lunes, 26 de octubre de 2015

Testimonials: María



María vive en Barcelona. El pasado año cursó un Master en Globalización, Desarrollo y Cooperación en la UB. Al terminar los estudias, María quería irse al extranjero a realizar un voluntariado para ganar más experiencia en el terreno, poner en práctica sus conocimientos teóricos y aprender más sobre la realidad a la que se enfrentan día a día las asociaciones en un país emergente. Una compañera del máster le habló de SENAI y decidió contactarnos. María tenía experiencia como profesora de inglés y nuestro equipo le buscó la ONG que mejor encajaba con ella, la ayudó con todos los preparativos y estuvo pendiente en todo momento. Pero mejor que os cuente ella misma cómo vivió su mes en Indonesia
El 31 de julio del 2015 llegué a Indonesia para participar en un programa de voluntariado con una organización local que trabaja con niños de la calle. Llegué a Yogyakarta, concretamente a una zona rural a 30 minutos del centro llamada Kalasan llena de arrozales y árboles frutales donde se encuentra la ONG con la que colaboré. Estuve solo un mes con ellos pero el tiempo pasó volando. La ONG en la que estuve cooperando es una asociación sin ánimo de lucro que brinda atención integral a niños y adolescentes que viven en la calle en condiciones indignas. Mi tarea consistió en dar clases de castellano a los empleados de la oficina por las mañanas y clases de inglés a los niños por las tardes. 



La organización tenía acogidos a 17 niños de entre 7 y 18 años. Estos niños y adolescentes habían estado mendigando en las calles, mandados por sus padres. La situación de sus familias es tan precaria que los padres muchas veces mandan a sus hijos a pedir dinero en la calle en vez de al colegio. La organización con la que colaboré acoge a estos niños en su centro educativo y les cubre su manutención y sus estudios hasta secundaria, facilitándoles el acceso a la universidad a través de programas de becas. Pero la labor de acogida de niños no es fácil ya que los educadores sociales tienen que explicar a los padres los riesgos que corren sus hijos estando en la calle y lo perjudicial de la abstención escolar. Por eso muchas veces este proceso suele ser largo y puede tardar entre uno y dos años. Durante la semana, los niños comen y duermen en el centro y el fin de semana se van a casa de sus padres. De esta manera al ir al centro después del colegio los niños pueden hacer los deberes, estudiar y jugar con otros niños en lugar de mendigar por las calles.

Al principio fue un poco raro para mí ya que era la única extranjera de Kalasan pero en seguida me habitué y la gente de la ONG me  acogió con mucha calidez y cercanía y pude entablar una amistad con ellos. Con los niños también resultó muy fácil colaborar. En seguida se mostraron entusiastas y alegres y participaron en todas las actividades. Lo pasamos genial juntos y poco a poco los niños fueron cogiendo cada vez más confianza y hablaban mas inglés conmigo. Lo más gratificante fue ver cómo a pesar de que ellos tenían un nivel básico de inglés pudimos comunicarnos y pasarlo bien. Algunos mejoraron mucho su nivel de inglés en poco tiempo. Yo aprendí mucho de su cultura y sus costumbres. Mis últimos días allí los recuerdo con mucha nostalgia y me hubiese gustado quedarme más tiempo, pero tuve que volver a Barcelona por motivos laborales. 

Esta experiencia ha sido una de las más importantes de mi vida y una de las más maravillosas. Fue gracias al equipo de SENAI que pude ponerme en contacto con esta ONG y vivir esta experiencia. SENAI me puso en contacto con esta asociación que no solo trabaja de manera efectiva sino que se involucra con los niños de manera admirable. Su labor educativa y humanitaria me ha permitido creer en la importancia y eficacia de las ONGs. El equipo de SENAI también me buscó alojamiento a cinco minutos de la organización y en condiciones óptimas. Tengo que dar mis agradecimientos no solo a la organización con la que colaboré por su acogida y su cariño sino también al equipo de SENAI por haberme preparado y guiado en esta experiencia. Espero volver pronto a Indonesia y volver a contactar con SENAI y la asociación de Kalasan que ha depositado en mí la ilusión de seguir trabajando en la cooperación y en el mundo de las ONGs.

miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2015

Testimonial: Karla Co


Last June, a small groups of Southeast Asian students traveled to Barcelona to join the ESADE Summer School. For most of them it was their first time travelling such a long distance on their own. A new challenge in a different country far away from home. They all had an amazing experience and many lifechanging stories to tell. Here we bring back one of those stories.
We are please to introduce you to Karla Jeanne Co, a brilliant young professinal from the Philippines who did not hesitate to take this chance even tho the preparation time was short and she had to face some obstacles on the way.




Having been to Spain is the most unexpected thing that happened in my year! I’m planning to go to Europe by 2017, that’s in my bucket list! But never did I think of going there this soon by myself.

SENAI made it all happen. A mentor informed us about SENAI’s offer to Filipino students who may be interested in attending ESADE’s Summer school. And that’s it, everything happened so fast. Though with hesitation due to some responsibilities that I would leave, I pushed going there and decided to experience Europe’s people and culture.

You might be wondering how did I choose to come to Spain? Spain is a significant country for us Filipinos. Influencia hispanica en la cultura Filipina!! Philippines has so many traditions being adapted from the Spanish era. I definitely wanted to experience on a first hand basis where our culture rooted from.



This one month experience in BCN (Barcelona) is the best so far! I’ve been to different countries but my Summer School experience is the best one. Imagine being with different nationalities of your age with different perspectives-Asians, European, Americans! What a diverse group! For a month, I was able to experience the world through my classmates and friends. I knew and understand each other’s culture and respect each other’s point-of-views and differences.
Having this opportunity, amid all else, made me knew my real self better. I’ve learned many matters I didn’t know about myself before. It made me more self-dependent, more sociable, it also increased my self-esteem. These are all additional learning not only from the classroom but in life.

Besides, ESADE Business School with their International Business program has a line- of-sight type of curriculum. The lessons on every course were very well planned. The activities and exposures were also helpful to the development of understanding. I like how the cases let me know about the real situation behind every famous international brands from Spain like FC Barcelona, Freinexet, Mango and Zara. It’s amazing how ESADE planned this Summer program! It’s nice that they thought of organizing a program that could bring in people around the globe! This is the best Summer in July of my life! (Which is unusual for me because July is a rainy season in the Philippines.)

SENAI on the other hand is a very reliable consultancy. SENAI has a very efficient team and I must say I couldn’t go to Spain without them. They assisted me from the very basic requirements up to the preparation going to ESADE. They made sure that I didn’t miss anything. Everything is well planned from here in the Philippines up to me being there in Spain. They accommodated me on what I need, my plane ticket, visa, place to stay-in, class schedule, and even tips on where to go and what to try. SENAI also made sure that everyone of us from Southeast Asia are comfortable and enjoy our stay in Spain so much!

Over-all I like the people in Spain, Paella, Sangria and Gaudi!! I also love how they apply the “Live and let live!” kind of living. If you’re planning to visit Spain soon, I recommend you to be yourself. It’s better to enjoy every single moment in Spain. Learn as much as you could more than the lessons in classroom. Grab every opportunity you’ll have there. Try everything but be careful. Enjoy Spain!

After that great month in Spain, Karla is back in Manila and back to her job but with a new prespective and wider horizons. She still plans that trip to Europe in 2017, but if another chance like this Summer School show up she will take it, after all, this was her best summer so far.

Would you like to know where and how can you experience your next summer? do not hesitate to contact us! info@senaistudyabroad.com

The best summer of your life is waiting for you!

domingo, 30 de agosto de 2015

Testimonial: Yeong Num Yam about Spain: "Best summer in my life"

Last June, a small groups of Southeast Asian students traveled to Barcelona to join the ESADE Summer School. For most of them it was their first time travelling such a long distance on their own. A new challenge in a different country far away from home. They all had an amazing experience and many lifechanging stories to tell. Here we bring back one of those stories.
We are please to introduce you to Yeong Yun Nam, who dropped her plans to climb Mount Kinabalu in her home country, Malaysia, to see fulfilled her dream to travel to Spain and learn first hand about a country she is passionate about. 


Summer Program Experience in Barcelona, Spain (July 2015)

First of all, I never planned a visit to Spain this summer. Actually, I had another plan: to climb the highest mountain of Southeast Asia - Mount Kota Kinabalu this July with my best friends. That activity plan was made since one year ago, however things always happen out of the plan!
At the end of May, I received an email from my Spanish lecturer about the scholarship from SENAI to study abroad at Barcelona, Spain, for one month in the summer this year. I had some hard times to struggle and decide to abandon my original trip.

In Malaysia, Spain is not as popular as countries like UK, US or Australia when coming to the choice of tourism or study abroad. However, I have been influenced by Spain since young, from architectural, cultural to sport activities (specially football) and these are the reasons I chose to learn Spanish as my foreign language option during my university. After taking the Spanish language course (basic level), my understanding of Spain and Spanish culture became deeper and hence going to Spain became an important thing to do in my dream-list. However, going to study at Spain will definitely increase my financial burden. When I received the news of having the chance to go to join a summer program in Barcelona, I definitely did not hesitate to let go of the chance to fulfill my dream. No doubt, I would say that this July is the best summer in my life so far with the incredible international experience.

If you ask me how to define my international experience, I would say that is a bit difficult to explain in only one or two words. My international experience is more like a process or journey of learning and self-development from domestic to global eyesight. The international experience I have gained started once I departed from the airport. I learned to be independent, because this was the first time I traveled alone to such a long journey (approximately 20 hours) and definitely I success to reach the destination safe and sound!
Besides, my international experience is also about to meet people from all over the world and make friends! I have met many people from different places whose have shared their stories of their countries to me and in exchange I have shared the stories of mine too! Nevertheless, I have experience the difference of education system and teaching style in international level. Therefore, with this opportunity, I think that I have gained a better me with wider eyesight and brighter mind! I believe that I have gained the confidence in myself that my future should not only limit in our home country.
The biggest joy for me in this summer program is to experience the differences between Spain and Malaysia. Cultural difference for example the Spanish style of greetings, the cuisine and eating habits, the chillax lifestyle (siesta and fiesta) have impressed me a lots! Nevertheless, the university experience in Spain is totally difference from my university in Malaysia too! The size of campus which I entered is not that huge if compared with my campus in Malaysia but the design of buildings and facilities is new, modern and more up-to-date than my own university. The teaching style of professors in ESADE, Spain, is different from my previous professors in Malaysia. For instance, the professor of one of my courses -intercultural communication- knew the names of all students in the first lesson and he knew our strengths and weaknesses very well which he managed to pinpoint our flaws, keep encouraged and improved us and made us be more confident after the end of lessons. We even have our own video which recorded our performance in presentations from the first lesson to the final lesson. I can feel like having a personal coach which I've never experienced in my own university. In the university in Spain, I experienced the difference of learning style between the students of western countries and eastern countries (Asia). Western students are more active in class whereas the Asian students are more passive. This is well presented during the lessons as western students are more energetic in participating in class by asking and answering the questions from professors whereas the eastern students usually like to be listeners and seldom willing to give opinions. Their way of learning and passion in study have impressed me and made me learn from them.

After staying one month in Spain, I have truly lived the local life there, and there are things I love the most and the least about Spain. I am thankful that I was staying in Sant Cugat, a small town, instead of the city center of Barcelona because the small town is more peaceful, comfortable and suitable for studying and living than the overwhelming tourist hotspot in Barcelona. Talking about my favorites of Spain, first of all, I love their spirit of work hard, play hard, which make them being serious during work times but not forget to relax during weekend or off working times.
This is much different from the working culture in Malaysia or Singapore that is always hectic until work life imbalance. Nonetheless, the circumstances of Barcelona which surrounded by the richness of arts and histories of Catalonia or Spain are always amazing and my favorite of all times. The friendliness of local people there will make you feel so warm and always welcome. Many people have warned me about the ‘professionalism’ of pickpockets but if you are alert enough then you need not to worry much.

This experience is somehow challenging me and it has taught me how to face those challenges. First of all, to accept the offer of scholarship to join the summer program has taught me how to face time constraint. During the period of scholarship announcement, it was my final exam period in my university. I have to be multitasking, studied for exam and prepared for Barcelona in only 2 weeks.  I am very lucky to have the assistances from SENAI team during that time which guided me all the times, help me in transportations, accommodations and many things else in the limited times. Not forget to thank to the diplomacy of Malaysia government with European Union which allow Malaysian citizen travel to EU without visa for 90 days. This had saved my time on the procedure of application of visa.
Besides, I have faced my mental preparation problems. As I mentioned above, this is my first overseas long haul journey. I felt very excited and adventurous at first but also felt worried after that because I was the only one travel all along from Malaysia to the other side of the globe. Again, the professionalism of SENAI team has soothed and calmed me a lots by their prompt response all the times. Their efficiency and effectiveness in answering all my questions on email and through Skype have made me felt confidence and reliable on them. Without their helps I would not have such pleasure experience study abroad in Spain! After I’m back in my country, many peoples are curious and have asked me about my study experience in Spain and I would definitely recommend SENAI to them!

When I had to leave, I was so happy to return home but so depressed to be leaving such an amazing and incredible city. Barcelona, will always have a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to return! I am so thankful for the supports from my family, my teachers, my friends and my beloved SENAI team members. After all, I would like to give some words to any students who wish to study in Spain but still struggling, do not hesitate to give yourself a chance to gain a wonderful lifetime experience and with the help of SENAI team of course. Need not to worry about pickpocket, Barcelona is a safe and beautiful city!

After her summer in Barcelona, Eunice has found a new prespective. She would like to finish her studies and apply for a master degree in the EU, maybe Spain is the country of her choice, and then SENAI team will be there to support her at any time. Good luck dear!

And you? what are you waiting for? Spain awaits you!

As usual, feel free to comment, share and like

jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015

Testimonial - Adhgha Nizar about his summer in Spain: "Immersive, vastly enriching, and unforgettable..."




 As you all know, last June some South East Asian students had the chance to join the ESADE International Summer School in Barcelona thanks to the partnership between SENAI and this prestigious business school. 
It was a great experience for all of them. Now they are back in their home countries and more than willing to share their experiences and stories with you. 
Please let us introduce you to Adhgha, a young student from Surabaya (Indonesia) who spent 4 weeks in Barcelona learning about International Business and Global Governance and Geopolitics

Q.: Adhgha, could you please tell me one sentence that resumed your summer experience? A.: Immersive, vastly enriching and unforgettable


Q.: Question from SENAI's team
A.: Answer by Adhgha

Q.: How did you choose to come to Spain?

A.: It was a very easy decision. First of all, because the trip was (mostly) academic, the academic quality matters. And Spain has a lot of very reputable education institution. In my own case, I was blessed with having the opportunity to experience the academic atmosphere of ESADE Business School, which, despite its very young age, is amongst one of the most reputable business school worldwide, partially courtesy of its constant high position in various business school ranking as is being published by institutions such as Financial Times.
Secondly, summer school is as much about summer as it is about school! And being the Western Mediterranean country that it is, I always have this impression that Spain offers the best of both of the world for students coming from tropical country like myself. First, it is Western. So that you’ll be able to immerse yourself into the Western culture while admiring the grandeur of Western architecture (and really, Barcelona was so beautiful) , the like of which you most likely won’t be able to experience in your country.
On top of all of this, its public transportation and tourism sector is highly developed (at the very least in the Barcelona region), so you tourist would have a lot of fun and easy options to enjoy there. However,
by the virtue of being a Mediterranean country, it is not as cold as the other Western country, moreover in the summer. So it’s a win – win, you get to enjoy the Western without having to adapt a lot to its climate!

Q.: How would you define your international experience? 

A.: It really enrich my perspective. When you’re living your life mostly in just one culture (like I do), you might get this impression that your way of doing things is the way to do things. What I learn from my excursion, however, is that people in other culture might also have that same impression, that their way to do things is the way to do things. When people from different cultures meet therefore, an open mind and a humble heart are needed, for both parties to be able to really decide on how they should do things without insulting the other. This realization compelled me to be less self-centered and more considerate, things whose impacts would really go beyond the duration of the short excursion.

Q.: What do you think did you gain with this opportunity? 

A.: Of course the certificate, hehehe.
But it is really beyond that piece of paper, to be honest. The knowledge that I gained in the class, the non-academic experience (I went to my first ever music festival J J J ), and of course the pride of having the privilege to attend the program and taste a little bit of Barcelona.

Q.: What other facets of this experience have been challenging? 

A.: The trip between the accommodation and the university could be a little bit challenging sometime (with “sometime” mostly means that time when you’re late or that time when the sun is really unforgiving). To be fair, it was not due the place in itself. I know colleagues which had to took a longer trip than myself to go the campus. It was more because of how I did things in Indonesia. In case you don’t know already, we Indonesian do not walk that much. We let the motorized vehicles to do our dirty job of walking. In my time in Spain, of course I couldn’t do that. Due to various reasons, I had to either walk or take the public transportation. To be fair of, I could just took the public transportation. I didn’t, however, because, well, I didn’t think that the trip (which is “only” around 2.5 km) really worth the price (which was like 2 EUR/trip). So I chose to walk the full distance everyday. Thankfully, it was a beautiful neighborhood to walk through, with a lot of new things to experience while passing by.
I was once coming home from class when I passed a plaza with a band playing Spanish music when suddenly tens of locals put their bags in place and made circle around it. Holding hands and dancing to the music, with more and more people joining the circle. It felt so warm to be there, with people having fun together though I was that most of them were complete strangers to each other! I end up spending my whole evening there.

"I was once coming home from class when I passed a plaza with a band playing Spanish music when suddenly tens of locals put their bags in place and made circle around it. Holding hands and dancing to the music,(....) It felt so warm to be there (...) I end up spending my whole evening there.". Photo credit: Adhgha Nizar


Q.: What are the biggest differences you have seen between the university experience in Spain and in your home country? 

A.: The lectures are way way more inclusive. The professors wanted to make us (well at least those that are actively engaged in the class) to genuinely feel that our opinion matters in the class. I have one experience when the professor asked a question and there was one student that answered with an answer that was, in my opinion, really off. The professor however, went into a great length of effort to somehow incorporate the answer, “corrected” the answer without insulting the student. These kinds of behavior really encourage us to engage more actively in the class.

Q.: What do you like the most/the least about Spain?

A.: There are so many good impressions that Spain left on me, many that might always stay there. To sum it all up, Spain really fulfill my expectations. It is a very developed, cultural, and beautiful country.
What I like the least? The working hours here! hahaha.
A professor once asked my class what words came up to mind when he said “USA”. And one of my friend answered, “convenience”. He explained further that in USA it is more convenient to do things (though by things he basically meant shopping). You have chains of supermarkets that are opening way until late so it is convenient to do your things. I believe that is also true with Indonesia, where, mostly due to the rivalry we’re having here between chains of supermarket, it will be harder to walk a kilometer without finding one than the otherwise. In Spain, I found that shops are closing a little bit earlier. And remember, many of them take like a 2-hour break for lunch.
My most shocking experience, however, came when I went to a local supermarket to do my grocery on Sunday. It was closed.

Being Indonesian, that was so weird for me. I mean, it was Sunday! People do grocery in Sunday! At least that’s how it is in Indonesia, and Malaysia and the Philippines as fellow summer school students from those countries told me. To be fair of, however, turned out that it wasn’t “Spain things”. My colleagues from France and Italy were as shocked as I was on that Sunday when they knew that we did our grocery on Sunday back home. Most supermarkets also closed on Sunday in France and Italy. One more thing about inconvenience. There was one midnight when I was wandering in the downtown of Barcelona. Feeling hungry, I rushed myself when I recognized an outlet of my favorite fast food chain. I was shocked, however, to find that it was already closed. I just find it hard to discern. I mean it was only like 00.10 AM, it was in the downtown, it was in a tourism hotspot, and it was a high season for tourism. Why do you close that early, why, why... Back in my hometown Surabaya, this kind of outlet would open for 24 hours.

Q.: How SENAI helped you during this time?

A.: Pretty much by leaving me with so little things to do by myself. Of course I’ll still have to prepare for both the visa application and the trip, and showed up in person anytime the visa process required me to do so. But aside of that? SENAI took care of my application (and even offered to correct some mistakes that I made in my cover letter), addressed every concern that I have to ESADE, arranged the meeting for the visa application, searched and arranged the accommodation for me in Spain, offered the flight plan for the trip, arranged a pick up service for me in the Barcelona’s airport. Pretty much everything. When you’re going somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, or doing something you never done before (it was both my first time to apply for visa and to go abroad alone), these kinds of help are really invaluable.

Q.: Would you recommend SENAI and study in Spain to other students?

Q.: Absolutely. Studying in Spain is a very enriching experience, an experience that is so immersive and beyond the academic. Due to the unfamiliarity, however, it could also be discouraging. This is exactly where SENAI fits in. They can help you with pretty much every concern you might have about going to Spain, without which, I honestly believe that my preparation to Spain would be way more difficult.

Q.: Is there any other comment, suggestion or advice that you would like to give to students going to Spain in the future?

A.: Compared with where do you come from, Spain could be very different. The culture, the food, the way things are done. At times, these differences could be discouraging. When that times do occur however, I suggest that it would be beneficial for you to keep your mind open and focus on the goal that you’re trying to achieve when you’re there.



Adhgha is now finishing his studies in the the Airlangga University, Department of International Relations, Surabaya, Indonesia. He is also a proud member of Post Keynesian Study Group. You can check out his own blog here.

We will keep you posted with more experiences, more stories and more satisfyed students who have enjoyed and tasted what study in Spain is like.
As usual, do not hesitate to comment, share and like :)
Have a beautiful day!
 

miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Those oddities you didn't know about Spain...

Salvador Dali, Spanish Artist and an oddity himself

So you have finally decided to fulfill that dream of study abroad. And you have chosen Spain as your destination. Well, congratulations! you are about to experience one of the most joyful and nice countries in Europe. Nevertheless, Spaniards have ways and customs that might surprise you (and maybe bother you) somehow...so better get ready for some of this:

- Not everybody speaks English: Sure English is pretty common nowadays, specially among the younger generations but...don't expect the taxi driver or the boy who works in that little store around the corner, yes, the one selling almost everything, to be fluent in other language rather than their own. To compensate that, there's this second fact
Probably the first reaction would be something like this, a big "What?" while staring at you like if you were from other planet (you actually kind of are...)

- Spanish people are very expressive. They might not fully understand you but you will realize they will do everything they can to communicate with you, hands moving, mimic, speak perfect Spanish very loud and slow....(even tho this won't help). If you put some effort you'll see communication is possible, and fun.
Yeap, the whole facial range, or even more

- And linked to that expressivity, Spanish people are veeeery talkative. Spaniards talk. Either sitting on a bench in the park, over a coffee or beer in a terrace, or after lunch or dinner, we like to talk and enjoy our close ones company. That talking after lunch or dinner is called "sobremesa" and can take hours...so you meet friends for lunch and then you realize that is already dinner time, so you stay with them for dinner...and then it's 2 in the morning and you get back home after the longest lunch ever. Yeah, we love those things.
Bars and restaurants are commonly crowded

- Of course, something that most foreigners don't realize, don't understand and can be a big issue at the beginning of your stay: Spanish people eat very late. When I say late means lunch is served after 1 p.m., being 2 p.m. the real lunch time, but this can be delayed till 3, or even 4 in the summer time. And you will never have dinner before 9 p.m. Forget about it, it just won't happen. Good thing is that most of the places have "pinchos" (little, and sometimes not that little, sandwiches of many different kinds) all day long. So don't worry, you won't starve.

This could perfectly be an after lunch meeting with friends, yeap, sunset time

- Tapas are for sharing. You can not order "croquetas" or "tortilla" or "jamón" and expect the whole thing is for you. No my friend, tapas are for sharing, food is for sharing and enjoying with family, friends and loved ones. Don't be surprised if somebody takes the last bite out of your plate. The good thing is that you can take food from other plates too.
Patatas bravas, calamares fritos y chorizo...you could try all of them! Remember: sharing is caring

-"Siesta" is a myth. Don't get me wrong, it does exist but, against what most of people think, it's not a daily life habit. "Siesta" as it is conceived in Spain, is reduced to weekends and holiday time, is the time to rest after lunch and, including the eating time, can take 3 hours. Now, it is true that some shops closed during this period, but mostly not to take a nap....I already mentioned the "sobremesa" and how talkative Spanish are, right?.
ok, maybe sometimes we take a nap....sometimes...
- Punctuality is not among Spanish virtues...I can see some of my friends' eyes poping out of their sockets while they are reading this...Let's face it guys....Spaniards are not really the first ones to get to the meeting point. Of course it's not like when you get stuck in a traffic jam in Jakarta and you realize that you will be, at least, one hour late, nothing can be compared to that, but we make good use of those "cinco minutos de cortesía" (grace period) every time we can. If you are meeting a group of Spanish and they are late, don't take it personal, they need five minutes more, that's all.
Just 5 minutes, I'm almost there
- When meeting someone, it is customary to give one kiss on each cheek. Honestly I don´t know where this custom comes from, but it's the way it is. Don't be scared if a beautiful girl/boy is been introduced to you and she/he throught her/him self into your arms and kiss you. It's not love, it's a common greeting, sorry.
kisses, kisses, kisses...

- Spanish food is not spicy and very seldom hot. Spaniards are very proud of the Mediterranean diet, even in those regions that are not in Mediterranean waters. Further more, Spain is the number one producer of olive oil in the world with 44% of the world's olive oil production. That is more than twice that of Italy and four times that of Greece, and we use it to cook every meal. Don't ask for "jalapeños" you are in the wrong country.
Some says this is Spanish gold

- Not all Spanish are flamenco dancers or bullfighters... It might sound strange or maybe disappointing to you, but it's true...As a matter of fact, flamenco is popular mostly in the South of Spain, while in the North it's not common at all. And reciently some of the regions banned (or are in process to) bullfighting. So, yes, even tho Spain is not a very big country traditions and customs vary from North to South, East to West, giving each part and region a very specific and unique taste. More to explore and discover!

These are some but I bet that not all....and of course, all said is not 100% true....I know very punctual people for instance.

What do you think?. Were you already aware of any of these things?
Spaniards, did we miss something?.

Give us your comment and opinion guys!, and remember, sharing is caring.

Enjoy your time in beautiful Spain!
 

lunes, 18 de mayo de 2015

9 questions you probably have about study in Spain



Going abroad for your studies is always a big deal. It doesn't matter if you are looking for a bachelor or a post-graduate program, there always are several considerations you need to take care off before taking any decision. Of course you should reply yourself to the big things, such as which major, and where, but once you have decided that, and if you destination is Spain this post might help you with the preparations.

  • Which is the best university for....?
This is a question we get a lot..."I want to study a master degree on Accounting (i.e.), which is the best Spanish University in that field....?"
It's not that we want to show off, but Spain has a long tradition on Education and some of its Universities are among the oldest in Europe (click here or here to learn more), meaning that we have tough times choosing only one. You can check this website, which has the complete list of Spanish Universities and where you can filter your search based on location and field of studies. From there you can see which your options are and which one is more appealing for you. 
  • Can I get a scholarships?
Many people come to ask willing to study in Spain but needing funds to do so.
There are some scholarships and grants you can apply to, like those offered by the EU (Erasmus +) that are open to graduates and post-graduate students of all backgrounds.

Many universities and business schools also have their own scholarships or tuition reduction policies. Remember to check if you can apply for any of them.

If you are applying from Indonesia, the LPDP scholarchips are a very good option, cause they cover not only the tuition fees but also the full board during your stay abroad. Check the full list of universities that are recognized by this program here.
  • How do I get my visa?
 If you are going to Spain for a short period of time (meaning less than three months) you can apply for a simple tourist visa.
If you are planning to stay longer, a semester or a full year, then you need to apply for a student visa. In order to do so you must present some documents, among them are, a valid passport for the complete duration of your studies, the acceptance letter from your host university, an insurance (make sure that the insurance company is allowed to operate in Spain) and a police record. You can visit the Spanish Embassy in Jakarta for the whole information, they are at Jl. Haji Agus Salim, 61 Yakarta Pusat - 10350 (Tel.: +62-21 314 23 55).
  • Is it easy to find accommodation?
 When staying in Spain you have several choices. Since we imagine you'll probably be staying for quite a while, as a student you're likely to be more interested in options other than hotels and guesthouses. Here are a few:

 - Students residences and colegios mayores:
These are highly recommended as they tend to be located near the campus (so you can save money on transport) and because in addition to accommodation, they also tend to offer dining and laundry facilities, among other amenities. There are different types available (women's, men's or mixed), and some are private while others depend directly on the universities. The main difference between student residences and colegios mayores is that the last one also provides the opportunity to develop your cultural and sporting abilities. You can use this website to choose the one more suitable for you.

 - Staying with a family:
There are an increasing number of families who are interested in receiving foreign students as lodgers. All things considered, this can be an excellent way of experiencing the Spanish way of life and saving money.
 
Ask about this option at your university or in your language school.

- Renting a flat:
You can rent a whole flat or a room in a flat shared with other tenants. This last option is very popular with Spanish students and quite affordable.
 
You'll find specialised agencies on the Internet, and you're also bound to come across advertisements that may be of interest on notice boards around the campus. Pay particular attention to details such as whether the flat is near an underground or bus station.

- Living with elderly people:
Several Spanish cities have intergenerational programmes in which young students are given lodgings in elderly people's homes. In exchange for free accommodation, all you have to do is offer your company and enjoy sharing the person's experience.This option can show you a different face of Spain, and be a wonderful experience, but we recomend you to have some knowledge of Spanish language
 
Check with the voluntary work or community service offices in your university.

Anyway, the office of International Relations from your host university can help you and advise you on this.
  • What about the cost of living in Spain?
The good thing about choosing Spain over other European countries is, not only quality of the Spanish Educational institutions, but the country cost of living, is cheaper than what you would find in UK, France or Germany. Of course this cost of living changes depending on the region you are based (it's not the same Madrid or Barcelona that smaller cities as Granada or Salamanca), but still you will find it very "budget friendly". Here an example of what we mean. Let's imagine you are going to Barcelona for your master degree (as we said before, Barcelona is not the cheapest city, but it's still very popular), how much you would spend per month?
 - Rented room in a shared flat in Barcelona city center: 300 - 350 € (approx. You can check this website yourself and fine better deals in other areas of the city)
 - Transport: 45 € (yearly subscription, if needed)
 - Food: 160 - 200 €
 - Leisure/entertaiment: 100 €

You get a total cost of approximately: 645 €/month, not bad considering you are studying in one of the most popular destinations around the world, right?
  • Language concerns  
- Should I learn Spanish?

If you have chosen one of the universities that offered English Programs, for sure you won't need to learn Spanish for your studies. Nevertheless we encourage you to learn some basic Spanish, you will find it more than useful for your daily life and sure you will enjoy it (check out our post "Some things you've never realized about the importance of learning Spanish"). All the Spanish Universities offer language courses to their foreigner students, and there are many private academies that sure can help you if you need to put some extra effort. We can recommend you some depending on where you are going.

- I know Spain has more than one official language, what about that? do I need to speak Catalan, Galician or Basque?

True, Spain has more than one official language, four to be more specific. However, Spanish is official in the whole territory and all the locals speak Spanish. Furthermore, and as example, a city like Barcelona (where Spanish and Catalan are official languages) receives every year more than 12.000 foreigner students, meaning that sometimes even only speak English it's fine.
  • Can I study and work?
Does your student visa allow you to apply for a job? The answer is YES, with your student visa you could apply for a part-time job. But trust me...you will be so delighted discovering the wonders that Spain has to offer that you won't have time for that.
  • Religious concerns
- Muslim

If you are coming from a Muslim country and are a muslim practitioner you might be worried about finding worship places in Spain. Well, be worried no more. Spain not only has a shared historic link with the islamic religion but it's also very close to North Africa, where Islam is the most practiced religion. In the last two decades many workers from these countries have chosen Spain to live and have brought with them their traditions and customs. Meaning that it will be easier for you to find mosques or praying groups.  

 - Halal

 As it's said above,  the Muslim community has grown a lot in the last years so every day is easier and easier find Halal butchers and groceries stores, especially in the biggest cities.


  •  Is there any discount for International students? (information provided by the official website of Study in Spain, very useful website, you should check it out)
And this is another thing to think about....there are many students cards you can apply for that will help you to get discounts on different activities (transport, housing, food....), your budget won't regret it!. As an international student, you'll have several options to get discounts in Spain:

1. Get the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). It is valid in over 120 countries and you will be able to get discounts on travel, restaurants, museums, accommodation, transport, telephony, sports, etc. You can apply for it online or get it directly in Spain even if you are a foreign student (you will need a document that proves you are enrolled in a school or university, a recent passport photo and your ID card or passport). The minimum age to apply is 12 and there is no maximum age. It is valid for no more than 16 months. Follow this link for more information.

2. Get the European Youth Card (promoted by the European Youth Card Association – EYCA), for young people aged 14 to 30, valid in over 40 countries.
In Spain this card is promoted by the Youth Institute (Injuve) and the youth organisations of the Autonomous Regions.
We suggest you to visit the following website, where you find where you need to go, depending on the autonomous region you are studying in. It also includes requirements and fees.

3. Get the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC). It is valid for young people aged 12-25 who are not full-time students. It is especially useful for getting discounts on international air travel, rail tickets, and others. It is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

More information: https://es-online.aliveplatform.com/index.php

4. Get the Spanish Youth Hostel Network (REAJ) card. This card is recognised internationally and you will be able to use it in many national and foreign hostels. To apply, all you need is your ID card or passport, and to pay the fee. More information here.

Other things to remember:

Get information on the discounts that RENFE (Spanish National Railway Network) offers if you have one of these card:
http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

Many universities have their own student card with which you can borrow books, get discounts, etc. Most of these cards can also be linked to a bank account. That is, they can be used as a cash card.

Even if you haven’t got any of these cards, if you prove you are a student you can get discounts on many services such as transport, car hire, housing, etc...

Take a look at the proposals on the official page of the Youth Institute (Injuve)
 

So...what do you think?, is everything clear now?, have we missed anything? please let us know, we will be delighted to answer all the questions you have, so all comments are welcome. And if you find this post useful don't be shy and share, cause sharing is caring.







martes, 5 de mayo de 2015

Some things you've never realized about the importance of learning Spanish



We all know, or have been told, or have read somewhere...that learning Spanish is a good choice. Why? there are several reasons:
  • Because it is the 2nd most widely spoken language with more than 500 million speakers
  • Because it is the official language in 21 countries
  • Because it will help your career: new job opportunities, new markets, international trade....Latin American countries have been experiencing strong economic growth for years with an estimated GDP growth of 4.67 in 2011. This growth has been propelled by MERCOSUR and other trade, economic and political agreements such as NAFTA, Andean Community of Nations, The Central American Integration System (CACM), and the G3 Free Trade Agreement. So, yes, this is a huge market, and it keeps growing. And what it's more important, learning Spanish will open it for you
  • According to the language researcher David Graddol on a report presented to the British Council, "The world is rapidly becoming multilingual and Arabic and Spanish are both key languages of the future". The same British Council reported Spanish as the most important non-English language to learn (based on cultural, economical, and diplomatic factors). You can read the "Language of the future" report here. This means that not only the US is learning Spanish because of the rapid growing of its Spanish speaker population, but also the British are swapping French for Spanish as more relevant language.
  • Because learning another language will improve your memory and slow age-related decline in mental acuity. And studying another language makes you smarter! Your critical thinking skills will be improved as you learn to view things through a different lens. Learning a second language stimulates creativity! Ok, I know, I know....this can be applied to any language, not only Spanish, but it's still a good thing
  • And because bla bla bla...some more boring and useful reasons....
But we also know that sometimes these, more than valid and good reasons, are not enough to make you run and get your Spanish language course done. So let's talk about the funny part of learning Spanish and how that will change your life.

We said that there are more than 500 million Spanish speakers in the world....those are many new friends (and possible dates) to think about, so by learning Spanish you are expanding your dating pool ;-)

Those over 500 million speakers populate some of the coolest destinations in the world. Forget about the touristy resorts in Cancun and explore thousands of miles of cheap and beautiful Latin America cities, beaches, and trails. Venezuela, for instance, has the longest Caribbean sea coastline of any nation and is considered one of the most mega diverse countries on the planet, with more than 40 percent of its territory protected. Even if you do go to popular destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, speaking the local language will help you get off the beaten path and see some real culture. And then, of course, you can book a trip to Spain and see the wonders of Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucia and more. Or discover the wonders of routes less travelled such Basque Country, Asturias or Galicia, in the north of the Spanish peninsula.

And, not need to be said, you will understand and enjoy the Spanish literature and films. Around 100 successful authors from 54 countries voted “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha” by novelist Miguel de Cervantes as the best book of all time. Other Spanish-language authors you’ll want to read are Chilean poet Pablo Neruda — many of whose works have not been translated — Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, and many more. And then there are the movies. Star directors Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenabar, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guilermo Del Toro — who all have movies in their native language — should be enough to convince you of the richness of Spanish-language cinema. Also listen to actors and actresses such as Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro or Javier Bardem talking their mother tonge gives a different taste to the movie watching.

We could also talk about music, Spanish speaker bands and singers are gaining worldwide recognition and fame. Have you ever wondered what Shakira, Juanes, Enrique Iglesias or that beautiful song you were dancing on your last salsa class were saying? Learn Spanish and you will know.

Learning Spanish will give you the chance to support and understand some of the best athletes in the world. Football, tennis, basketball, moto GP, F1...all these sports have top athletes who are Spanish speakers

Furthermore, Spanish is easy to learn. Much of its vocabulary is similar to English's, and written Spanish is almost completely phonetic: look at almost any Spanish word and you can tell how it is pronounced. And while mastering the grammar of Spanish can be a challenge, basic grammar is straightforward enough that you can have meaningful communication after only a few lessons.

Last but not least, learning Spanish is fun!

The satisfaction of accomplishment it's there waiting for you to grab it! For all of the reasons mentioned above, and a whole lot that haven't been mentioned, learning Spanish can be one of the most enjoyable things you will ever do. Whether your motivations are practical, intellectual or sentimental, learning Spanish is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life!

So...¿hablamos español?

If you are interested do not hesitate to contact us, either if you are looking for an intensive course in Spain or Latin America or you would like to learn on-line, we have the solution

martes, 14 de abril de 2015

Summer abroad? why not?



In SENAI we have always been quite enthusiastic about travelling and discovering new places, new people, new things. Therefore, for us the question: "summer abroad?" has only one possible answer, and is a big, bold YES.
Nevertheless, we know and understand, that not everybody feels the same way about leaving his/her home country, with this post we will try, not only to encourage those insecure, but also to give you different possibilities and ideas for your summer abroad and how to plan it.

So, you would like to go abroad during your holidays period, wouldn't you?, what for?. When planning a summer abroad there are several options:
  • Volunteer programs
  • Language courses
  • Summer school programs hosted by universities
  • The shake of travelling and visit a new place
All of them are more than valid but you need to choose the type of summer you'd like to have. The last one would be a more leisure option while the first three can bring you not only the experience but a nice new line on your CV.

And of course, you need to choose the country...the world is a big place and the possibilities are endless. There's always an unknown city, an interesting project to collaborate with, or a beautiful landscape you can take picture of. You should choose according to your interests and the type of summer you like. For example, if you want to improve your English skills, the smartest choice would be to study a language course on an English speaker country. On the other hand, if you are looking for to get some extra credits you should check the different summer programs some universities offer.

These are basic decisions you have to take, but the work is far from done. Of course, you can work out your summer on your own, but sometimes things get a bit more complicated than expected when going to a foreign country and it's easier to ask for help. Some people feel more confident when a specialist is supporting and helping with the application process.

In SENAI we promote exchanges between Spain and Southeast Asia, meaning that if you are living in SEA and want to learn (or improve your) Spanish or take a summer course in a Spanish University you are a "click" away to get our help. Same applies the other way around, are you a Spaniard willing to go to SEA for voluntary work or summer schools? drop us an email, with some help it can be easier than you think.

whatever you do, enjoy your holidays!


jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

¿TE ATREVES A SOÑAR...?



Desde pequeño te han enseñado ciertas reglas, valores, que debes seguir, buenas costumbres de esfuerzo, trabajo y sacrificio. Pero raramente te animan a soñar despierto, a imaginar hasta dónde podrías llegar. Raramente te dejan caer para que puedas levantate.
¿Qué pasaría si un día decidieras desafiar todas esas reglas, superar todos tus miedos y empezar algo nuevo?, un viaje, un proyecto, nuevos estudios, ese trabajo que siempre soñaste...¿Qué pasaría si, por una vez, decidieras arriesgar y dejar atrás aquello que conoces?. ¿Qué pasaría si salieras de tu zona de confort?
Imagina que decides dejar atrás el “terreno conocido” y te aventuras en un país nuevo, bien por ocio o por trabajo. Cuando das un paso así, te obligas a descubrir otras culturas diferentes a la tuya, otras maneras de vivir, de pensar, de divertirse e incluso de comer. Tendrás que sumergirte y adaptarte a esta nueva forma de vida, dejando atrás prejuicios y miedos. Estás dejando atrás lo que conoces y para ti “es normal”. Un articulo publicado en la revista TIME, afirmaba que el hecho de adaptarse a culturas diferentes a la propia nos hace más creativos y aumenta la capacidad de llevar acabo pensamientos complejos, de ponernos en el lugar del otro.
Al salir de la zona de confort, no sólo la amplías, sino que superas ese miedo a lo desconocido y diferente. Enfrentarte a estos temores favorece que cada vez sea más fácil para ti encarar nuevos retos y dificultades. En otras palabras, aprendes a adaptarte a nuevas situaciones. Este tipo de experiencias ayudan a mejorar las habilidades sociales, ampliando la red de contactos, y por tanto, dándote la oportunidad de conocer a futuros empleadores y/o socios. 
Vencer las reticencias y dar ese primer paso puede abrirte un mundo de posibilidades.  
Hemos recuperado para ti este video donde se explica de manera muy clara y con divertidos dibujos qué es la zona de confort y qué hay más allá de ella. 
Nadie dice que sea fácil, sólo que merece la pena intentarlo. Y tú, ¿te atreves a soñar?

viernes, 13 de marzo de 2015

¿Por qué me voy a ir yo a Indonesia?




Probablemente te resulte difícil localizar Indonesia en el mapa, tal vez no hayas oído si quiera que su capital se llama Jakarta, y es posible que tampoco sepas que es la mayor economía del sureste asiático con un crecimiento mantenido del 6% en los últimos años. ¿Quién lo hubiera dicho....?

Si bien China lleva vendiéndose desde hace algunos años como la tierra de las oportunidades en Asia, Indonesia va en camino de convertirse en la 10ª mayor economía del mundo, y aspira a hacerse con el sexto puesto en la próxima década. Su descomunal mercado interno (más de 250 millones de habitantes) y su riqueza en recursos naturales, hacen que el país sea uno de los lugares del mundo con un mayor potencial de crecimiento y oportunidades que a día de hoy muy pocos se han aventurado a explotar y disfrutar.

Ni idea de donde está Indonesia……¿eso qué son? ¿cuatro islitas entre Asia y el Pacífico, no? Pues nada menos que 17 mil islas (ni siquiera los propios indonesios saben el número exacto de islas que componen el país) que ocupan una superficie equivalente a la distancia entre Bilbao y San Petersburgo (sí, como lo lees).

El mayor archipiélago del planeta, habitado por más de 350 grupos étnicos distintos (con sus correspondientes culturas y lenguas) posee la mayor diversidad biológica y natural que se conoce, esconde cientos de playas paradisíacas, cuenta con más de 100 volcanes activos y su capital, Jakarta, es una dinámica megápolis de cerca de 20 millones de personas que compite en cosmopolitismo y diversidad con urbes como Bangkok o Beijing. Y éstos sólo son algunos de los sorprendentes números e hitos de un país muy poco conocido en occidente que espera ser descubierto y disfrutado por esas mentes inquietas que buscan una experiencia distinta e intensa tanto profesional como vital.


El cálido clima tropical, los paisajes de ensueño, las innumerables oportunidades laborales de una economía en constante expansión y las sempiternas sonrisas de los indonesios te esperan….¿Estás preparado para la aventura de tu vida?