To honor Paula’s more than 25 years of service with AIFS in Granada, and her return to the States, we held an AIFS Granada Alumni Reception on Saturday August 4th. With laughter, tears, speeches, food and dancing, we can safely say it was a success!
From our most recent alumni, to this fabulous group of alumni from 1995, it was a great mix of former students! Tanya (far left) lived with (now) Barcelona Resident Director Inma Arenas, and shared stories about her time abroad and the close bond she formed with Inma, her then host sister. Inma visited with Tanya and her family before the event, her third time there after visiting for Tanya’s wedding and the birth of her first child!
One of our favorite things to see were the photo albums! So many students brought their photo albums, scrap books and other fun mementos from their time abroad. Instagram is all well and good, but there’s nothing like flipping through a photo album with your study abroad friends.
Director of Alumni Relations Angela Manginelli worked tirelessly to put together this wonderful event. From getting the word out to alumni, to pulling together music, photos, quotes and stories from Granada alumni, to planning the delicious menu, it was the perfect tribute. Brava!
One of our favorite moments was when Granada ’98 alumna Hope Looney presented Paula with a homemade photo cake. Using her own photos, she stayed late at the bakery she owns, JCakes in North Branford, Connecticut, to make this beautiful and delicious treat.
In keeping with the day’s theme, the menu of course was inspired by Spain. Even though Paula offered to cook, the Sheraton Hotel did a wonderful job whipping up some Spanish treats for us, including paella, gazpacho, tapas and flan.
As the formal program began, staff and alumni spoke about their experiences working with Paula, and their time spent abroad in Granada, and how much of an impact she has had. Inma Arenas, current Director of AIFS Barcelona, started out assisting Paula and the program in Granada, and she shared a little bit of why Paula is so special:
First impressions last a lifetime. When I met you, I was immediately struck by your warm personality, your strength, and your commitment. Thanks to your guidance, I now run my own program in Barcelona. You are the reason AIFS in Granada is so successful. You are a mentor, a sister, a true friend, and a person I strive to be like every day.
And then, Inma had Paula come up and demonstrate how she teaches the students a traditional Spanish dance.
And the tears quickly turned to laughter.
All in all, the staff from our Connecticut office had an amazing time meeting and hearing from alumni, and spending time with Paula and Inma.
Program Adviser Angela reunited with Inma, her Resident Director when she studied abroad in Barcelona with AIFS! All of our Resident Directors are truly special, and play a huge part in making AIFS programs the quality programs that they are.
And last but not least, congratulations to Jared and Shelby! They were dating in college, studied abroad in Granada together in the spring of 2014, and got engaged the week before the Alumni Reception in New York City. ¡Felicidades!
Thank you to everyone for coming! We were thrilled to honor Paula and connect with so many of our wonderful alumni. Are you an AIFS alum? Check out the Alumni section of our website to see resources available to you, update your information with us, and find out how you can stay involved. And stay tuned for more alumni events! Which program should we do next…