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Spanish exchange: the opportunity of a lifetime

It’s springtime in Bedford, and that means many different things to many different people; whether it be the unwelcome addition of pollen in the air, spring sports season signups, or the mere increase in daily temperatures. But for every BHS student: it also means that intersession and April break is coming.

One intersession that continues to stand out from the rest due to its length and the memories created is the Exchange with a Sister School in Spain. In this intersession, students traveled to Valladolid, Spain, to stay with a Spanish high school student and follow them around for eight days. In these eight days, the students go to class together at the school, IES Nuñez de Arce, spend time with their host families, and go on day trips to nearby cities with other American students. There are a total of two day trips in the eight days spent in Valladolid; one to Salamanca, a charming college city, and another to historical Segovia. The stay in Valladolid ended Wednesday morning, as the American students boarded a bus to travel to Madrid and stay there for three days. Each day in Madrid was jam-packed with fun activities, including Palace tours, shopping, and visits to castles and cathedrals. On the last full day in Spain, the group enjoyed a day trip to Toledo, a beautiful, ancient city in the center of the country. Needless to say, when the time came, it was very hard to say goodbye to Spain and board a plane home.

With all the memorable experiences on this trip, it was difficult to pick just one favorite. However, the general consensus was that the small day trips to Salamanca, Segovia, and Toledo were popular among the students. Every aspect of these beautiful cities charmed the students. Junior Ally O’Neill found the city of Toledo to be especially amazing. “I love how all the cultures and religions came together, in the food, in the history, and architecture. The time in the city was so amazing to me and the fact that it was so old, kind of felt like we were going through time. And the fact that it was on a hill surrounded by rivers and Hills… Toledo was definitely a favorite for me.” “I really liked seeing all the architecture”, Junior Sam Claussen agrees.

The food was also a huge part of everyone’s stay in Spain. Nearly every meal, the students tried something they weren’t used to, and it was almost always delicious. Bocadillos (Spanish ham sandwiches), Tortilla de patata (Spanish potato omelettes) and paella (a traditional rice dish) were all huge hits. But living with a host family not only meant exposure to a whole new culture and their food; it also meant exposure to their friends and the people they spend time with. American students have the opportunity to form friendships with Spanish students their host student was friends with. The bonds made within these two weeks grew so strong that not even a 3,000 mile distance could break it. In the words of Junior Emma Jane Tagliaferro, the best parts of this trip were “hanging out with everyone and eating good food.”
Unfortunately, this intersession will not be returning to BHS next year; but fear not, it will be back for the 2019-2020 school year. Anyone who experienced this wonderful trip will highly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity; not only does it open you up to new cultures, it gives you the potential to create friendships that last a lifetime.


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