Spanish Exchange Students Say Adios to Milton After Exchange
by Kailee Silver on Friday, September 30th, 2016
From September 1st until September 29th, students from the Spanish Exchange joined us at Milton Academy. The exchange students were immersed in almost every aspect of the Milton culture: you probably saw them in your classes, hanging in the Stu, cheering at a soccer game, or even having fun at glow dance! While some students may acknowledge the exchange as simply having a lot of fast-talking Spanish speakers on campus, the exchange is an amazing experience for the both the visitors and the hosts.
Last spring, sophomore and junior students were accepted into the exchange program and filled out a sheet regarding their interests and personalities. From this questionnaire, each student was paired up with a compatible student from Madrid. In June, Milton students went to the El Pilar school and stayed with their host family. While there, they went to their counterpart’s classes, improved their Spanish, toured around the city and neighboring areas, and engaged in the Spanish culture.
When the students from Madrid came here this September, the roles of host and visitor were reversed. Like the Milton students’ time in Spain, the Spanish students shadow their counterparts at school, through classes and extracurriculars, and tour the Boston area. Experiencing Boston and other areas in New England, the students visited Harvard Square, Salem, Plymouth, Newport, and even went whale watching. According to Alex Paul (II), the exchange was “totally different” for each student. Alex lives in a small town and has her brother drive her to school, whereas her exchange student lives in the middle of Madrid where people take the metro and walk to classes. Exchange students matched with Milton boarders live with a day student’s family, a situation which changes the dynamic.
In my interview with Javi, a junior from Madrid, I was told that Milton is a lot different than his school back at home. He explained that Milton is far bigger than El Pilar in terms of campus size and students; our campus has a student center while his does not. His school also has limited athletic options when compared to Milton: only basketball and soccer, not tennis or football. In Madrid, students stay in one classroom for the most of the day whereas at Milton we move across the street and into and out of buildings for classes. El Pilar has individual tables for each student while Milton has harkness tables. Clearly, living in a different country, thousands of miles away from home, is going to be a different experience for everyone — that’s what the exchange is all about!
Everyone involved in the exchange got something out of it. Alex went “out of [her] comfort zone” and learned how to make the best of different situations. She even learned what it’s like to live in the city, something she would not have known, as she lives in a rural area. Beatrice Ojuri (II) experienced a brand new city and types of classes. While in America, Javi learned a “lot of American history” and how to use the US dollar. All students greatly improved their respective Spanish or English speaking skills.
The Spanish Exchange is full of new experiences, new friends, and new opportunities for learning. In addition to the French exchange and the Belize trip, the Spanish exchange allows students to go out in the world, meet new people, and experience the world in a way that they haven’t before. Ask anyone involved in the Spanish exchange, and they will tell you that it was an eye-opening and unforgettable experience.
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