By Valerie Mangini and Laura Masson (Teachers of Spanish)
During the Easter holidays a group seven senior students from OAC travelled to Spain to take part in a 3 week study tour that took place in Salamanca, Madrid, Seville and Granada.
Students were engaged in 4 hours of intensive Spanish language study every weekday morning and 2 hours of programmed cultural activities every afternoon (with a Siesta in the middle!). The students stayed with homestay families which provided them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the daily life of Spain.
This tour was an initiative of the School of Languages that invited secondary students of Spanish studying throughout the state.
Merlene, Kaitlyn and Beth on the balcony of the Mayor's office in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca.
Beth, Merlene and Kayla share their experience:
Beth, Stage 2 Beginners Spanish:
"The 3 week study tour to Spain was an amazing adventure and I am so grateful that I was given this incredible opportunity to improve my Spanish with in-country experience! Everything was unbelievably amazing and I learnt so much, not only about the language but about the culture as well. Every place we visited was so different yet so beautiful but Seville was without a doubt my favourite city, the colours and the weather were so lovely. I can't wait to go back, hopefully!”
Merlene, Stage 2 Beginners Spanish:
"¡Hola! Last year Beth, Kaitlyn and I were offered the amazing opportunity to travel with the School of Languages to Spain for a 3 week study tour… and we couldn’t say “no”! Over the 3 weeks we visited Salamanca, Seville and Granada (we also spent one night in Madrid). Each place was very beautiful and it was amazing to see all of the old buildings that just aren’t found in Australia.
"We all definitely improved our Spanish as we were constantly immersed in the language. The accommodation was with a local host family (most who couldn’t speak English) so our skills were put to the test communicating on a day-to-day basis. Overall, the whole experience was one that we definitely won’t forget. It was also really nice to finally meet the people that I’ve been listening to in class for the past year and a bit."
Kayla, Year 10 Spanish:
"In the afternoons we attended cultural activities for up to three hours, doing things like traditional dancing, tours of the city, visiting museums and famous places such as ‘La Alhambra’, boat rides, movie nights and more. We travelled to Madrid for a night, visiting the Museum ‘Reina Sofia’, and spent a week in both Seville and Granada. Travelling through both the north and south of the country the differences in both accents and culture were easy to notice and added another element to the cultural and linguistic experience.
"At the beginning I was struggling to tell my homestay mother what I wanted for dinner. By the end of only the first week my Spanish conversational skills had already improved hugely and by the end of the trip I had a long debate with my homestay mother on religion and philosophy.
"Not only did the trip provide a massive leap in my language ability and passion for Spanish, it changed me as a person. Having the incredible experience I did with the people I had it with, was a priceless endeavour that changed not only my feelings toward studying Spanish, but my world view and the things I find important. I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the opportunity."
This has been undoubtedly a hugely valuable experience for the students. We congratulate them for being fantastic ambassadors for their schools and Australia!