Spanish Exchange 2019-2020
This year, as in the previous nine years, WGS participated in a Spanish Exchange with La Vall school based in the north-west of Barcelona. WGS participants were each paired up with a Year 12 pupil from the Spanish School and went there for a week in October and are expecting them back in Manchester at the end of March. The students stayed in their exchange partner’s home and during the day they went on excursions in Barcelona where they enjoyed the wonderful architecture and art scene the city offers. Here we have the account of Asha (WGS) and Valeria (La Vall) of their experience of the first leg:
My time in Spain was more helpful and enjoyable than I could have anticipated. My Spanish family were lovely. Not only did they not tire of my relentless questions, but they told me that they really enjoyed answering them. They made me feel at home and welcomed me into their family. I got to meet Valeria’s grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins – so I truly feel like part of the family now! Another amazing thing about the Exchange was the difference it made to my confidence and Spanish speaking abilities. The fact my Spanish ‘parents’ spoke little to no English meant that I was forced to speak Spanish the whole time and stopped me from being lazy and reverting to English. I have noticed a change in my accent and the Exchange has definitely helped me to be less afraid of making mistakes – because I made plenty on the Exchange! I also got to see different places in Barcelona, from a bird’s eye view of the city, to the beach at night and the Picasso Museum, it is a truly a beautiful city. I was fed very well and was able to sample traditional Catalonian and Venezuelan food – which was all delicious. I am still in contact with my Exchange partner, Valeria, and we are already making plans to see each other before she comes here in March. We were also blessed with sunshine for the trip, making it that much more enjoyable. I am very grateful to the teachers that organised it and accompanied us, the Withington girls who came were all so friendly, the girls from the Spanish school that helped me and spoke Spanish with me but most of all my Spanish family, who now truly feel like an extension of my own family.
El intercambio que realizamos en octubre fue sin duda uno de los mejores que hecho en mi vida. En él pude aprender muchas cosas y compartir una experiencia maravillosa con gente súper interesante. A pesar de ser tan pocos días, fuimos capaces de exprimir cada momento. Este intercambio nos permitió conocer sobre la cultura inglesa y sobre su gente, y tuvimos también la oportunidad de compartir con nuestras compañeras nuestra cultura española y costumbres. Mi compañera y yo pasamos un tiempo genial. Pudimos aprender la una de la otra mientras disfrutamos de cada día. El idioma no fue problema, ya que mi amiga Asha tenía muchas ganas de aprender y yo de ayudarla en todo lo que me fuese posible. Ahora solo falta completar la otra mitad del intercambio visitando a mi compañera en su casa. Esta primera mitad la concluyo con todas mis expectativas superadas, habiendo sido capaz de aprender sobre nuestras culturas, conociendo a otra gente, y finalmente haciendo una amistad con mi compañera que espero que perdure.
The Exchange we had in October with Withington Girls’ School was without a doubt one of the best ones I have done in my life. I was able to learn lots of things and share a marvellous experience with very interesting people. In spite of being so few days, we were able to maximise each moment. This exchange allowed us to get to know more about the English culture, its people and we also had the opportunity to share with our English peers our Spanish culture and customs. My partner and I had a fabulous time. We learnt from each other as we enjoyed each day together. The language was not a problem as my partner, Asha, had a great desire to learn and I to help in any which way I could. Now we still have the second leg of the Exchange to look forward to where I will visit my partner in her house in Manchester. This first leg of the Exchange, in my hometown of Barcelona, has excelled all my expectations having learnt even more about my own culture, getting to know other people from another country and finally starting a friendship with my English partner that I hope will last over time.