St. Paul’s eighth grade students recently completed their annual two and a half week trip to Spain through a partnership with our sister school, Colegio Alarcón. This rewarding and immersive experience lets students discover Spanish culture, practice the language, and create special memories with their peers.
In between classes at the exchange school, students visited Madrid landmarks like Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace. Other trip highlights included visits to Granda, Alhambra, and famous author Miguel de Cervantes' childhood home. There was also plenty of time to sample local cuisine and browse shops with host family and friends.
While visiting historic sites and exploring a new country was a wonderful experience, one of the most valuable parts of this trip was the time students spent with their host families and in Spanish classrooms. All of their school lessons were entirely in Spanish, St. Paul’s students helped teach Colegio Alarcón preschoolers, they ate traditional Spanish meals in host family homes, and made some lifelong friends along the way.
“Every day, I was fully immersed in the Spanish culture, whether that was eating the food, seeing their customs, or hearing the language, every second was different. The language was a challenge at first but got better with time... In Spain, they talk fast, but as the trip went on, I started seeing Spanish as a puzzle, and I was putting together more of the pieces.” – 8th Grade Student, Anna T.
"Spain was one of the best experiences of my entire life, not only because it let me visit a new culture and let me meet some of the sweetest people, but also because it showed me that I could do scary things.” – 8th Grade student, Luella M.
A special shout-out goes to the dedicated St. Paul’s Spanish teachers, Mr. Ward and Ms. Lafalce, who traveled with the students and helped make it a special experience.
In the spring, St. Paul’s families will host students from Colegio Alarcón for their half of the immersive exchange program. The St. Paul’s community is so proud of the school’s unique, robust, and immersive Spanish program, and we hope to continue offering this rewarding and worthwhile trip to students year after year.