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St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Spanish Exchange in Santiago de Compostela

In the first week of half term, a group of aspiring Spanish speakers from St Helen’s and Abingdon School embarked on a voyage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Despite the air of anxiety that settled on the plane, our arrival at Manuel Peleterio school quickly replaced all our nerves with excitement of what was to come.

After our first night settling in with our new families, we visited the iconic Catedral de Santiago situated right in the heart of the city. Although being slightly tired from following (part) of pilgrim’s footsteps in a 6km walk to the cathedral, we were all excited to get to know the town better. Our Spanish skills were tested in a treasure hunt, with prizes awarded to the team who managed to find their way around best, and those who used their linguistic skills most efficiently. And what seemed most daunting to us all quickly became everybody’s favourite part of the week, as we all spent quality time with our exchange partners over the weekend getting to know them, their families and the places they held close to their hearts.

The day trips of the next week ranged from a very educational and interesting (but rather wet) day in A Coruña, visiting the beach, aquarium and interactive science museum to the environmentally conscious Sotavento Wind Farm where we learned all about the different ways of sustainable living. We were also lucky enough to accompany our exchange partners to class and observe the way in which they are taught and what they learn, along with a fascinating Galician folklore workshop which followed a Latin dance class which put our Strictly skills to the test!

Overall, we are all very grateful to have had this opportunity to learn the rich culture and improve our knowledge of the language of Spain, and to have made friendships (in both England and in Spain) that we hope will last for a long time. Now we cannot wait for our exchange partners to come to Oxford and hopefully give them a time as wonderful as we had in Spain!

Jyotsni, 11L and Caroline, 11J

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