Global Studies teacher Dan Murray chaperoned seven Spanish II and III students to Barcelona, Spain during spring break, on our annual exchange with students and families from our sister school, Collegi Sant Luis. Prep students were partnered with a Spanish student and lived with their families for the two weeks that they were in Barcelona. In past years, the Barcelona students came to Santa Fe for a reciprocal exchange, but due to the economic crisis in Spain, families could not afford the trip to the States this year.
Language immersion was a big part of the trip, as well as having students engage in the local community. Students followed the day-to-day routine of their Barcelona partner. This included walking to school every day, going to soccer practices after school, and having family meals at the typical time of 8:00 pm-9:30 pm. Food was also a significant part of the cultural experience: students had traditional Catalan cuisine such as calçots, Spanish tortillas, and, of course, paella. They also had not-so-traditional food such as McFlurrys at McDonalds.
During the week, students attended school in the morning then ventured around the stunning city and surrounding areas of Barcelona. Days were spent taking in the marvels of the architecture of the city as well as discovering the rich history of Barcelona and the Catalonian region. The Romans were the first to formally settle in Barcelona, and the old city still has excellent displays of Roman architecture. Museums displayed wonderful works of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque art. Multiple modernist works could also be seen throughout the city, including cubism and surrealism. The most famous (and outrageous) contemporary and ground-breaking artist who made Barcelona his home was Salvador Dali. The students visited the Dali Museum in the nearby town of Figueres. Barcelona’s most famous architect was Antoni Gaudi and the students visited many of his buildings, including La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell.
Weekends were spent doing everyday teenage things such as shopping and hanging out as well as some not-so-usual things, like attending a Barça soccer match, traveling to nearby towns, and going to an amusement park.
The trip was a wonderful combination of cultural and social experiences. Freshman Drake Merians shares, “The Barcelona exchange was truly an unbelievable trip! Whether the amazing friendships that I made, the caring family that fostered me, or watching FC Barcelona play, it was an experience of a lifetime.” Students returned home informed and happily exhausted.