wasn’t over yet, so we met her within the next days.

The mother and the young girl were very happy to hear that we wanted to teach them some English. Joyfully the mother asked if we could also teach Spanish to the cousin of the young girl. And of course we could do that!

Teaching kids english Teaching kids english

Our night started off with singing the alfabet, counting and reading several stories to the kids. I’ve never seen kids so happy to learn, as they tried to learn as quickly as possible. Now if you walk around in the part of Montañita where the locals live, you will find some kids that are able to do the following

  • Count to 100
  • Sing the alfabet
  • Introduce themselves (my name is .. , I am .. years old, I live in …).

It was a great night, with a very warm welcome from the family. Thank you so much Abbie and Phoebe to make this night possible! I think we really discovered that Montañita is more than just a surfers-town!

Teaching kids english Teaching kids english

Saludos,

MSS

The pictures of last week can be found here

Vaca Loca in Montañita

Hola damas y caballeros,

Yesterday, 14/5/2015, Montañita celebrated both the founding of the town and one of its patron saints. This is celebrated over a four-day period and ends with the crazy celebration of La Vaca Loca (the crazy cow) and the putting on fire of a “castle”.

Things began on Saturday 9th of May when the town held a pageant contest to crown ‘The Queen of Montañita’. The party afterwards lasted all night right through until the early hours. The other days were full of partying and the Vaca Loca is the spectaculair ending of the festival. Check out our videos!

The pictures of the week starting on 4/5/2015 can be found here

Con mucho amor,

MSS

Cuenca weekend trip

Hola amigos,

Last Friday, the 1st of May, was a national holiday (día del trabajo) which meant the school was closed. Instead of having classes on Friday we packed our bags and took off with 15 people to the beautiful city of Cuenca. The journey by bus went well and at 3:15am we arrived safely at our destination. The Bauhouse hostel where we were staying was a very good hostel with spacious rooms and good breakfast.

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The first activity on our program was to visit the largest Inca ruins of Ecuador. They are about 2 hours by bus from Cuenca. Unfortunately, there are only 2 busses going there each day and if we would take the one in the afternoon, we would have only 1 hour at Inga Pirca and then we would have not enough time to see everything. Therefore, we took the bus in the morning at 9:00am. This meant that only few hours after we finally could sleep, we already had to get up for our first activity. Luckily, Inga Pirca was worth giving up some hours of sleep for. It was very interesting to see how people used to live such a long time ago.

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At night we had a nice dinner with the whole group at Cuchara. The menu offered all types of food, from traditional Ecuadorian food to pasta and a large steak with fries.

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Saturday everyone could choose whether they wanted to stay in Cuenca or go to the Cajas National Park. The park has over 200 lakes and beautiful scenery. It’s a perfect place to go hiking. It was not possible to buy the bus tickets a day in advance as there were no busses going directly to the National park (well, there was 1 but it leaves everyday at 8:30am and we thought that was too early). So we went to the bus station with the expectation that we would be able to find a bus that still had some seats left, because in that case the bus companies allow you to travel shorter distances with them. Unfortunately, when we arrived we just missed a bus that left to Cajas that we could have taken. Then we tried to get some seats in other busses but without any success because they were all full. There was a man who was working at the bus station and he had all the information about when the busses were leaving and to where. He told us that in an hour, at 11:00am, another bus would leave which we could take. Of course, we thought that a guy getting paid for helping out travellers by giving them information about busses could be trusted. Just for some while, we trusted that the guy was right. Of course, in Ecuador things never really happen as you expect them to happen. So we waited for an hour and no bus arrived. After another 15 minutes the bus was still not there. At half past 11 the guy was still telling us that the bus could be there any moment. We started to doubt that because other people that did not work there told us the next bus to Las Cajas would be at 2:00pm. After waiting for two hours it was time to stop hoping a bus would still arrive. It would have been a waste of time if we would have waited there any longer, so we decided to do some sightseeing in Cuenca.

Feeling like über-tourists we took the sightseeing bus to see as much of Cuenca as possible. The bus took us among others to the ‘mirador Turi’ (viewpoint Turi). Cuenca is a city with many churches, museums, squares, colonial buildings and colourful markets. It is just great to just walk around the city and experience its vibe. We had a great time in Cuenca!

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Some people of the group travelled back to Montañita on Sunday during the daytime. They arrived safely in Montañita at about 9:00 PM. The others wanted to take a night bus back, so that meant that we still had a whole day to enjoy. Gualaceo and Chordaleg are some villages close to Cuenca and are famous for their artisan markets. As you can never have too many souvenirs, we decided to visit these towns and to see what they had to offer. In Gualaceo we asked around for the markets but the locals could only send us to a food market, and in Chordaleg we found eventually an artisan market but it was a very small one. Despite the fact that we couldn’t find the artisan markets (or maybe they just don’t exist), we still had a very nice day.

All in all, we had an awesome weekend trip with lovely people! For the pictures of the Cuenca trip, click here. If you want to see the pictures of the rest of the week 27-5-2015, click here.

Hugs and kisses,

MSS

Consejos para aprender el Spanol

Hola Chicos,

This week we provide you with the best Spanish tips from our own Students. Learning a new language is part of an amazing cultural experience which offers you the chance to discover a new country (or even continent!), new people, new life lessons and especially a new view on your own language.

For example, some language have words that don’t exist in other languages, words that are part of a special culture and generate a feeling. In Spanish for example there is world called ‘friolero’.

Spanish word

Excited to learn more Spanish? Our Spanish students gave some great tips for everyone to learn more!

Speak to Children! Usually, in the beginning your Spanish level is similar to that of a child, making it easy to have a conversation!

Georgina from the UK 

When Georgina practiced her Spanish, she used to speak Spanish with children. One time though she discovered the honest character of children. “Watch out with the honesty of children, being an au-pair in a Spanish family, I learned how to understand the kids the best. Even when one of them whispered as I left I could understand her!”

Busca a un(a) chico/Chica latino/a     [ Search for a Spanish boy/girl friend!]

Liliana 

Our students take in general 4 hours of Spanish per day. What do you think of learning Spanish 27/4 with a new Ecuadorian love?

Estudiar Espanol en Montanita Spanish School

Abbie from the UK 

Great tip Abbie!

Talk all the time Spanish, talk with locals, listen to Ecuadorian Music and never speak English!

Julie , Mara, Verenicce and Kathrin!

Thank you guys for all your advice. Do you have better advice to learn Spanish? Share your idea and help everyone discover the world by learning a new language!

The pictures of last week can be found here

Saludos,

Sammy Beau.

First weeks in Montañita

Hello you,

It is Tuesday again and that means Tuesday-Blog-Day!! This time written by an adventurous Dutchie who is doing her internship at the Montañita Spanish School. Oh.. wait?! Are we talking about me? Let me first introduce myself for those who do not know me yet. My name is Stasja and I arrived in Montañita about 3,5 weeks ago. My experiences so far have been amazing. It is very difficult to get bored in Montañita, there are just too many fun things to do. To give you an impression of my life here, I made a list of my activities so far.

  • I met many great, fun and inspiring people. Those people are the keystone to my positive experience here, a great ‘thank you’ to you all !
  • A spectacular trip to Baños (There is a blog written before by Sammy about the Baños trip)
  • Eating at many good restaurants. The quality of the food here is very good, not only the Ecuadorian dishes but also the foreign dishes exceeded my expectations.
  • Bought already waaaay too many souvenirs.. Now I have to book (and buy) an extra suitcase when I fly home. But hey, who doesn’t need 2 leather bags and a hammock chair?
  • I had one week of surfing classes which were so much fun. Even thought I fell a lot, and sometimes didn’t even try to do the pop-up because I didn’t want to risk to fall again, I think I got a feeling for how to surf. The surf intern Alec helped me a lot and made it a very pleasurable experience.
  • We had a cocktail evening with delicious cocktails made by Laura, one of the students.
  • A fun BBQ with a fire show, good food and games, followed by a terrific night.
  • I have been on 2 surf trips, on which we went to Las Tunas. The beach there is very peaceful. It was so good to just relax at the beach and try to do some surfing.
  • Visit to Puerto Lopez and Isla Salango, an island good for snorkelling. Unfortunately, we did not see any sea turtles but we did see some beautiful tropical fishes. There was also some kayaking and bird watching involved. Tip: For about $25 you can do this trip with an organised tour from Montañita. We thought we could do it cheaper if we would do it on our own but in the end we paid about the same and we had to wait for a few hours until there was a boat available from Puerto Lopez.
  • Día de la familia. This was a great activity to get to know the host-families better. The families (especially their kids) and the students swam a day together in the pool. The kids they just love it! It was lovely to see their happy faces.
  • Bonfire =D It was so nice to just sit at the beach with so many fun people around a fire, watching the clear stars.
  • Intern cooking night. The interns made a delicious Seco de pollo for the students.
  • Picture night. In a bar we watched all the pictures of Baños.
  • Delfin tour. This was for me the best daytrip I have done so far. Almorro is the town where our Delfin tour started. We had to take 4 busses (about 3 hours of travelling) to get there but it was so much worth it! We were with 3 people and we had a boat to ourselves (and our 2 guides). The 3 hour tour (which cost us $17 pp) brought us to a place where fresh and salt water meet, that’s the place where dolphins can be found. We spotted about 15 dolphins. After seeing the dolphins, our tour continued to an island where the biggest bird population of Ecuador was located. There were thousands of birds on that island and the sky was full of them. It was a really great trip, I recommend it to everyone.
  • Sushi night.
  • Cocktails from Eugenio!! In the cocktail alley you can find the best cocktails of Montañita.
  • Fruit salads, tostadas and banana pancakes from fruit street

The list is seriously endless.. I don’t want to bore you guys with all the small things I did here, like eating empanadas, getting really good 0,50$ fruit ice creams or just enjoying the beach, but those small things altogether have made my time so far in Montañita already an unforgettable experience.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this blog. Maybe you even got some nice ideas about what to do in Montañita. Thanks for reading! The pictures of last week can be found here.

Saludos,

Stasja