Ever since the Spanish exchange students left in fall, the Spanish language students at Indiana Area Senior High School have been planning for their own exchange trip.
Senior Alexis Tshudy said, “I’d been counting down the days until Spain ever since my Spanish girl left!”
Students who are in Spanish III, IV, or V, and who are juniors or seniors, can go on the exchange trip. This year, the teacher chaperone was Spanish teacher Brian Henninger. Eight girls and one boy traveled to Spain as part of the Spanish exchange program.
This is normal, because for one reason or another, more girls go on the exchange than boys. The students departed for Spain at the beginning of April, at the end of spring break.
Indiana students who participated in the exchange this year were Tshudy, Karynn Davis, Caitlyn Paterson, Derek Stapleton, Hayley Stapleton, Helena Dadson, Molly Masterson, Krista Gibbon and Alexia Akbay.
Students traveled to the city of M￡laga, Spain, a large city with many schools. Because it is so big, most students were split up with their exchange brother or sister when they attended school.
Henninger stayed with a family whose father is an elementary English teacher. Because of this arrangement, Henniger spent his days at an elementary school instead of the high schools with his students.
Because most students were split up from their friends when they went to school, they were forced to speak Spanish quite often. As a result, students came back to the United States with much better Spanish-speaking skills.
For their Spanish classes, students were required to keep a journal (in Spanish) and interview two native speakers — one an elder, and one their own age.
During the exchange, students visited four major cities — Seville, Granada, Crdoba and Ronda. Depending on the weather, some of the students also were fortunate enough to have visited several beaches.
The students also got to experience a lot of Spanish culture, going out to restaurants, shopping and paying with Euros.
Some students liked to meet up with exchange students that have come to Indiana in previous years. They also had times where they toured the city on their own.
For the three weeks that they were there, the students, of course, had to go to school. Spanish schools are much different than American schools. For one, the teachers go from room to room instead of students going from room to room.
They are better English speakers than American students are Spanish speakers because they have been studying English since kindergarten.
The experience is once in a lifetime and shows the comparison between Spanish and American cultures. Senior Davis said, “I am so blessed to have an opportunity like this. I never expected to spend a month in Spain my senior year. Adios, Indiana. Hola, M￡laga!”
The Spanish teachers are looking for students who want to participate in the exchange program next year. Interested students can see either Henninger or Spanish teacher Dan Murphy for further information.
Reflecting on her experiences, Davis added, “The trip was utterly amazing, and as soon as I graduate college, I am going back!”