Woodstock students will have the same chance to immerse themselves in another culture in the spring.
Fifteen students and two teachers from Teruel, Spain visited Woodstock as part of an exchange through Woodstock District 200’s dual-language program, which allows students to learn another language and effectively communicate with people from different cultures. The trip was a first-time experience for many students.
“It’s like another world,” said student Ines Lanza, 14. “It’s really different. It’s cool. It’s not as difficult as I thought it would be.”
The district’s two-way immersion courses typically have half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers. The lessons – from social studies to reading to math – are taught in both English and Spanish. More than 2,300 students from kindergarten to high school are enrolled in the program in the 2016 school year, according to the district.
Foreign exchange programs offer students the ability to not only practice second languages, but experience immersion into a different culture. Even the little things like visiting corn mazes and bowling alleys are an opportunity to gain a new experience and learn about American culture, said Teruel teacher Nuria Lanza.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for some of them,” she said. “Because many won’t be back.”
School culture is different as well, in America, said Teruel teacher Charo Gimeno.
“The kids were amazed at how many instruments there were in the school building,” she said. “In Spain, if you want to learn an instrument, you have to attend lessons [outside school]”
Other differences are schedules and meal-times, said student Paula Galindo, 13.
‘We have less classes, but they are longer,” she said. “And in Spain, we go home for lunch.”
Woodstock students will have the opportunity to travel to Teruel in the spring and will stay with some host families that sent their own kids to Woodstock.