Following a highly successful visit from our partner school IES Miguel Servet in Zaragoza in February of this year, it was our Year 9 pupils’ turn to make their way to Spain from the 9th to 16th May.  Enthused to practise everything they have learnt in the last few years as well as experience Spanish culture first-hand, the group were joined by two Lower Sixth A Level Spanish students who were equally keen to improve their language speaking skills.

The week started with a big shock for pupils and staff alike… trip leader Mr Sustek had unfortunately sustained an injury which made it impossible for him to join in the fun! Luckily, the wonderful Miss Mugridge stepped in immediately and, with the assistance of our Spanish Language Assistant, Miss Cornejo, the exchange was able to proceed!

The group’s arrival was anticipated with excitement by their partner pupils in Zaragoza.  Whilst it is always a little easier being on the second leg of an exchange once all the pupils have previously met, living on your own with a host family in a foreign country remains daunting!  All our pupils managed brilliantly and returned home with plenty of new and amusing experiences to share with their families and friends.

The pupils’ busy timetable ensured they spent valuable time in the classroom with their Spanish exchange partners, but were also able to make the most of their free time to explore and experience the culture as fully as possible.   This included a tour of Zaragoza, lots of ice-cream-eating (and ordering – in Spanish of course!), visiting the Origami Museum in Zaragoza and rowing down the river Ebro. The weekend was spent with pupils’ individual host families who organised a stimulating and varied programme for everyone. Of course the week would not have been complete without learning how to dance the “Jota”, a traditional Spanish dance involving plenty of energetic clapping of castanets!

Our language exchange programmes offer a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to truly experience an authentic way of life in another country. This is reflected in what pupils say during and after the trip:

Charlie Campbell-Barnard (Year 9): “I really enjoyed being able to go to a new country to see what it is like somewhere completely different to Warminster. It was really interesting being able to see how they live and eat.”

Naomi Watson (Year 9): “I learnt how to be more resourceful – when we couldn't understand each other’s words we found other ways to communicate.”

Next year, our Spanish and French exchange programmes will be joined by an eagerly awaited German collaboration…watch this space!

Barbara Mitterrutzner, Housemistress Stratton House, German & EAL Teacher