Review: Spanish Exchange

“Pulpo”, “Mejillones” and “Percebes” these are just some of the new words now familiar to a group of intrepid Upper Sixth pupils who swapped Marlborough for north-west Spain as part of an exciting exchange programme.

The Pre-U Spanish pupils spent a week improving their language skills by staying with families in the stunning region of Galicia and attending class at Colegio Manuel Peleteiro, a high-achieving school in the historic city of Santiago de Compostela.

Whilst there, the group experienced total immersion in the Galician culture, speaking Spanish all day and participating in a host of cultural activities.

Preshutian Kit Edgcumbe-Rendle, 18, who was on the exchange, said: “Going to Santiago not only helped my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture significantly, but it also made me love the country even more because of the warm hospitality of everyone I met out there.”

During the week pupils attended classes at the 1,400 pupil school to experience what day-to-day life is like for their Spanish exchange partners.

They also enjoyed cultural visits to local sites of interest including Santiago’s cathedral, end point to the famous pilgrimage trail the “Camino de Santiago”, “La Torre de Hercules”, the oldest lighthouse in the world in nearby La Coruna, and the natural baths of Ourense.

Not only that, they attended Latin dance lessons, sampled delicacy “chocolate con churros” and had a go at playing the “Pandereta”, a tambourine which features strongly in traditional folk music.

And with Galicia self-proclaimed home to the finest seafood in the world, pupils did not hold back from sampling local delicacies. These included “pulpo” (octopus), “mejillones” (mussels) and “percebes” (a type of barnacle which is harvested at great risk along the region’s coast).

Spanish teacher Mr Lane, who led the trip, said: “Pupils who came on the trip will have gained a huge amount from spending a week immersed in Galician culture.

“Not only has their confidence in speaking the language gone through the roof, but they have learnt lots about the Spanish way of life and made connections with people which they will remember for ever.”

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