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In October, 20 of our IGCSE students took part in a study visit to Salamanca, a city in Northwest Spain and home to Spain’s oldest university. The city, whose old town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a famous hotspot for learners of Spanish, and our students certainly took advantage of all Salamanca offers to immerse themselves in Spanish life. Students’ speaking and listening skills really improved over the five days, with boys living with host families during their stay and attending Spanish lessons in the morning. 

There was plenty of time for cultural activities too, with students discovering the history of the city and its two cathedrals through a series of interactive tours. On the final day, where heavy rain meant that the walking tour of Madrid was called off, they even had time to visit the Reina Sofía museum to see and learn about Guernica, Picasso’s iconic anti-war painting of 1937.  

Students also had the chance to explore Spain’s gastronomy. Along with a traditional breakfast of chocolate con churros, the annual ‘tapas tour’ saw students sampling various local delicacies, and the evening ended with some excellent [and slightly less successful] attempts at drinking mosto – a pressed grape juice – from a “porrón”, a long-spouted glass jug designed to be poured from as far as possible above the head!  

Following a brief stop-off at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium, we headed back to Gatwick airport with a group of very tired but very happy students. Our lovely language teachers enjoyed seeing the students’ linguistic confidence improve, even during such a short stay.

 

Fourth Year Max Leadbitter said, “My stay in Salamanca was a thoroughly enjoyable experience throughout the four days. It was a fascinating city to explore, the people were all friendly, and I found it was a good challenge to experience a Spanish lifestyle. My hostess, Trini, was incredibly kind and warm, and she was also a great cook. One of my favourite moments was the tapas tour that we experienced. Not only did we get to try some local specialities, but it was also a great opportunity to go deeper into the heart of Salamanca. I felt that this trip was very helpful in improving my Spanish vocabulary and fluency, and now look forward to visit Spain on trips again in the future.” 

Fourth Year Finn Leadbitter agreed, “I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Salamanca, and the opportunity to learn lots of new Spanish words and culture. The city was unbelievable, and I was able to speak to lots of the people who lived there. Our host was amazing, she cooked up some great meals, and was very welcoming, making us all feel at home. Eating churros and exploring the centre of Salamanca was the best bit and being able to see everything the town had to offer. I feel really confident in all my Spanish and am able to have a good conversation with anyone. Climbing the cathedral gave an amazing view, and the tapas tour offered some great food. I will never forget my stay, so thank you for the opportunity.” 


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