Embrace the exchange experience, says Royston Schools Academy Trust

PUBLISHED: 08:48 04 June 2019

RSAT students on their Spanish exchange trip. Picture: RSAT

RSAT students on their Spanish exchange trip. Picture: RSAT

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The Royston Schools Academy Trust has urged fellow schools to embrace exchange programmes, following a successful trip to their Spanish twin town.

RSAT - which governs Roysia, Greneway, Meridian schools - has established an exchange programme with IES Las Encinas, one of the local state schools in Royston's Spanish twin town, Villanueva de la Cañada.

Sheila Ball & Gerardo Zarate, from RSAT's Spanish department, said: "We would like to urge all schools to embrace the exchange programme. Yes there are many risks, safeguarding considerations, variables that cannot necessarily be controlled, however, the benefits far outweigh the risks. And these risks can be managed where trusting relationships and sound communications have been established between the two parties."

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"Having made a preliminary visit last August, English and Spanish teachers agreed objectives, students to be involved and dates for the first year. By December, all 17 students between the ages of 13 and 15 years were matched up and were able to contact each other as well as their families. This enabled relationships between families to be forged before March when we hosted our Spanish partners. This was crucial in developing confidence for all those involved.

"The week we have just spent in Spain is testament to that. The fears and anxieties mixed with nervous excitement we witnessed at the outset, were replaced by bittersweet tears of happiness to be returning home yet sadness to be leaving their adopted families and newly found friends at the end.

"As our trailblazers wrote their diaries, en español of course, a gradual realisation emerged amongst the group: they really had improved their Spanish! Year 9 student Hannah said: "It is difficult trying to learn a language during just lesson times so an experience like this can be life changing."

Zach, a Year 10 student, said: "My Spanish speaking and listening skills have far improved and this would have never happened if I had stayed in England. Therefore, I believe that an exchange programme is a fantastic opportunity to expand your vocabulary in Spanish."

And fellow Year 10s Poppy and Emily said: "We made a lot of new friends from other countries but also from our own school. The exchange programme is a great opportunity and everyone should get the chance to experience it."

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