We have been running a highly successful Spanish Exchange for 15 years. Year 10 students from Litherland High School visit their partners during February half-term for ten days. During our stay we spend time in their school, the Ikastola, learning about their education system. We visit the historic town of Guernica and the tour of the Peace Museum is one of the highlights of the trip. We also visit the city of Bilbao, taking in the impressive Guggenheim museum and a bit of shopping! My favourite day is the visit to San Sebastián, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The first night of the Exchange is always daunting and the look of trepidation on our students’ faces always tugs at my heartstrings, but the tears that they inevitably shed when saying goodbye, or “agur” (in Basque!) are proof of the profound effect that the experience has on our students. The Spanish students visit us in July for two weeks. They take part in cultural excursions as well as working with our students in all years to improve their Spanish and their cultural knowledge of Spain. Participation in this Exchange has been a life changing opportunity for some students, who have then been motivated to go on to study languages at university. For all students who have taken part over the years it has enabled them to experience first-hand family life in another language, something which they will never forget.
In March this year, I was lucky enough to go on our school’s annual Spanish Exchange to Elgoibar in the Basque country in the north of Spain. We went for ten days and the trip was unforgettable.
Whilst in Elgoibar we visited a museum of the Basque language; it was fascinating to learn about how their original language has evolved. We also visited the city of Bilbao, and saw the breath-taking Guggenheim museum. I often spent time with my Basque partner and her friends which I enjoyed, and the day that we left Elgoibar to come home was very emotional.
The Exchange not only improved my knowledge and understanding of the Spanish language, but also was a great opportunity to improve my communication and social skills. I gained friends whilst over in Elgoibar that I am still in contact with now and I am excited to welcome them to Liverpool in the coming days. It was extremely interesting to experience a different culture and I am very grateful to my Basque family for housing me whilst I was over there.
I believe that the Spanish Exchange hugely benefitted me when sitting my GCSE Spanish exams in May and it was a pleasure to be a part of.
Lillie Harwood 10KB