On Thursday 22 June 2017, 15 pupils and 3 teachers from our Spanish partner school Colegio Argantonio in Cádiz arrived in Cirencester via Malaga and Birmingham.
A week filled with new experiences - from a scavenger hunt to fish and chips, from experiencing lessons in an English school to making scones, from touring Oxford to nonstop cricket at school, from family time to our annual pizza evening - means that our Spanish and English young people have forged firm friendships across different cultures and languages.
Ms Wright, from our Languages Faculty who coordinates the exchange, commented on what an amazing week it had been and how polite and cheerful the Spanish pupils were, despite the fact that the UK heatwave ceased the moment they arrived! The English pupils had the advantage when playing cricket, as the Spanish had not played before, but by all accounts the Spanish got stuck in and some in particular literally gave our pupils a run for their money. Family time during the initial weekend included a variety of activities, from a day at Thorpe Park, football and icecream on Minchinhampton Common, shopping, crazy golf and street art in Bristol, a falconry display at Berkeley Castle and much more.
Our language exchange educational experience and opportunity encourages understanding and extends global partnerships. As well as our pupils making new friends from Cádiz, parents have also been connecting with and building friendships with the Spanish parents of our exchange students. On Friday 30 June we said adiós to our new Spanish friends as they got up extremely early to embark upon their return to Cádiz via Birmingham.
Pupils from both countries have enriched their cultural experiences and lovely partnerships have been forged. The Deer Park exchange pupils are looking forward to their return visit to this ancient port city in September and we have no doubt they will all continue with WhatsApp chat and other social media in the meantime!
"I loved the Spanish exchange. It was really interesting to see how they reacted to the differences between our two cultures. We compared music, TV programmes, meals and our school timetables. I can't wait to go to Spain and experience the culture that I've heard so much about." Olivia
"The Spanish exchange was a great cultural experience and I loved every minute of it, especially my partner and all the others as well. My favourite part was going to Oxford where we visited the universities and some excellent sweet shops!" Sam
"Our Spanish guest was lovely! My son and he got on extremely well and the house was filled with laughter and chatter in both Spanish and English, with a sprinkling of Google Translate!" Parent