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Spanish Exchange Trip

Deer Park pupils travel to Cádiz in Andalucia

Mr Scarrott, Languages Teacher, writes...

The return leg of our Spanish Exchange trip took place 18-25 April 2023, some (Mr Scarrott) would say with greater success than ever before! 20 pupils, 2 members of staff and everyone's luggage travelled to Spain and back.

Having met our Spanish counterparts in September 2022 on the initial leg of the exchange when they came to Cirencester, everyone was excited at the prospect of meeting up again, even though we would arrive in Cádiz at 02:30 in the morning. Bleary-eyed but bushy-tailed we were greeted by some equally drowsy families, all overjoyed with our choice of arrival time.

colegio argantonioHaving had a lie-in on our first day, we were welcomed at Colegio Argantonio with presentations that the Spanish students had made on all things ‘gaditano’, that is all things related to Cádiz. In the afternoon, we were treated to a churros feast! There was an order for 5kg of churros, but even the hungriest amongst us couldn’t quite manage it all!

On Thursday, we started our day finding out about Flamenco and trying to work off the previous day's churros, with some of us having a few more to work off than others! It was an interesting lesson and far more interesting was realising that we as Brits do not share too close a relationship with grace or rhythm! After flamenco, we had a more historical day, climbing the stairs of the Torre Tavira, an 85m tower which, despite repeated requests, will not be installing a lift any time soon. The climb was to visit the ‘camara oscura’ (dark camera) which allows panoramic views of the Cádiz skyline and sights. This was followed by an archaeological visit to see the ruins left firstly by the Phoenicians (from Lebanon) and then the Romans.

spanish exchange cadiz

spanish exchange cadiz

Friday morning was the eagerly anticipated scavenger hunt, hotly contested by all teams involved. Unfortunately, due to a lack of any answers actually submitted, there were no winners and Mr Scarrott’s promise of ice creams for the winning team fortunately never materialised (and the moths in his wallet continue sleeping soundly). Fast forward to surfing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and all the group were involved, some with more success than others. After proving that stand up paddleboarding was really more of a challenge than an instruction, we headed to La Caleta beach for a group lunch of fried fish, paella, papas aliñás and croquetas, before spending our afternoon at the beach.

Over the weekend, our pupils were with their host families and treated to all sorts of activities, from a weekend away as a big group to dolphin spotting.

On Monday we visited Sevilla, the capital of Andalucia. The day started off with renting some boats on La Plaza de España, theoretically a 30-minute activity, until some pupils demonstrated that rowing is not a natural skill and managed to get stuck on a moat, or maybe a puddle? The rest of the day was spent admirably marching through Sevilla in 40-degree heat with constant water and sun cream stops, before reaching La Fería and seeing traditional flamenco dances.

spanish exchange cadiz

spanish exchange cadiz

On Tuesday 25 April we said our goodbyes and hopped on the plane, to be welcomed back by England’s chilly embrace, tired and already missing the beach we had come from. We returned to great fanfare in the Deer Park car park and prepared ourselves for school the next day. What a trip! Our thanks to staff, pupils and parents at both Cirencester Deer Park School and Colegio Argantonio for making this exchange such a memorable experience for our pupils.

For our Year 11s in particular, the week in Spain was a great opportunity to practise their speaking skills ahead of their GCSE Spanish Speaking exam at the start of May and for Year 9s it was the perfect chance to build on their vocabulary and confidence.

"In all honesty, I was nervous about the exchange (like anyone would be if a random stranger was coming to live in your house, let alone the language barrier), but now I can truthfully say that going to Cádiz was one of the best trips of my life. I've made lifelong friends and my conversational Spanish has improved greatly. Lastly, quick shout out to the absolute legend Mrs Pryor for making this trip possible, and the teachers in Cádiz. We had the most amazing time." Amber (Year 11)

"My experience of the Spanish exchange helped to give me a real insight into everyday life in Spain and also helped me to improve my language skills in time for my upcoming GCSE in Spanish. Not only did I have a great time, but I have also made a friend who already wants me to return to Cádiz!" Tabby (Year 11) 

Language exchange trips are all about making new friends, having fun, talking, listening, learning, practising your language skills and immersing yourself in another culture, all of which can help build confidence and expand your horizons. As the Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini said, “A different language is a different vision of life.”