Spanish students gear up for Spain trip

“I’ve been to 20 countries between Europe, New Zealand, and North America,” senior Haven Witherspoon said. “Spain will be number 21.” For Witherspoon as well as 14 others, this year’s Spain trip will provide a unique opportunity for students to be immersed in a totally different atmosphere. Over the course of 10 days, students will live with a different family, speak Spanish regularly, and attend a new school. “The group will be staying in Segovia. They will be making excursions to Madrid, Toledo and San Lorenzo del Escorial,” Spanish 4 teacher Kay Billings said. “Students stay with host families for the duration of the trip. Many are hosted by the same students that they hosted last September, when the Spanish students were here.” As a result, the majority of the students going to Spain are looking forward to reuniting with their long-lost Spanish friends. “I hosted a girl named Fuen. We have been talking over Facebook, and I can’t wait to meet her family. I’m also excited to see their school and what their days are like,” senior Sarah Pinkerton said. “I remember Fuen finding everything here exciting, but we see it as normal. So it will be interesting see what her view of normal is.” Other students hope to improve their Spanish-speaking abilities over the course of the trip. “My Spanish is decent. I could easily live there and get around,” Witherspoon said, who went to Concordia Language Villages last summer to practice her Spanish. “But I would like to learn ‘street language’ and see how people talk informally, as well as improve my speaking fluency.” On the other hand, Pinkerton is slightly worried about the language adjustment. “My Spanish-speaking skills are alright, but I’m a little nervous that when we get there, I’ll forget how to speak,” Pinkerton said. “I’ll probably be made fun of, but that’s ok. It will be a great learning experience.” Because Ames High students will live with a Spanish student of their age, they will also have the chance to attend their student’s high school. “I’m excited to go to school with the Spain students,” Witherspoon said. “I like seeing other schools and how they are run.” The group is scheduled to leave on Monday, March 11 and return Thursday, March 21. Mrs. Dunkin and Mrs. Deam will chaperone the 15 students on the trip this year. “Not only is this an amazing and eye-opening cultural experience, but it is the optimal opportunity for students to apply and practice the skills which have been learned in the classroom,” Billings said. “The bond of friendship creates an international bridge and relationships that can last a lifetime.”