Spanish Exchange 2015
Early one Sunday morning at the start of October, 20 students and two staff left for Zaragoza, a large Spanish city in the North of Spain in the region of Aragon. It is the fifth largest city in Spain, the birthplace of Goya and the furthest northern bastion of Moorish power in Spain in the 14th Century – the influence of which can still be seen today.
We were well received by the students of Colegio Santa Rosa and their families. The school and staff were very welcoming and helpful once again and we are reminded how lucky we are to have such an effective partnership. Exchanges are an excellent experience to work on personal and social skills, to build relationships across cultures, to develop language skills and to enhance our knowledge in a practical way. We hope to be able to continue to offer these trips.
For one largely warm and sunny week we attended lessons in the Spanish school in the mornings and took part in excellent cultural excursions in the afternoons. We visited a natural park, a medieval monastery, a former mosque converted into a cathedral from the Moorish period in Spain, a second cathedral (thought to be built on the site of one of the appearances of the Virgin Mary!), Roman ruins and amphitheatre, a Moorish and medieval palace with Arabic tiles, carvings, tapestries…
We were able to taste tapas, practise our Spanish in real life situations and experience life in another culture. We returned tired but motivated to continue our Spanish studies. Barring a delayed bag there were no casualties!
We look forward to welcoming our Spanish partners to Northampton in a month's time! We will visit London together and the Spanish students will take part in similar visits to those organised for our boys in Spain.
Below is a short review from Y9 NSB student Carlos Trotter who took part in the trip:
Zaragoza is a great place because it is so full of history, amazing places and things to see. When I went there we went to the Aljafería palace, and the Basilica named ‘El Pilar’. Being Catholic means that Zaragoza is full of holy places of worship. There are two enormous cathedrals as well as a monastery which we visited. The monastery is outside of Zaragoza and takes a bit of a drive but it is full of caves, waterfalls and lots and lots of steps! There is also a massive park named Parque Grande where there are lots of fountains. There are lots of places to visit which will keep you busy!
We enjoyed good weather for October so whilst it was a little cold in the morning it got very hot later in the day. I tried out a siesta as they have naps in the afternoon because of the intense heat. In the evenings it is still warm and the streets can be swarming with people and the Spanish people are very nice. The culture is open, warm and lively.
The food there is also very tasty but there can be unusual foods and drinks such as ‘gazpacho’ (tomato soup served cold as a drink). I also found that the Spanish eat a lot of food as they have lunch just after school because their schools finish at 2.30pm, however because of this they have large snacks mid-morning and a large, late dinner.
Overall Zaragoza is an amazing place and one of the best places to go if you need excitement!!!