Archivo de la categoría: English posts

“What is bertsolaritza?”, a documentary that introduces the world to ‘el bertsolarismo’.


“What is bertsolaritza” is the title of this English audiovisual documentary of only 20 minutes, with subtitles in Basque, Spanish and French. It sheds some light on the popular tradition of improvised singing in the Basque Country.

The documentary, which premiered on December 4th in DONOSTIA (San Sebastián), shows the creative process that goes on in the minds of the performers in a “clear and attractive way” with the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao as its background. Both the intergenerational aspect (the new ‘bertsolaris’) and the contribution of women are two key elements that help us to fully understand the success of this peculiar cultural tradition in the Basque Country.

Bideoan, konfigurazio ikurrean sakatuz azpitituloen hizkuntza aukera dezakezu / Haz klik en “configuración” y elige el idioma de los subtítulos.

What is bertsolaritza?, un documental para dar a conocer al mundo el bertsolarismo.

“What is Bertsolaritza?” es el título de este audiovisual de 20 minutos realizado en ingles, con subtítulos en euskera, castellano y francés, que trata de dar a conocer al mundo la disciplina de canto improvisado que se practica en el País Vasco.

El documental, presentado el 4 de diciembre en DONOSTIA (San Sebastian). muestra el proceso creativo de los bertsolaris de forma “clara y atractiva” con el Museo Guggenheim de Bilbao como telón de fondo. El relevo intergeneracional ( los y las nuevas bertsolaris) y la aportación de las mujeres son dos elementos claves para entender el éxito de esta manifestación cultural en el Pais Vasco.



The Santa Claus of the Low Countries.


I know that the 6th of December is an important holiday in Spain, but for me the 6th of December will always be the holiday of Sinterklaas (Saint-Nicholas in English). Sinterklaas is a holiday specifically for little kids and is celebrated in both Belgium and the Netherlands. On this day Sinterklaas brings presents for all the kids that have been good the past year.  

The figure of Sinterklaas is often compared to Santa Claus because they share many similarities: they both bring presents for kids, enter through the chimney and they also look very alike. Both are dressed in red and have a long white beard. It is even said that the popular Christmas icon Santa Claus originates from our Sinterklaas as Dutch colonists brought this tradition to North America with them.

Sinterklaas is celebrated on the 6th of December because that is the official name day of Saint-Nicholas, the patron saint of children. That is why the holiday is all about the children: they are given presents and as much candy as they like. Although he is officially celebrated on December 6th, his arrival in Belgium in the middle of November is also a very big event. Every year he arrives by steamboat in Antwerp where thousands of children eagerly await him. We believe that Sinterklaas travels by steamboat from Spain to Belgium. His Spanish roots can be explained by the fact that Sinterklaas hands out mandarins on December 6th, a fruit that is grown in Spain. After his arrival, he parades through the city on his horse so he can greet all the children who sing traditional Sinterklaas songs for him. His loyal horse is called “Slecht Weer Vandaag” in Dutch (which translates to “Bad Weather Today”).

Obviously the burden of bringing presents for the children doesn’t fall completely on the shoulders of the old Sinterklaas. He is always helped by Black Pete (‘Zwarte Piet’ in Dutch). He is called Black Pete because his face looks black from all the soot from the chimney. During the big arrival in Antwerp he throws candy into the crowd.

If you want to receive presents from Sinterklaas, it is very important to write him a letter in which you say that you have been good and ask for some presents. On the eve of December 6th you put this letter into your shoe and you put this shoe in front of the fireplace so that Sinterklaas and Black Pete can easily find it when they enter through the chimney. We usually also leave a glass of water for Sinterklaas and some carrots for his horse.

So the 6th of December is a big event every year in Belgium and specifically in my city Antwerp since that’s where Sinterklaas arrives. As a kid, I always really looked forward to this holiday because it felt like a mini-Christmas before actual Christmas.

By Nele De Doncker (English conversation assistant)

Meet Nele, the new English language assistant .


Hello! My name is Nele and I am twenty-one years old. All my life I have lived in Antwerp, in the North of Belgium, but now I live in Bilbao. At home in Belgium I speak a variety of Dutch, called Flemish, and in the South of my country people speak French. The Basque Country and Belgium are very similar in the fact that both are bilingual, have bad weather and good food (the pintxos are heavenly!). Belgium is mostly known for its great beer, delicious chocolate and Belgian fries. So hopefully I will quickly feel at home here! At university, I studied Spanish and English and I also went abroad for a semester to Seville, in the South of Spain. I’m curious to see what the North of Spain has to offer! I will be at Gandasegi School until the end of May to teach English and art. I am really looking forward to an amazing year at this school and to many great experiences in the Basque Country!

See you around!

Nele, hizkuntza laguntzaile berria.

Kaixo!! Nire izena Nele da eta hogeita bat urte ditut. Betidanik Anberes-en bizi izan naiz, Belgikako iparraldean, baina orain Bilbon bizi naiz. Nire etxean, Belgikan, flandeseraz egiten dugu berba. Flandriera  nederlanderaren dialektoa bat da. Belgikako hegoaldean, ordea, frantsesez hitz egiten da. Euskal Herria eta Belgika oso antzekoak dira: biak elebidunak dira, eguraldi txarra eta oso janari ona dute …(pintxoak zoragarriak dira!). Belgika gehien bat famatua da bere garagardogatik, txokolategatik  eta patata frijitu goxoengatik. Beraz, espero dut laster etxean bezala sentituko naizela hemen!! Unibertsitatean gaztelania eta Ingelesa ikasi nuen. Iaz, sei hilabetez, Sevillan izan nintzen gaztelania ikasten. Irrikitan nago Euskal Herria eta Espainiako iparraldea ezagutzeko. Gandasegin maiatzaren amaierarte izango naiz Ingelesa eta plastika irakasteko. Benetan gogo izugarria daukat eskolan zein Euskal Herrian esperientzia ederrak bizitzeko!!

Laster arte!

Goodbye Gandasegi!


Hello everyone! Wednesday, May 30th is officially my last day at school. I want to thank all of you for such an incredible year!

I had so much fun working with the 4th, 5th, and 6th level classes from October to May. I am very happy to have been here and get to know you all!

Gandasegi could not have been more welcoming and I truly enjoyed every moment here, whether I was helping in the Art classes, or in the English classes. I had so much fun this year and I hope all of you did too!

I am very sad to be leaving and I hope that I can come visit. I will be returning to the United States after the end of Summer, but the Basque Country will always feel like home!

Thank you again for everything,


Chocolate Chip Cookies- An American Classic!


Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the Chocolate Chip cookie in the 1930’s in the United States. She was a chef who owned the Toll House Inn in the state of Massachusetts. Now, Chocolate Chip cookies are the most famous American cookie in the world! And Toll House has become the best brand of Chocolate Chip cookies in the nation. Here is my homemade recipe!

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20-25 minutes


  • 110 grams of butter (room temperature, no microwave)

  • 85 grams of white sugar

  • 75 grams of brown sugar

  • 1 egg (room temperature)

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

  • 200 grams of flour

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • Chocolate Chips



  1. Preheat the oven to 180º degrees.

  2. In a bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar at low speed.

  3. After it is mixed, add the egg and vanilla. Mix again.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

  5. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, mixing in-between.

  6. After it is mixed together, add the chocolate chips and use a spatula to combine.

  7. I took about ½ of a tablespoon and put it onto the baking sheet, this gave me about 25 medium sized cookies. You can make them as big or small as you like!

  8. Put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Theatre play in english in Torrezabal.


Last 14th of May we went to Torrezabal culture center to watch theatre play in English. On one hand, children from primary 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th watched the play called “The teeth, the Mouse and Monster” The main character in the play was Danny. Danny has a very bad toothache and his sister Susan, who is very determinated, is ready to help him in this skit, playing the “improvised dentist”. When the tooth is out, it has to be left under his pillow and  they wait for a little mouse to appear. Danny is very, very scared and he is also convinced that a big mounster called GRUFFALO! Lives in his room!


On the other hand, children from primary 4th, 5th and 6th watched “The time machine”. Herbert and Susan are the main characters in this story. They are inventors who have travelled the world in their plane and have invented “the time machine”. They surprisingly, manage to go back to Ancient Egypt. After that, they stop off in the Renaissance and arrive at the beautiful Italian city of Florence. There, they find the famous Leonardo da Vinci.

Finally, our inventors go to the future. This is how they end up travelling to the year 20373. They discover that in the future the planet Earth is wonderful! The men and women have incorporated into their daily life the three “R”: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

We enjoyed it a lot! It was really fantastic!


The Kentucky Derby .


The Kentucky Derby is a famous horse race that happens every year in the Spring time. This year, the race will be on May, 5th at 10:30 in the morning (4:30p.m. in Europe).

The race started in 1875 after a man named Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. visited the horse races in England and France. He was inspired to create a horse race in his home in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Now, it is the longest running horse race in the country and many people from all over the world attend.  Many people like to dress up and wear formal attire. Dresses, suits, and big hats are common.

The race is 2 kilometers and the horses usually finish around 2 minutes. The fastest horse was Secratariat, who won the race in 1973 with a time of 1:59.40. There is even a movie about this horse and the race.

To find more information, visit the official website:


St. Patrick’s Day in the Uniteed States.


On March 17, we celebrate St. Patrick´s Day! It is a tradition from Ireland about St. Patrick. Now, Americans celebrate by wearing the color green and celebrating with a parade.

There are many Irish immigrants in the United States, and it has become a big holiday to celebrate Irish culture as well.

The Shamrock is a famous symbol for St. Patrick’s Day. It is used in many celebrations. Normally it is called a clover. A four-leaf clover is very good luck!

We also have an unusual tradition of trying to capture a Leprechaun! A Leprechaun is a mythical creature that does mischievous things and has a pot of gold

In the United States the children make Leprechaun traps, to capture the creature and take his gold. Do you have any unusual traditions?

Additional information: St. Patrick’s day

Amanda’s Mom’s Famous Banana Bread.


In the United States it is very common to give gifts or food to greet somebody. Usually, a new neighbor has just arrived and it is nice to make them feel welcome. In my family, my mother would always make her famous Banana Bread. It´s a tradition that helps you get to know your neighbor and make them feel a part of the community. Plus, it´s delicious!

Would you like to make banana bread too? Here is the recipe!

  • 3 Ripe Bananas

  • 75g Butter (Melted)

  • 100g White Sugar

  • 185g Flour

  • 1 egg (beaten)

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla (liquid)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Salt (to your preference)

  • Extras: Chocolate Chips, Caramel, Nuts, Coconut, Nutella, etc.

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

  2. In a bowl, mash the bananas until smooth.

  3. Add the melted butter and mix together.

  4. Add sugar, flour, egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt and stir until smooth.

  5. Add your extra ingredients.

  6. Pour the mix into a greased pan. Top with more extras.

  7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.*

  8. Cool for 10-20 minutes.

*Oven times may vary, watch the bread until the outside is brown and then test with a toothpick.

American Food .


In the United States we have many different types of food. So many people immigrated to the U.S. that brought food from their cultures. Italian, Mexican, German, and Asian food are very popular in the U.S.

Mexican Tacos

But we also have a LOT of UNHEALTHY food in the United States. There are many different FAST FOOD stores that make things like Hamburgers, Sandwiches, French Fries, and Milkshakes.

McDonalds Fast Food

We call is FAST food, because you can easily drive around the store and order from your car. You don´t have to go inside to order.

But Americans don´t ALWAYS eat Fast Food, and many of us are very healthy eaters. We also cook at home and eat with our families. Just like you!