Tag Archives: mondragon

The Food Club in Mondragon

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The Food Club is very unique and interesting place. All of the food clubs are located only in  Mondragon/Arrasate, Basque Country. Anyone can enter in the food club by paying a certain amount of money and every month he or she must do a payment. If you are an owner of the food club you can invite different people there but somebody just from a street can not enter there.

Traditionally, in the food club only men cook. Before women were not even allowed to be there. Nowadays, it has changed but still, men in a kitchen are more important.

Different owners can be gathered under the same roof. They have particular tables and schedule, when they can come, cook and eat with family or friends.

“We eat here almost every week with my family because it is more comfortable and cheaper” – says owner of a food club Lander.

Basque meals

Food club is very suitable place for celebrating different holydays. For example, on Marixtu Kajoi (national holyday in Mondragon/Arrasate) when all restaurants and bars are full with people, this is a best opportunity to do.

For 15 or 20 euro you can have snacks. 1st and 2nd meal, dessert, different drinks, cocktails, vine and other alcoholic drinks.

Basque people prefer to do different sorts of meat with potato but everyone can do what he wants.

“After a dinner we like to drink coffee and smoke a cigar. It is a kind of a special ritual” – explains one of the guests of the food club Dennis.

It is typical to drink on a dessert cocktail which is made from sparkling wine, ice cream and lemon. It refreshes you after a plentiful dinner and gives energy to party longer.

Food clubs are not only places to eat cheaper, but it is also a place to gather with friends, discus disturbing topics and spend time with pleasure. Pictures you can look here.

Julia Barnes: ‘A trilingual Basque Country is perfectly possible’

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Julia Barnes aside the statue of Ken Follett in Vitoria-Gasteiz.So says University Lecturer at HUHEZI (Faculty of Humanities and Education) and Erasmus student coordinator, Julia Barnes. Born near Bristol, with her formative years spent in New Zealand, Julia talks to EITB about learning Basque, teaching English and rubbing shoulders with some of Spain’s most famous stars.

You are teaching on a course to Basque students called “Education in Europe and the Global World: Good practice” and all your teaching is in English. Tell us what that entails.

Julia Barnes: It’s a four-year teaching degree for students specializing in various subjects. We don’t actually teach English as such; what we try to do is activate the English the students have been learning since school; we teach topics such as Europe, Education in Wales, Christmas across Europe – all through the medium of English. So essentially they learn English by learning how to learn things in English!

In the third year some students do a two-month teaching practice in Welsh-speaking schools in North Wales and it’s very successful. Although sometimes it’s difficult because they don’t understand all the Welsh, it really gives them an opportunity to compare what happens in Wales with what happens here.

What are some of the key things about teaching people how to teach a second or third language?

Julia Barnes: If you can understand how you learned your first language or languages you’re halfway there. To the people here who are bilingual anyway, it makes sense to them.

You based your PhD on trilingualism, specifically your own children’s – How do you see the possibility of a trilingual Basque Country over the next couple of decades?

Julia Barnes: It’s perfectly possible to do. As soon as people here start being more exposed to English it will just take off. At the moment we’ve got a situation where we’re giving children exposure to English at an early age, but for a short time plus the teaching they’re exposed to is not always ideal as most nursery English teachers haven’t trained to teach English. A new degree we are giving in HUHEZI now will actually train people to be language teachers in infant education.

Tell us what first brought you to the Iberian Peninsular.

Julia Barnes: After A levels ( Bachiller), two friends and I decided to spend a year abroad so we went to Madrid; they came back and I stayed for four years teaching English. Around the same time Franco died: I remember people celebrating all the time. I got involved in the ‘movida madrileña’ and met people like (popular Spanish groups) Burning and Alaska. During the day I worked as an English teacher. But I don’t think I realized at the time just how exciting it was because everything was exciting to me then – I was 18 and I’d just left home.

You’ve lived in England, New Zealand, Madrid and here: What are the main differences between these cultures?

Julia: I tend to think I ended up here because NZ gave me a more relaxed view of life than England: Open air, love of the outside, the beach, the sea and the mountains. I was young at the time, but I have memories of doing things outside. England is more of an inside culture.

When did your Basque adventure start?

Julia: I started learning the language before I had any plans to come here. I was fascinated by it. As part of my studies at university I had to take an exotic language so I chose Basque! Then after passing my PGCE (British teaching certificate) I started working for Eurocentres who had a project with the cooperatives of Mondragon to bring teachers from England to teach English to their employees; I was part of that. I met my husband through it and ended up staying.

What needs to change to improve the possibilities of us becoming tri-lingual?

JB: I think it’s very important for people to realize that all three languages are to be equally valued for different reasons. At the moment, three languages are vying for space, but we’re certainly getting there.

So is there going to be a new generation of fluent English-speaking Basque people in the next ten or fifteen years?

JB: I think so; we are already seeing a huge improvement in the quality of English that students bring to their university studies as a result of the early English programmes, taught in the Basque Country since the nineties. On the other hand, we’re still dealing with Franco’s educational legacy and a generation of teachers educating in a very traditional way, especially in Secondary which is like the last bastion, although teachers are finally in there doing content-based teaching through a foreign language. Once the new multilingual teachers we train enter education I think we’re really going to start seeing a difference, but it’s not quite there yet.

So says University Lecturer at HUHEZI (Faculty of Humanities and Education) and Erasmus student coordinator Julia Barnes. Born near Bristol, with her formative years spent in New Zealand, Julia talks to EITB about learning Basque, teaching English and rubbing shoulders with some of Spain’s most famous stars.  
 
You are teaching on a course to Basque students called “Education in Europe and the Global World: Good practice" and all your teaching is in English. Tell us what that entails.
It’s a four-year teaching degree for students specializing in various subjects. We don’t actually teach English as such; what we try to do is activate the English the students have been learning since school; we teach topics such as Europe, Education in Wales, Christmas across Europe - all through the medium of English. So essentially they learn English by learning how to learn things in English!
 
In the third year some students to do a two-month teaching practice in Welsh-speaking schools in North Wales and it’s very successful. Although sometimes it’s difficult because they don’t understand all the Welsh, it really gives them an opportunity to compare what happens in Wales with what happens here. 
 
What are some of the key things about teaching people how to teach a second or third language?
If you can understand how you learned your first language or languages you’re halfway there. To the people here who are bilingual anyway, it makes sense to them.
 
You based your PhD on trilingualism, specifically your own children’s – How do you see the possibility of a trilingual Basque Country over the next couple of decades? 
It’s perfectly possible to do. As soon as people here start being more exposed to English it will just take off. At the moment we’ve got a situation where we’re giving children exposure to English at an early age, but for a short time plus the teaching they’re exposed to is not always ideal as most nursery English teachers haven’t trained to teach English. A new degree we are giving in HUHEZI now will actually train people to be language teachers in infant education.
 
Tell us what first brought you to the Iberian Peninsular
After A levels ( Bachiller) , two friends and I decided to spend a year abroad so we went to Madrid; they came back and I stayed for four years teaching English. Around the same time Franco died: I remember people celebrating all the time. I got involved in the ‘movida madrileña’ and met people like (popular Spanish groups) Burning and Alaska. During the day I worked as an English teacher. But I don’t think I realized at the time just how exciting it was because everything was exciting to me then – I was 18 and I’d just left home. 
 
You’ve lived in England, New Zealand, Madrid and here: What are the main differences between these cultures?
I tend to think I ended up here because NZ gave me a more relaxed view of life than England: Open air, love of the outside, the beach, the sea and the mountains. I was young at the time, but I have memories of doing things outside. England is more of an inside culture. 
 
When did your Basque adventure start?
I started learning the language before I had any plans to come here. I was fascinated by it. As part of my studies at university I had to take an exotic language so I chose Basque! Then after passing my PGCE (British teaching certificate) I started working for Eurocentres who had a project with the cooperatives of Mondragon to bring teachers from England to teach English to their employees; I was part of that. I met my husband through it and ended up staying.
 
What needs to change to improve the possibilities of us becoming tri-lingual?
I think it’s very important for people to realize that all three languages are to be equally valued for different reasons. At the moment, three languages are vying for space, but we’re certainly getting there. 
 
So is there going to be a new generation of fluent English-speaking Basque people in the next ten or fifteen years?
I think so; we are already seeing a huge improvement in the quality of English that students bring to their university studies as a result of the early English programmes, taught in the Basque Country since the nineties. On the other hand, we’re still dealing with Franco’s educational legacy and a generation of teachers educating in a very traditional way, especially in Secondary which is like the last bastion, although teachers are finally in there doing content-based teaching through a foreign language. Once the new multilingual teachers we train enter education I think we’re really going to start seeing a difference, but it’s not quite there yet.

It’s great to be a grandchild

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As I had predicted, I’m short on time this week. The last days I had to divide my spare time between schoolwork and my grandparents. They had arrived in Arrasate on Tuesday, so after school Niké and I went to visit them in Hotel Mondragón, where they had booked a room for a few nights. Continue reading

Maritxu here I come!

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Tomorrow is a big day for Arrasate and it’s inhabitants. Every first Friday of October the whole town joins in dancing, singing and drinking. Why? It’s Maritxu Kajoi (literally, Little Mary in a box), one of the largest festival in the region. Continue reading

Erasmus = studying, working and partying!

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Today we had our second class of Digital Journalism where we were divided into groups of three to work on a project. We got the assignment to make a comic using pictures we made ourselves.

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Maritxu Kajoi: the event, the recovery

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Gabon/Egun on everybody! Yes, I’m writing you in the evening, but for me it still feels like morning. Main cause: Maritxu Kajoi, one of Arrasate’s biggest yearly festivities, and Corine’s birthday party. I have seen very few hours of daylight this weekend and I’m suffering the consequences right now. Get ready for a long post! Continue reading

Sin carne y sin pescado, por favor

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Hazaa and hurray, today a miracle has come my way! There you have it, the lamest opening sentence of any blog post that has ever been written. Why? I have been told that there are two vegetarian shops in Mondragón and after almost a month of no meat substitutes, I must say I’m very, very pleased! Continue reading

(A little bit) More of the same?

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I’ve thought about some ways to start this blog without having you all thinking that we don’t do anything else but partying and shopping, but alas, I have to be honest: we went to Vitoria-Gasteiz again yesterday! Together with Corine and Tiina – two other Erasmus students – Niké and I went on a typical girly shoe hunt, which we completed successfully. Continue reading

A (short) Mondragon break

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Today we met up with our laguna’s in Mondragon (Oihana, Eneko and Irati). They’re fellow students who guide as around the region. We went to the local Irish Pub (truly every city’s got one!) and got to know each other. Continue reading

First impressions of the Basque Country (part 2)

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First impressions, the sequel!

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