Making the Most of Summer

It’s mid-July and we’re not in Barcelona or Oxford.  We’re not on campus at Berkeley or Stanford or Tufts.  We’re mostly staying home and we’re wearing masks and avoiding crowds or crowded places.  It’s a very different summer than the one we imagined even six months ago but we’re happy to report that in spite of all of the changes and new restrictions, we are connecting students from around the world and continuing to foster learning and growth throughout the summer.

When we first talked about virtual classes we were doubtful.  How would it work?  Sure, we have fantastic faculty but would anyone listen when they couldn’t go to a new, exciting location?  Well, as it turns out, we have quite a few students who decided that they wanted to keep learning even if they had to stay home.  And we are SO excited!  Our classes have been really well received.  Our students have been so focused and engaged and attentive.  The discussions and debates and sharing of ideas has been absolutely rejuvenating for our Summerfuel team.  SF Virtual has given us the motivation and energy to continue planning for an in-person 2021.  And it has helped US to remember to think outside the box and look beyond the immediate barriers.  Thank you to all of the students who took a leap of faith and joined us for Sessions 1 and 2.  We have two more sessions on offer this summer so if you’re looking for something to fill your day, take a look.  Session 3 begins July 20th and Session 4 starts August 3rd.  We’d love to have you!

We miss you Boston!

Final Day and Celebration

And just like that, three weeks have passed in a flash! Seeing as it was our last full day in Barcelona, we wrapped up classes at ESADE by sharing presentations and taking final exams.

Upon completion of our classes, the ESADE faculty handed out certificates to recognize completion of the summer course, followed by a reception with light bites in the garden outside of our academic building.

Knowing that our students were eager to make one last trip to their favorite, shops, restaurants, cafes, etc, we spent the afternoon in the city center and gave the group the freedom to spend that time in the neighborhood of their choice.

After some hours of free time, we reconvened in the residence to finish packing and get ready for the final dinner. The restaurant across the street opened their terrace to our group and there we enjoyed a delicious dinner and spent the evening recapping our favorite memories and saying goodbyes.

Now we are back in the residence. Some students are getting ready for bed while others are staying up to watch movies or simply enjoy their last few hours chatting with friends. Tomorrow we will make various trips to the airport and train station to ensure everyone’s smooth departures. ‘Til tomorrow! Buenas noches.

Visiting Camp Nou

Today in Barcelona it was the students’ last full day of classes at ESADE and, as previously mentioned, they were busy preparing for tomorrow’s final exams and presentations.

After school, part of the program experienced a huge part of Barcelona’s culture: fútbol! The students’ visit to the Camp Nou stadium included the museum (with trophies, highlight videos, and more), the visiting team’s locker room, the press room, and other areas of interest. While it is FC Barcelona’s off season at the moment, the students still had a great time visiting the stadium and imagining the excitement of attending a game!

The other activity option today was a visit to L’Illa shopping center where rebajas (summer sales) are still going on! A bunch of students took advantage of this opportunity to pick up last minute gifts for their friends and family. It was also an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon snack and escape the heat.

We are excited to celebrate the students’ accomplishments tomorrow and see what they’ve learned from three weeks of classes at ESADE. Stay tuned for updates about their presentations and exams!

Last Beach Day

Hi everyone! Today was the last Wednesday of the program and also our last day at the beach.

Over the course of the program, students have gotten to know the many beaches that make up Barcelona’s coastline. One of their favorites is the less-touristy Nova Icaria beach where we’ve spent the last few Wednesdays. Nova Icaria is also conveniently located by the Olympic Port where the other group of students had their final sailing class today!

While the weather was on and off, we were lucky that the rain held off during our afternoon activities. However, the sailing group did get caught in a down pour on their way back to the residence!

Tomorrow will be our last full day of classes at ESADE and the last day for students to prepare for their final exam/presentation. Wish us luck!

Gaudí Part 4

His name is all over Barcelona’s history and all over our blog: Antoni Gaudí. After classes today, a small group of students chose to visit Gaudí’s Casa Battló, the fourth and final destination on our Gaudí tour through Barcelona.

Casa Battló is situated on a popular shopping street in the district of Eixample. It stands out for its quirky façade decorated by colorful mosaics, its bone-like structure, and whimsical roof. It is also a treat for the eyes inside, where students discovered a world that was inspired by marine life and animals. Take a peak at the pictures below to see some of our favorite moments from the Casa Battló tour. You will also notice that students were given an audiovisual guide that helped them to imagine how the house was decorated when it was first built.

While these students got their last dose of Gaudí, the rest of the group was back at the residence playing games, swimming, resting, doing laundry, or enjoying other amenities. We’re looking forward to our last beach day tomorrow and also the last sailing workshop. Goodnight from Barcelona!

Contemporary Art and Las Ramblas

Hi everyone! Today marks the start of week three in Barcelona. Can you believe how quickly the program is going by?

Today students attended both morning and afternoon classes to make up for a session we had previously missed. After a full day on ESADE’s campus, we headed into the city center for our afternoon activity: exploring the well-known, tree-lined street called Las Ramblas.

While the students are familiar with the Gothic Quarter neighborhood on one side of Las Ramblas, they have yet to explore this popular street nor the neighborhood on the other side (El Raval). Most of the students opted for free time today in order to explore Las Ramblas at their own pace. However, a handful of students joined Program Director Amani at MACBA, Barcelona’s contemporary art museum located just a street or two off of Las Ramblas.

What exactly is there to see/do on Las Ramblas? One of the most well-known destinations on Las Ramblas is the Boquería market which has fresh produce, seafood, juices, candy stalls, tapas bars, and more. There is also a museum dedicated to the Spanish ham! Beyond these two highlights, Las Ramblas has shops, restaurants, an ice cream store owned by a Michelin-star chef, and street performers.

This week students will also be preparing for their final projects/tests, which are scheduled for Friday. We expect that some students will be using their evening free time tonight to prepare. If not, we’re sure they’ll be enjoying one of their last nights at the rooftop pool, squeezing in more ping pong games, or simply enjoying hang out time with their new friends.

¡Buenas noches!

From Port Aventura to Sitges

Our second Sunday is in the books and what a day it was! Our staff in Barcelona is always working with the students and responding to their feedback in order to make their experience the best possible. After receiving multiple requests to add Port Aventura to our activities calendar, we organized a special trip and half of the students attended. They enjoyed roller coasters such as Shambhala and Dragon Khan as well as other attractions and shows.

Meanwhile, the other half of the group decided to take it easy and enjoy the popular beach town Sitges, which is situated to the south of Barcelona. In Sitges, the group ate at beachside restaurants, explored an old church, shopped, and more.

Tomorrow we will be attending morning and afternoon classes and then heading to the area of Las Ramblas where students who sign up will tour the contemporary art museum. We are also looking forward to upcoming activities including the FC Barcelona Stadium tour and Casa Battló.

Have a great night!


Day with Salvador Dalí

Happy Saturday, everyone! Today Summerfuel students visited two lovely towns north of Barcelona.

We made our first stop in Figueres where the Salvador Dalí Museum is located. Dalí was born in this town and spent much of his life on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona. Dalí, unlike most artists, was alive and well when his museum was set up so the museum itself is a piece of art. The students especially enjoyed an optical illusion of Gala, Dalí’s wife, which turns into a portrait of Abe Lincoln if you back up and look at it from a distance (see first photo).

Following our visit to the museum, we stopped in L’Escala for some hours of beach time. In L’Escala we ate lunch, swam, and soaked up the sun!

We are now back in Barcelona getting ready for our dinner plans. Students can either eat at the residence, in our neighborhood, or go with staff members to visit Plaza España. During the summer, the fountains in front of the majestic-looking National Catalan Art Museum (MNAC) sway and light up to music at night. Beyond viewing the fountain show, students can also explore the former bullfighting arena which is now a shopping mall with an observation deck on top! We hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Sending our best from BCN!