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Spanish Exchange - Return Visit 2015

Spanish Exchange Dec 2015 04 thbs

The return visit of the Languages Department’s Spanish exchange to Northampton took place over the last seven days. Northampton School for Boys played host to one of its several international partners as 21 students and two teachers from Colegio Santa Rosa, Zaragoza visited us to complete this year’s Spanish Exchange. The report from our visit to Zaragoza of this year can be seen here: Click Here

The students spent the day with their partners experiencing a taste of UK school life on Monday and helping in two GCSE Spanish classes as boys prepared for their final GCSE speaking examinations which also took place last week. The boys took full advantage of the presence of the Spanish students to practise and the atmosphere was excellent and collaborative. The Spanish students were impressed by our facilities and one of the Spanish teachers, who is a P.E. specialist, had the chance to watch some lessons here with the P.E. team (many tanks to Mr Bryant, Mr Elder, Mr Burton and Mr Wilcock) and to observe our teams playing in National Cup games.

During the other days cultural visits, linguistic tasks and social activities were arranged for students including an evening bowling with our boys and the Spanish mixing their teams and speaking together both in English and Spanish all evening. This was followed by a day trip to Oxford with a walking tour, visits to the Ashmolean Museum and the Oxford Colleges and free time for shopping. Unfortunately, due to a traffic incident there was somewhat of a delay in the return from Oxford but all was resolved. I thank the parents for their patience here! You have been very flexible all week!

Students also did an orienteering quiz around Northampton, a visit and boat trip in Stoke Bruerne with lunch in a traditional English pub, had shopping time in Milton Keynes and finally visited London in an optional joint trip on the Friday, along with Mr Kilcoyne, Mr Deserces and Mr Paton-Rodriguez. Despite rather blustery grey weather, we were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit in London and visited Westminster Abbey, where many of the Spanish students discussed UK history both with me and their partners. I was impressed as two Year 11 students discussed Lewis Carroll in Spanish with their partners as we visited the ‘Poets’ Corner’ area of the Abbey. Several boys were able to talk about the poets they had studied in English as well, which impressed me.

Walking past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben we then went to the Cabinet War Rooms and after a brief lunch break in St. James’ Park, we went across to Horseguards Parade back to the river. The students were able to see many of London’s iconic sites. We then braved the iron-grey river in the somewhat frosty drizzle to take a boat trip from where we could see Shakespeare’s Globe and the Southbank, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the new buildings of the Shard, the Gherkin and the Walkie-Talkie, along with St. Paul’s, MI5 and other London landmarks. The Spanish and English students spent the day interacting in both languages very well and almost always in mixed groups. 

To round the day off the students enjoyed free time and dinner having walked to Trafalgar Square and were able to shop for souvenirs in Covent Garden market. The Christmas lights were on as we walked around Covent Garden and down the Strand to meet the bus back to school.

The Spanish returned to Zaragoza after a rather early start on Sunday morning (again, thank you to parents) and the students were in high spirits as they saw each other off, having seemingly had an excellent week. Exchange visits are very helpful in allowing both sets of students to experience life in another culture and to interact with people from a range of backgrounds. They share experiences and build language and cultural awareness. Motivation is high to continue to study Spanish well amongst those who have taken part and they have had an experience they will always remember.

Many thanks to Mr Deserces for his help throughout the visit to Spain and in the UK, and to Mrs Dyer, Mrs O’Neill and Mrs Shaw for their help with the administration involved in setting up and running the trip.

R. Kilcoyne
Learning Coordinator for Languages