Spanish Exchange 2017-2018

Torrelavega

The College sets great store on establishing close working relationships with our European partners and is committed to offering all students of modern foreign languages the opportunity of spending time in the country of their chosen language(s) prior to the AS and A2 exams.

The benefits of such a visit cannot be overemphasised and participants undoubtedly find the experience very rewarding. In addition to the obvious linguistic aspect, students gain an invaluable insight into Spanish life and culture through close contact with a Spanish family. Students also have an excellent opportunity to carry out effective research for their coursework projects.

Torrelavega is a medium sized town located in Cantabria in the north of Spain, half an hour from Santander and is ideal for this type of visit. We have been fortunate in finding a similar institution which also believes in the importance of strong exchange links. The ‘IES Manuel Gutierrez Aragon’ is a 14-18 college with a similar number of students to our own college. The group travels by plane from Manchester to Bilbao and takes a coach to Torrelavega to be picked up by the host families. Students attend a range of lessons at the ‘instituto’ They also attend local Primary Schools where they have the opportunity to assist the Spanish teachers.

The Spanish students come to England at the end January/beginning of February, with students who go to Torrelavega naturally being expected to host a Spanish student in return.

OSFC’s 21st Spanish Exchange to Torrelavega took place from 10th November to 17th November this year – and was another huge success, it has had a positive impact on the students’ language skills and it has helped them learn more about the Spanish culture and traditions.

Staying with Spanish families during the visit, the students all used Spanish to get by, and got an invaluable insight into Spanish life. The students from OSFC enjoyed a couple of days work experience in local primary schools CEIP Portus Blendius, CEIP Dobra and CEIP Pintor Escudero Espronceda. They also attended classes at the instituto Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, our partner college in Torrelavega. After attending classes at the instituto on Monday 13th, the Mayor of Torrelavega Jose M. Cruz Viadero gave students a warm welcome to the city and the students had the chance to have a conversation with him in Spanish regarding his role as Mayor of Torrelavega.

The students enjoyed their time in the attractive area of Cantabria particularly the day trip to Santander with our partner school.  They watched the play Timeline by an amateur A Level student group from Madrid, visited King Alfonso’s XIII and his family´s summer palace and enjoyed the recently inaugurated contemporary art museum Centro Botín.

Before taking off, the students also had the chance to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Athlético de Madrid’s football stadium, San Mamés, and the local shopping centre.

El intercambio – quotes from the students

A2 student Anika Rahman said, ‘Taking part in this exchange has been an amazing experience where I met wonderful, lovely and very friendly people; I visited different towns and cities such as Suances, Santillana del Mar, Comillas, Santander and Bilbao. I enjoyed sight-seeing in the rural parts of Cantabria, but also the more modern ones. The architecture of the buildings fascinated me too.

Living with a Spanish family made me learn more about the Spanish culture, traditions and food. I had a fantastic time with them. Going in an exchange is a unique experience and which I am glad I took part, and I can’t wait for my exchange partner to come here.’

A2 student Aisha Omo Ikerodah said, ‘what I enjoyed about the exchange was living with the family because they made me feel like I was a member of the family and I got the chance to experience Spanish culture first hand.’

AS student Louisa Davidson said, ‘the exchange was a great experience, it has helped me learn more of the vocab and helped me with pronunciation.’

Gemma Curto, OSFC Tutor for Spanish, said, It has been a very good experience for the OSFC students. They really appreciated the warm welcome by the families, the instituto and the primary schools. They have learned a lot from them, and their confidence and fluency grew as the trip developed. It will definitely help them toward their preparation for the exams. The students have also enjoyed bonding with Spanish students and learning about Spanish lifestyle, the idea is to continue these friendships longer. I hope the students remember this experience for life and we look forward to seeing them in Oldham at the start of next year.’