Cultural Journey

Cultural Journey to Spain

Continuing on our Cultural Journey Series to Spain!1Spain flag

Bienvenidos! Rich with history and traditions, it is understandable why more than 47 million Spaniards choose to make España their home. Occupying 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, its beautiful beaches, mountain ranges and precious architecture compliment unforgettable cuisine and a proud, fun-loving population. Spain is rated as one of the best tourist destinations in Europe, and has nurtured many famous artists, authors and entertainers. It continues to strive toward its national motto of “Plus Ultra,” meaning “Further Beyond.”

Spanish Traditions

Fútbol Fans

Fútbol Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Spain is well-known for its most popular sport, fútbol! Teams like Fútbol Club Barcelona and rival, Real Madrid, draw crowds of more than 70 thousand fans in a season. Competing at a world-class level, clubs have won the FIFA World Cup (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and have earned both silver and gold Olympic medals. Two of the more popular footballers in Spain are Lionel Messi, playing for F.C. Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid. Becoming a professional sport in 1926, Spanish fútbol clubs have continued to cultivate their fan base and acquire elite players, making it the most important spectator sport in Spain.

Parade Float

Carnival – Besides religious and New Year’s celebrations, Spain hosts many festivals throughout the year. During the last week of February, Spain hosts Carnival. With slight variations in different cities, these celebrations are about having fun parading brightly colored costumes, dancing and music to entertain thousands of festival-goers.

 

 

 

Flamenco Dancer
Flamenco Dancer

Flamenco – Combining music, dancing and guitar playing into Flamenco is another beautiful Spanish tradition. It is said that this tradition was created by migrants bringing instruments and songs of their culture. Characterized by different levels of intense emotion and changing themes such as death and despair in one section, love and humor in another. The Flamenco conveys a story to its viewers. Beautifully-colored costumes and harmonious music entrances audiences and evokes the intended emotions.

Treasures of Spain

6Playa de las Catedrales
Playa de las Catedrales

Playa de las Catedrales – Located in Ribadeo, it is one of Spain’s top beaches. Famous for its rock formations, the “Beach of the Cathedrals” only reveals its beautiful arches at low tide. Visitors are reminded of the ocean’s strength and revel in nature’s creations.

 

 

 

 

Alcazar de Segovia
Alcázar de Segovia

Alcázar de Segovia – Originally built in the 12th century, Alcázar de Segovia was home to Castilian monarchs who each added on to the castle, causing continuous construction through the 16th century. Looking like a ship breaking through the rocky hilltop, Alcázar de Segovia is a top tourist destination in Spain.

 

Weeping Woman, 1937

Pablo PicassoKnown as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881. Helping pioneer the artistic style of cubism, his work steered the direction of today’s art. His depictions of reality transferred through his work. Like many artists, Picasso’s humble beginnings turn to posthumous fortune as some of his paintings are listed in the top ten most expensive, selling for more than a million dollars.

 

 

 

Tilting Windmills,
Windmills in Consuegra Spain

Miguel de Cervantes – Born in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Cervantes was a novelist, playwright and poet. He is most known for his humorous story about a man of La Mancha, Don Quixote. Translated into more than 60 languages, Cervantes wanted to portray real life by using common speech in the strong narrative. Though authoring many other works, Don Quixote earned his literary status among peers.

 

Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família
Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família

Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família  – Spainish architect Antoni Gaudí took over construction of Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família in 1883 and finished about 15-25 percent of the church before his death in 1926. Architects struggle to adhere to Gaudí’s design, and work complete the church by the scheduled date of 2026, a century after his death. This incredible display of Gothic architecture has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.

Culinary Art of Spain11cuisine

Being a gateway between Europe and Africa, Spain has been fought over throughout history. As a result, different inhabitants have influenced Spanish cuisine. Spain is known for its olives and wine, tying it to Greek and Roman culture. Its Celtic heritage introduced meat and fish pies, and the Moorish culture brings the use of honey, citrus fruits, almonds and various spices such as saffron. Of course each region has its own variation of traditional dishes and pepper in some modern twists as well. One can be certain that a Spanish meal will be rich in taste and history!

For a mix of traditional and modern dishes, click on any photo below to bring a taste of España to your home!

Empanadas
Flan

 

Gazpacho
Gazpacho
Paella
Paella

 

Spain Au Pairs

Are you in need of affordable live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing Spanish partners that help our host families to introduce the Spanish culture to their children! Together we are currently featuring the following Spanish au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S.. Upon clicking on their photos you will be taken to their personal profile on our website.  If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family please do not hesitate to contact us!

Rosa Marie J.
Rosa Marie J.
Sandra A.
Sandra A.
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Maria M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura B.
Laura B.
Laura C.
Laura C.
Mireya H.
Mireya H.
Sara S.
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2014 Au Pair of the Year Winner!

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Congratulations to Svetlana K. – Au Pair of the Year!

 

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Svetlana was selected by Au Pair International among several contest entrants to be our next Au Pair of the Year!

After losing his wife to cancer 2 years ago, John decided that it would be beneficial to have additional support for his son Bryce in her absence. After contacting Au Pair International with his concerns, they both decided to welcome Svetlana into their home in May of 2012.

According to John, “Svetlana has become a mother, daughter, friend, sister and lifelong part of our lives. I can’t imagine her return to Russia in 6 months. At 22 years old, she has shown such maturity and compassion for Bryce and built a deep loving relationship with him. Bryce has truly benefited from her presence. With a huge hole in our home from the loss of Patty, Svetlana stepped in and helped Bryce feel loved and cared for during a situation that is difficult to imagine and understand.”

Svetlana is recognized as being an invaluable member of her host family and is the proud recipient of an Apple IPad!

To read more about Svetlana and read the nomination letters please Click Here!

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Congratulations to our Au Pair of the Year Contest Runner Up Winners

Colecia and Marina!

 

Colecia L. from Jamaica – Nominated by the Robertson Family!

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Colecia’s host mother writes “Collette has been a wonderful addition to our family. We have 5 young children and she came here with a joyful heart, eager to quickly bond with us, and a willingness to help. She went above and beyond to understand our children’s unique likes and dislikes, and became a “big sister” to them. Collette has also been a wonderful addition to our community. For example, a local family recently adopted several children from Haiti, some of which have a disability. One young girl in particular (the same age as my daughter) is a double-amputee and has only been in the United States for a few months. The little girl has learned English, gotten prosthetic legs, and is really enjoying her new life with her new family. One thing was missing though -her new family didn’t know how to properly care for her hair since she was from a different culture. Collette pitched in without being asked and helped their family know what to do, and has braided the little girls’ hair several times. This may seem like a small thing -but this was huge because it continued to give this little girl a more positive self-esteem and her smile now goes from ear-to-ear.

Click Here to read more about Colecia’s nomination!

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Marina N. from Germany – Nominated by the McNeil Family!

Marina2Marina3Marina1According to her host family, “Marina has incredible patience and continuously goes above and beyond in creating new ways to teach, guide and encourage positive behavior in a calm atmosphere. Marina has always honored us as parents and takes great pride in continuing the parenting and discipline methods throughout each day from potty training to bedtime routines. She believes it’s important for the three of us to be on the same page to create clear messages of consistency and uniformity. Our two children Toren, who is 3 years old, and Sophia, who is 4, have built a very special bond with Marina that is unexplainably perfect. People often tell us, “Marina is so amazing with your children”, and “you are so lucky to have her” or “I honestly thought she was their mother because of the way she cares for them.” We have the greatest trust and respect for Marina and know she will always make the best decisions regarding our family in any situation.”

Click Here to read more about Marina’s nomination!