by Claire D. Hola! This weekend was an exciting intro for what we are about to experience here in Cadiz. After many travel difficulties because of a Hurricane in New York, we finally arrived in Cadiz on Thursday night.Safe to say we all slept very soundly that first night. On Friday we learned a lot about the program in the morning and later in the afternoon we all headed out to the beach. The beach, called La Caleta, is simply beautiful. The sand is smooth and white and the water is extremely warm. We all layed out in the hot sun for a while before getting in the ocean. We were told that many Spanish women liked to tan topless and this proved true. The majority of us were pretty uncomfortable with this at first, but soon recognized that it’s just one of the many cultural differences between the US and Spain. Friday night we had a group dinner and continued bonding during free time. I think that it is really amazing just how quickly you can become so close with someone you’ve never met before. Even after just six days we all are so close and talk to each other constantly. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a bond this close with some of the people in the group. Saturday we had a more in depth tour of Cadiz, learning about many historical aspects of the city. It was very interesting to learn that Cadiz was the very first city in Europe! On Sunday we all took a fairly long trip to the town of Tarifa which is on the Straight of Gibraltar. We went on a boat to watch whales and dolphins swim by. Although I didn’t feel too well during the trip and fell down in the boat, it was still a really cool experience to see the coast of Africa. I never thought that that would be something I could see. After seeing the dolphins we went to Bolonia to look at some ancient Roman ruins and go to the beach. In Bolonia, there was a huge hill made out of sand and some of us kids decided to walk up the entire thing. Although it was a long walk, the view was worth it. That night, we went to a Moroccan Tea House. We all ordered tea and sipped in a room clothed in Moroccan tapestries. The tea was very delicious and once again this was a great bonding experience. Monday, we began classes, learning some basic vocabulary that would help us to get around Cadiz better. We also took a trip to the market to practice our new vocabulary. The fruit was only around 1 euro/kilo, so we all took full advantage of that. In my elective class, we walked around taking photos of the city and of each other. It was a fun, relaxing experience that resulted in tons of great pictures. Overall, this past weekend has really shown that this trip is going to be so much fun and we are all going to leave as not only classmates, but as family.