Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Overview of Exchange

Bedford High School school students from Bedford, New Hampshire recently spent two weeks in Valladolid and Núñez de Arce High School participating in a sister school exchange with their Spanish host students and families.  This is the second part of the exchange, the first being the visit of the Spanish students to New Hampshire in the fall of 2104.  After getting to know their Spanish student in the United States first, it was much easier for the American students to feel comfortable traveling to Spain and to stay with the Spanish host family.  Many of the students embraced as soon as their saw their host student after such a long time apart.  These students had quickly become friends in the fall and it was easy to see the bonds that they had created.  

During the ten day visit to Valladolid, the students felt like they barely slept since they had so much to see and do during the school day and that level of activity did not slow down when they went home with their families.  Students went on a walking tour of the city, saw inside the Casa Consistorial, visited the Oriental and Sculpture Museums, a look inside the Casa de Zorrilla, a full day excursion to Salamanca and more.  On the day off and the weekend, the host families brought the students on various local excursions including Toledo, Segovia and Burgos.    

In Madrid, the students continued their rapid pace of sightseeing which included a three hour walking tour of the city, a Real Madrid vs Almería game, a tour of Bernabeu Stadium, a visit to the Prado, a flamenco class and the favorite of the students, a cooking class where they learned to make tortilla de patata.  The students enjoyed being able to walk through the city and especially liked all of the shopping opportunities.  We took some time to sample churros con chocolate as well.    

Some of the students who participated in the exchange had glowing remarks about their time in Valladolid and in Madrid.  One of their favorite part of the exchange were the extremely caring and generous families who made them feel at home immediately.  All of the students wanted to make the most of the experience by trying new foods, practicing their Spanish as much as possible and forming strong friendships with their host students.  They students had some comments about their exchange:     

The exchange was awesome in more ways than I could have ever anticipated. I don't think I will ever forget about my Spanish host family. I learned things from this trip not just about language, but about the meaning of human,” said Mike Brown about participating in the exchange.

For me the exchange was all I could have asked for and more. Because we already knew the students it was easy to jump right in and there was no awkward time in the beginning. I feel as though I have made friends for life and can't wait to visit them in the future. Although Spanish was hard sometimes I learned how to work through it and it bettered my Spanish and helped me grow as a person too. This was definitely the best experience of my life!” commented Hannah Clarke.

“Best experience of my life (so far). Unforgettable,” said Zack Graham about his experience.

Weekends with families

After spending one more day in classes and a short visit to the Casa Zorrilla, the students are ready for a fun and relaxing weekend with their host families. Many of the families have plans to bring their American student on an excursion in the nearby vicinity.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Classes and excursions

Starting on Monday our students spent time in classes with their host students. They followed their host student's schedule and attended whatever classes there host students had including history, English, math, science, etc.  in the afternoon we took a tour of the city including the University in church is around the town center. We also were able to go to the Town Hall where they explained the differences in government and showed us the rooms were they made all of the decisions.

On Wednesday we had a whole day excursion to Salamanca where we were guided through the various sites of the city including the very famous University and Cathedral. Our students were able to buy cookies from cloistered nuns.

Thursday is a regional holiday and there's no school. Many of the host families are taking students to local towns to visit the sites places such as Segovia Medina de Campo, Burgos, etc. 

After a couple of days in Spain our students are doing a wonderful job learning Spanish trying new foods and spending time with your families. Most of them have headaches from all of the Spanish that they're speaking in their homes and at school.

Heading to Spain

We met our group of 17 wonderful student in Logan airport at 2:30 pm for a 5:30 pm flight and they were all ready to get going and head to Spain. We had a quick 6+ hour flight, but most of the students were unable to sleep, partly because of the excitement and partly because it wasn't that late yet.

After arriving in Madrid we took a 2.5 hour bus ride to Valladolid where the families we waiting for us outside of the school. Our students were both nervous to meet the new host or reunite with the student they had hosted in the fall. After lots of hugs, they all headed to their homes with the Spanish families. Many parents prepared delicious lunches (the main meal of the day) for their students such as paella, cocido or tortilla de patata as a special welcome for the students.