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¡Bienvenidos!

¡Bienvenidos a LITA!

I hope everyone in the LITA circle of students, families, colleagues and friends had a wonderful summer of 2018 and a fulfilling fall season. It has certainly been a busy but rewarding year for us!

I have spent a lot of time recently reflecting back on the impact of certain experiences that I have had in my life; certain choices that I have made over the years, that at the time may have seemed insignificant, but ultimately reshaped the course of my professional and personal life. We all have moments that we can look back on and consider to be seminal or “crossroads” experiences. For me, the one experience that most drastically changed my life was the opportunity that I had to do a homestay in a small town in Castilla y León after my 10th grade year in high school. I was not a particularly passionate Spanish student prior to that summer. I was nervous about going. I doubted that my Spanish was strong enough, and I was scared. A few weeks before I was supposed to leave for Spain that summer, I remember cautiously approaching my parents, nearly in tears from nerves, hoping to convince them to allow me to stay home in New Jersey and get a job rather than go to Spain. After a stern conversation in which my parents stressed the value of following through on a commitment that I had made, I ultimately conceded. I can’t imagine what my life would be like today had I not gone to Spain that summer. It was truly a transformational experience. Every subsequent major decision I have made in my life since then was in some way connected to the experience I had that summer. I never would have gone to Middlebury to major in Spanish. I never would have met my wife, Kate. I never would have lived in Spain for so many years after college. I likely would not have lived in Vermont. And LITA would certainly not exist. Thinking about these kinds of moments can definitely be an existential black hole, but it is remarkable sometimes to reflect back on the lasting impacts of our life’s choices.

That first experience in Spain after 10th grade continues to inspire me year after year as we design the LITA experience for each student. I recognize that for many of our students this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are so many amazing summer programs out there, and some other fantastic ones in Spain of course, so I am humbled that our students choose to travel with us. LITA has the potential to transform lives, foster new academic passions, and cultivate lifelong relationships. These possibilities are what guide us all year long as we prepare for each LITA summer. I hope I never lose sight of that.

As we typically do each fall, we are happy to be sending out an annual newsletter with updates about LITA and interesting stories to share from the summer, both from our perspective, as well as that of some of our students and group leaders. The students we had this past summer were truly amazing. I continue to marvel at how our students navigate these completely immersive experiences with determination and energy. Our programs are always more rural focused with the primary goal of having students in areas more removed from larger cities and the English-speaking hubs in Spain. I think this is one of the elements that makes LITA a unique program, but it does mean that our students need to bring a tenacious spirit and a curious nature to their experience. Along with a complete commitment to speaking Spanish every waking moment of each day, our students also embrace the challenges of adapting to life in smaller communities and engaging and learning from cultural differences in meaningful ways. Recently, one of our veteran leaders told me that even on the flight home after the program all of the students were still speaking Spanish to each other on the plane! I so love our students! A big thank you to all of our students for bringing such an amazing commitment to learning to all of our programs.

The homestay portion of a LITA program continues to be the focal point of each student’s experience. As many of you know, we rarely repeat host families from one year to another. We put a tremendous amount of effort and care into vetting and working with new families each year. The life-long friendships that form between our students and their familias is what makes these experiences so special. This summer, during the homestay, our students participated in some very unique internships and projects. We had a student working in the mayor’s office, several students in bakeries and pastry shops, and others working with photographers, journalists, camps for young children, churrerías and many small businesses in the host communities. Some of our students' cultural projects focused on topics ranging from multi-generational roles of women in their host community to soccer and traditional music of the pueblos of Castilla y León. All of this with the support of a fantastic set of group leaders. This summer was a big success and we thank everyone that helped make it so.

As we close out summer 2018 and begin preparations for summer 2019, we look forward to continuing to keep in touch with alumni and friends across the country. We hope to see many of you as we travel this fall and winter to connect with families and colleagues about LITA (some of you we already have!). As many of you know, we are a small program, and as much as we would love to be able to visit every area of the country each year, ultimately this is impossible. We hope that this newsletter may serve as a welcome update, but we do certainly look forward to seeing many of you in person this year as we visit schools!

Again, we promise not to inundate your email inbox with newsletters more than once or twice a year. Please let us know if you would prefer to not receive these updates and we will gladly accommodate that and respect your privacy. Thank you again for your continued support. It means so much to us.

Jordan Romm, Director, LITA

News

¡Bienvenidos a LITA!I hope everyone in the LITA circle of students, families, colleagues and friends had a wonderful summer of 2018 and a fulfilling fall season. It has certainly been a busy but rewarding year for us!I have spent a lot of time...
After a few hours drive to a small town of around 18,000, I was prepared for my homestay experience. Having spent a week in northern Spain, I had accustomed myself to the northern Castilian accent in which they pronounced every letter, and I felt...
It is day 7, and the LITA bus is parked outside the Eroski grocery store. We are waiting for the signal from Jordan that all the families are assembled and ready to receive their new American sons and daughters. All twelve students are dealing with...
Please find our program dates for Summer 2019 below. Departure and arrival airport is JFK. To apply for a LITA program, please visit our Apply page:North Group 1: June 17th - July 23rd, 2019           ...