After last year´s successful introduction of our link with the school ¨I.E.S Miguel Servet¨ in Zaragoza in Spain, we have continued our great relationship this year. Throughout the year, our pupils are lucky enough to practice their Spanish language skills via letters, emails or Skype with Spanish pupils. However, the highlight of our exchange programme is the visit to the other country.

After Zaragoza´s Year 9 pupils visited Warminster School in December, this year´s exchange programme went into round 2 last week, when a group of Year 9 pupils spent a week with their Spanish exchange partners and families. Excitement was growing on our way to the airport and everybody looked forward to seeing the friends that had been made in December.

We received a very warm welcome by all pupils and their families upon our late arrival on Thursday. Friday started with an introduction to the school and an hour of Spanish language games that our partner pupils had prepared for us. Thea Knight´s comment, 30 minutes into the morning was “I´ve got the feeling I´ve learnt so much new Spanish already!”  The rest of Friday was spent on a guided treasure hunt tour through the centre of Zaragoza to get to know the city, as well as to hear about its fascinating history.

The pupils spent the weekend with their families and Mr Sustek and I were delighted to hear all the activities that families had organised, including going to a theme park and on a day trip to the Pyrenees, trying squid salad, empanadas and a whole range of other Spanish food, visiting Zaragoza´s aquarium, shopping centres – and of course our pupils managed to do all this in Spanish (with a little help from their friends) which was amazing to hear!

After this exciting weekend and kayaking down the river Ebro on Monday, the pupils spent Tuesday and Wednesday in lessons with their Spanish partners. They did a great job at mingling with their Spanish peers and trying their best at participating in various subjects like Maths, Art, Design and Technology, French and Geography. In one session, we all learnt how to dance the “Jota”, a typical Spanish dance with “Castañetas”, and the “Sevillana”, that is typical for Andalusia – the pictures that we took (look out for them on the display boards in front of the MFL office) show how much fun this was! It is almost a tradition already that we have a taster session of typical British junk food: crisps in all sorts of strange flavours, chocolate, fudge, and of course… twiglets!

Along with our Year 9 pupils, we also took two Sixth Form pupils. They, too, were partnered up with Spanish pupils their age and joined them in their lessons all week. Whilst this might have felt quite challenging at first, they soon got used to having conversations in Spanish all day and it was invaluable to experience the Spanish lifestyle first hand.

As always, the week went too quickly and we were sad when it was time to say “Adiós” to our friends. This is what some of the pupils said about the experience:

Cora Throckmorton (Sixth Form): “I’ve been completely immersed in the Spanish culture and it’s been fantastic trying different dishes and conversing with Spaniards of all different ages.”

Ed Vickery (Year 9): “The amount of new words I have learnt is amazing. Living with a Spanish family was so interesting and fun, too. Every night we did something new and exciting.”

Lauren Melia (Year 9): “I have loved being here in Zaragoza. It has improved my Spanish speaking and I have become a lot more confident. I would 100% do it again!”

Miss Mitterrutzner