On Friday 1 February, in Albacete, after an early bus and plane journey, students from Stroud High School and Marling were meeting their exchange partners in person for the first time. Lots of them could speak English, but they still challenged us to speak Spanish so that we could learn more effectively.
During our stay there we all went on two major trips – one to Cuenca, a city in the mountains, and one to Valencia, near the South of Spain. In Cuenca we went to the science museum and planetarium, which taught us about space and how the earth was created, which was very interesting. In our free time we could go to a Spanish café or restaurant and order lunch, which improved our independence and helped us practise useful phrases. Valencia was very warm and sunny, and had amazing architecture. We first went to the interactive science museum, and then the Oceanogràfic, a huge aquarium with lots of different marine life to see, including dolphins and a baby beluga.
On days when we weren’t going on trips to other cities we were in Albacete doing fun activities or visiting some of their main attractions, like the bullring, where we were able to meet a bullfighter, and the Mercadillo de Los Invasores, a market with hundreds of stalls that have a wide variety of Spanish products. The weekend was family time, so lots of us got to go to other cities, whilst the rest would go to small villages, or just stay and have fun in Albacete. The last day was spent in school, which allowed us to get to know the teachers and students, and experience what a typical Spanish school day would be like. It was very enjoyable, as the teachers had planned lots of activities for us that were fun and taught us more about the country and language.
Overall, the Spanish Exchange was a fun and educational trip that really helped our understanding of Spanish culture and its language, and it is highly recommended for anyone taking Spanish GCSEs.