Spain language immersion trip ‘amazing,’ ‘challenging’ experience


Photo credit: Celeste Ramirez

Aniyah Shirehjini ’21, Leslie Ignacio ’21, Audrey Irvine ’21, Kaiya Jefferson ’21 and Addison Lee ’21 visit the Museo de León. Fourteen students and two faculty members journeyed to Spain for a language immersion trip over spring break.

While students and teachers typically use their spring break to spend time with their families or relax at home, 14 upper school students and two faculty members traveled to Spain for an 11-day language immersion program in which they practiced their language skills and learned about Spanish culture.  

“I wanted to test my skills out in the real world because we always learn a lot about Spain, their customs and history,” junior Celeste Ramirez said. “Being there was intimidating, but it did test me and allow me to go outside of my comfort zone. I wanted that challenge.”

Throughout their time in Spain, the group visited Galicia, Castilla, León and Madrid. According to Ramirez, each day was “full,” of activities and each new place had something to offer. In Simancas, a small town in Northern Spain, the students visited a museum inside one of the local’s homes. Here, the students learned about European music from a local man and visited his bodega. 

“[While in the bodega,] he pulled out his guitar and we all started singing these songs that he had printouts of. It was dark but candle-lit,” Ramirez said. “We were all singing, and some people were even crying, and I think that was a really special moment for all of us.”

While the students embarked on the journey to gain language skills and learn about Spanish culture, chaperone and math teacher Julian Rojas wanted to find a way to “connect with students outside of the classroom.”

“I wanted to see what the relationships were between my culture, being Mexican, and seeing how the culture is different in Spain,” Rojas said. “I also know that some of the students that come to this school have a very similar culture, so I wanted to see how we could find ways to relate to one another.”

Rojas commented on the growth he saw in the student’s language skills.

“By the end of the trip, I noticed that, by them being forced to interact with the locals, they felt more comfortable speaking Spanish,” Rojas said. “Seeing that growth was one of the most amazing things about the trip.”

Although the trip was shorter than most language immersion trips, the students felt “fully immersed” during their two weeks.

“Going into the trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I loved it. I was really immersed in the culture,” sophomore Eva Dembo said. “Overall, it was a really amazing experience.”