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Gustavus Adolphus College


Leah Pavlish

BASIC INFO:
Date of exchange: 4/8/20
Duration of exchange: 57 min
Name of your exchange: Beatriz (third exchange)
Linguistic level of your exchange: Beginner level
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Seville, Spain
How did you find this exchange? : Mixxer

REPORTING
What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange?
I asked questions regarding the update on the coronavirus in Spain, catalan independence, tourism in Spain, and how they both affect the economy.
Points and structure of your conversation
Coronavirus, activities over the past week, catalan independence, tourism, economy.
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most?
I thought it was really interesting to hear her perspective on the independence of catalan because that is what my take home essay was about so it is interesting to hear her thoughts on everything and how it has affected Spain as a whole.
What did you enjoy the least?
She is at a beginner level of english, so when we switch over to english it is harder to have in depth conversations because she doesn’t know that much english to have a super in depth conversation.
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture?
I would ask her questions about climate change and the environment in Spain and what is causing the climate change in Spain.

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture?
During this conversation I learned a lot about the independence of Catalan from the perspective of a Southern Spaniard. She said how she believes that Spain needs to stay united and that if Spain were to let Catalan be independent then more places in Spain would want independence as well and they would lose control over the nation and the government would go down the drain. So she said it was important to have Catalan stay a part of Spain in order to keep the stability of the national government. Another thing that I thought was super cool was that she said every night at 8:00 pm the people in her city applauded all of the doctors and medical people that are helping with the coronavirus situation in order to show their appreciation for what they are doing for their country.

How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far?
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I asked a lot about the independence of Spain. She told me how the situation affected Spain as a whole and her individually. I also asked a lot of questions about tourism. She said that tourism is huge all over spain, especially in her city because it is in southern Spain near the coast and where the weather is warm. Then I asked if tourism has declined since the coronavirus and she said yes and because of that the economy is struggling because a lot of their money comes from tourism. I then asked more questions about the economy, like how it was affected by the independence of catalan movement.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor?
No

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/08/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Leah Lind

BASIC INFO:
Date of exchange: 4/7/2020
Duration of exchange: 1 hour
Name of your exchange: Christian Ruiz
Occupation: Biochemistry student
Linguistic level of your exchange: English B2
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Studying in Murcia, originally from Elche in the Valencian community
How did you find this exchange? : Contact from professor

REPORTING
What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange? I wanted to chat about Catalonian secession, as we are covering that in class right now.
Points and structure of your conversation: Quarantine updates, updates on shows we are watching, Semana Santa, bullfighting, Catalonian secession
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most? Christian and I are well-acquainted at this point, so conversations are easy and interesting!
What did you enjoy the least? n/a
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture? I will continue bringing up a variety of topics!

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture? Semana Santa is a big deal for Spain, particularly for certain cities (Sevilla was mentioned as one city that takes Easter very seriously) and almost every city has some sort of parade. Most universities have two weeks of break around this time (One week for Easter, one for spring break). I also learned about el Rocio en Sevilla, and how that is a big religious celebration unique to the city.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far? We just learned about Catalonian secession, so when it came up in conversation, I asked if he knew anyone who is involved with the issue. He has two friends from his hometown, Elche, who went to study in Barcelona and became very involved with the pro-secession side of the issue. Christian does not support secession, and these two friends no longer speak to him because of it. When discussing Semana Santa, he also brought up El Rocio and how there is a big celebration in Sevilla for her which involves bullfighting. I asked his opinion about bullfighting, and he told me he doesn't like it, particularly how many other countries associate Spain only with bullfighting. I mentioned some of the traditions we watched videos of in class, and we agree that they're cruel. I made sure to ask about religious processions for Easter since I had done some research on that for an in-class presentation earlier in the semester.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor? Nope!

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/07/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Olivia Bruse

On April 6th, I skyped with someone named Dana for two hours and twenty minutes for the language exchange. She is from a town outside of Vigo, Galicia, and her English skills are very advanced. I received her email from the professor.

I didn’t have any particular questions prepared, just that I planned on bringing up topics we have been learning about in class, and an exam we have this week in Spanish. We talked about how school is going for her sisters, because she was in the process of finishing her degree program before things shut down. We also talked about Spanish history in relation to the separatism in Catalonia, such as different kings and some queens in Spain throughout the centuries, and how that influences things today. We also talked about more casual things, like what kinds of music we listen to, TV shows that are popular right now, and the natural landscape around her and spiders she recently found in her house. I really enjoyed this conversation, because we can flow between topics very easily. In our next call, if she has found her old history notes, I would like to hear more about her education in Spanish history.

It was very interesting to hear more about how history in Spain can still influence and affect things today. She told me about what she learned in history class about the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and the “dictablanda” (soft-dictatorship) of the leader before Franco in comparison of those two periods. We also talked about feminism in Spain and generational perspectives on LGBT people and communities. Our discussion on feminism was very constructive and valuable, and we both have the same perspective on feminism and equal rights. Something that is important to remember about the conversation of feminism and equal rights in Spain, she said, is the presence of machismo and masculinity, and what role it has played in Spanish history.

Gave 2.00 hours on 04/06/2020
Kaytlyn Brenneman

So fun! Over FaceTime, we wrote a letter together, cut out and colored hearts (for the "World of Hearts" thing going around that people are putting in their windows), and played the Alphabet Game to practice reading/spelling:)

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/04/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Michaela Woodward

BASIC INFO:
Date of exchange: 4/3/2020
Duration of exchange: 1 hour
Name of your exchange: Albert
Occupation: Teacher
Linguistic level of your exchange: Advanced
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Barcelona
How did you find this exchange? : Mixxer

REPORTING
What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange?
I used several of the questions/topics from the tarea, as Albert is from Catalonia, so we discussed the independence movement and also general differences between Spanish and American culture.
Points and structure of your conversation
First half in Spanish and second half in English
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most?
This exchange was really informative and he's really easy to talk to, so I felt like I got a lot out of it and wasn't as hesitant to ask certain questions or discuss certain topics. His sons were also playing during it, and one of them said "Cookies!" when he asked him what he had for la merienda, so that was pretty cute.
What did you enjoy the least?
I don't think there was anything I didn't particularly enjoy.
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture?
From this conversation, I got a lot of information, but I would ask him more about how he sees Catalan culture as being distinct. I would also ask him more about the education system in Spain and how teachers are viewed, because that is particularly relevant in my life due to Scott Walker's time as governor and my mom being a teacher during that.

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture?
I definitely learned more about Catalonian culture through this conversation, as he says that they are completely distinct. He talked about the celebration on the feast day of Saint Jordi, which is probably my favorite holiday that I haven't celebrated, and how it's one of the most beautiful days to be in Barcelona. He said that since 2010, the independence movement has skyrocketed though there has been the feeling of being separate from Spain for centuries, and he and his whole family would vote to separate. He and many Catalans see the government in Madrid as an authoritarian state ("infumable"), and that being Catalan is entirely distinct from being Spanish. At one time those two identities were compatible, but now they are not as much. More of the separatist ideology comes from educated people, whereas the nationalist movement is made up of more working-class people. I also asked him about the role of the king, and he said that he is purely a figurehead and the concept of monarchy is absurd. When the king visits Catalonia (which is rare), the people act like they want to vomit and in general the political right is more in favor of the traditional monarchy.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far?
All of the questions I asked were mainly in regards to the topic of Calatonia independence, so that was a major topic I took from class. We also talked about working conditions and schedules in Spain and the United States, and how there are different attitudes in regards to them. For example, he thinks the daily schedule of Spain, with working until 8 after the siesta, is ridiculous.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor?
No

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/03/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Marisa Gustafson

Date of exchange: 04/05/20
Duration of exchange: 1:04:25
Name of your exchange: Joaquín
Linguistic level of your exchange: Unknown
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Murcia
How did you find this exchange?: Jose is his classmate and asked if I could be his exchange partner.

What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange?
-I prepared asking him about how his online classes are going, the status of the festivals he was looking forward to, and his political views.
Points and structure of your conversation:
-We talked about how we are spending out time while quarantined. We discussed what we do for excericise, he watches dance videos on youtube, and I am learning to rollerblades. When we started talking about differences in decision making bewteen the national government vs. autonomos communities/ states, we got into a long conversation about politics and differnences ebtween the two countries. I mentioned what I have been learning in class and he said he doesn't exactly support any one party, but supports most of PP and ciudadanos. For the last bit of the conversation we talked about celebrations in Minnesota and in his his area. I mentioned the state fair in August, and learned that he is a major supporter Holy week which was supposed to start this week.
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most?
-I really enjoy speakin with him because he is very well informed about worldly topics and enjoys discussing the controversial current events. I like to hear his opinions.
What did you enjoy the least?
-I can't think of anything I did not enjoy about this exchange.
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture?
-I will ask about more recent topics such as the independence of Catalonia.

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture?
-I learned about the more limited division of power between the national and provincial governments than in the US, and I learned about voting practices and tendencies in young and older adults.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far?
-Well of course our coronavirus update touched on the current events like always, but the discussion about politics and festivals also aligned with class material.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor?
-I do not have any concerns or questions.

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/03/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Olivia Kunshier

BASIC INFO:
Date of exchange: April 3
Duration of exchange: 1.5 hours (see emails, my skype is missing the time log from one call.)
Name of your exchange: Estefania
Occupation: Student (business)
Linguistic level of your exchange: Beginner
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Valencia, Spain
How did you find this exchange? : Mixxer

REPORTING
What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange?
Prior to this exchange, I was excited to question my partner about the political parties in Spain, which she belongs to, and contemporary issues she feels are impacting Spain. I was also curious to learn how Valencia is doing with the coronavirus situation since my J-Term abroad was there. I also needed to get to know her since I have never talked to her before!
Points and structure of your conversation: Estefania and I talked for a long while, although at different times because I was having a decent amount of technical difficulties. She was very lively and my favorite exchange so far. We discussed the political parties and issues in Spain. She was very interested in discussing gender violence, VOX, and “La Manada”, all things I am extremely intrigued by. Clearly, we also discussed how difficult coronavirus is in our countries. She was confused by our drinking/driving age in the United States (something I do not agree with as well), which I thought was funny. However, she did not really seem to want to discuss in English after I brought it up and only seems interested in me translating slightly. Due to this, it felt as though we are speaking as friends, especially since she is younger (29). At one point we hung up because she was involved in cheering for the medical essential workers!
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most? I was able to learn her party (PSOE), while her husband supports the Ciudadnos. She told me, in her opinion, VOX appeals to naive people and her husband’s brother is one of those. She discussed the issues of gang rape and gender violence in Spain. This is something I enjoyed talking about because I am currently involved in doing a literature review on gang rape perpetration for a psychology class.
What did you enjoy the least? Well, my computer was acting up so this made the call less enjoyable. Overall I loved talking to her but I wonder why she isn’t interested in speaking in English, as her profile seemed to indicate this.
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture? I would love to ask her about her opinions on Cataluna’s independence and possibly ETA terrorists. I think this will be my main objective if she is interested in speaking again.

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture? I did not know previously that there was such an issue of younger men who are raping younger and younger women (according to her). I also was surprised her and her husband were part of such different parties. Lastly, Estefania seemed to be concerned about the emergence of many parties and thinks this will lead to division.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far? To connect to the class material I discussed political parties in Spain, the end of the bipartisan system in Spain (15M indignados), and how it differs from our parties here (such as the meaning of “Republican”). We also reflected on feminism in both of our countries and the issues of gender violence/gang rape.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor? No, I do not!

Gave 1.50 hours between 04/03/2020 and 04/05/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Marisa Gustafson

Date of exchange: 04/02/20
Duration of exchange: 1:04:29
Name of your exchange: Jose Antonio Alcaraz Garcia
Linguistic level of your exchange: B2
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: He is from the Murcia region
How did you find this exchange?: Profe

What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange?
-I planned to ask about topics that we have talked about about in class including the coronavirus and ask about how it has affeted the cities, celebrations, and education in Spain.
Points and structure of your conversation:
-We hadn't talked in awhile so we caught up on online classes, and what he is doing with his free time. When talking about free time, it spiraled into different topics such as his professors, movies he watches, and his family. His mom works for an essential cleaning bussiness, so she is still working, and I found out that his dad had an accident falling off of a roof a few years ago that has affected his mobility. He watches many shows and movies in Spanish and in English. We connected on our like of Star Wars and talked about that a lot, comparing the series in Spanish and English and discussing the Disney plus tv episodes that follow the movies.
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most?
-I loved how it felt natural. It is so easy to talk to him, we go off into unexpected topics and never come back.
What did you enjoy the least?
-Becuase of how much we got off topic in conversation, it wa harder to hit points about our class topics.
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture?
-I would ask him about his friends, future plans, and political views as discussed in class.

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture?
-When discussing the secondary Star Wars TV shows, I found out that the shows on Disney plus are released later to the rest of the world than they are in the US.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far?
-I connected class material by talking about our current event the coronavirus and we talked about the government and finances connected to education as he described that situation.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor?
-I do not have any concerns or questions

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/02/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College
Leah Lind

* we had a lot of technical difficulties, so we had two calls - they both should be captured in the screenshots
BASIC INFO:
Date of exchange: 4/2/2020
Duration of exchange: ~1 hour
Name of your exchange: Christian Tuleda Ruiz
Occupation: Biochemistry student
Linguistic level of your exchange: English B2
Where does he/she live? Where is she/he originally from?: Studyin in Murcia, originally from Elche, a town in the Valencian community
How did you find this exchange? : Contact from professor

REPORTING
What questions did you prepare or have in mind before going into this exchange? Quarantine check ins, if we ran out of topics, I was going to ask about Spanish politics again
Points and structure of your conversation: Graduations, Prom, other celebrations in the US vs Spain and how they're affected by Coronavirus, video games we play (and how some US games are available in Spain, others no), Spanish perception of American reality shows/entertainment in general, Halloween in the US vs Spain, modeling in the US vs Spain
What did you enjoy about this conversation the most? I really enjoy speaking with Christian! Very good conversation partner
What did you enjoy the least? We had a lot of technical problems this time, with frozen video and delayed audio
If you get to talk to this person again, what would you like to ask them to expand your knowledge about Spanish culture? I would love to hear more about different traditions in Spanish high schools vs American high schools

REFLECTION
What did you learn in this specific conversation exchange about Spanish culture? One thing I found interesting was that as crazy as many Spaniards think American shows are, many people participate in the shows because of the money involved - Christian said that many Spaniards who are part of US reality shows like Big Brother earn enough money from the show to essentially retire afterwards. I also learned a lot about graduation ceremonies in Spain - most schools don't require students to buy caps and gowns, but there is one generic one for taking graduation pictures, and a lot of the other activities are arranged by the students themselves in their own departments.
How did you connect to the class material and what questions did you ask to expand on the class material this far? I found the comments about earning enough money on American reality TV to retire very interesting, and it made me think of 15M. I wonder if any of the younger people who were financially struggling tried to get on American TV to earn money. I asked a lot about the graduation ceremonies in Spain, as it was very interesting to me that he had a fairly laid-back ceremony/afterparty when different parties and celebrations (running of the bulls, las fallas, Carnaval) are a big part of Spanish culture for many Spaniards.
Do you have any concerns about this exchange or exchanges in general? Do you have any questions for your professor? Nope!

Gave 1.00 hour on 04/02/2020 with Gustavus Adolphus College