Spain pg 11 10-5-17

The Woodstock Academy welcomed guests from Badajoz, Spain, as part of a two-week homestay exchange. Courtesy photo.
WOODSTOCK — The Woodstock Academy hosted 18 students and two teachers from Badajoz, Spain for the first half of an exchange program between Bioclamático school and The Woodstock Academy. Academy students and their families welcomed the students from Badajoz as guests in their homes for the two-week exchange program. In the spring these same students from The Woodstock Academy will visit Spain to be the guests of their new friends in Badajoz.
The home-stay program provided the unique opportunity for students from Spain to experience every-day life in an American home. They were also able to experience life in an American high school by participating in classes and campus life at The Woodstock Academy with their hosts.
“We found students who had a lot of things in common and tried to place them together” said Justin Fox, Spanish teacher, and exchange co-coordinator. Jayne Collins, also a Spanish teacher at The Academy, initiated the exchange and co-coordinated with Fox. Fellow Spanish teacher Annamarie Thibodeau also helped prepare and host along with the entire World Language department at The Academy.
“One of the goals is to make students aware of other cultures, and to recognize that young people everywhere have things in common” said Collins.
Fox added that through the exchanged they hoped to “maximize conditions for language and cultural acquisition among WA students and our partner school in Spain.”
According to the student participants, it was a success. Woodstock Academy student and exchange participant
Amanda Nowak agreed that through the exchange she was able to “learn their culture and meet new friends.” Senior Eden Law added that the exchange gave her a “better understanding of different people.”
Both Nowak and Law are students in Honors Spanish Six, a class that allows Academy students to earn college
credit through UConn’s Early College Experience Program.
While the students from Badajoz were visiting the U.S. the focus was on allowing them to practice their English, but when Nowak, Law and the other Academy students visit Spain in the spring it will be their turn to practice Spanish.
All of The Woodstock Academy student hosts have taken Spanish Language classes at The Academy and many of them are members of the Spanish National Honor Society.
The students from Badajoz arrived just in time to experience fall in New England complete with a trip to Woodstock Orchards and an early Thanksgiving dinner. Students explored the local area with a tour of Roseland Cottage and a hiking trip to Wolf Den and Mashamoquet Brook State Park.
While in the United States, the Spanish visitors also traveled to Boston and Mystic Seaport and The Woodstock
Academy students accompanied them on a trip to New York City.
Collins said that the Spanish guests enjoyed the many excursions “but what they really liked was playing soccer together.”
Head of School Chris Sandford said “While sharing their lives with students from another country and culture, our students are actively investing in their families, school, community, and the world. That investment is a goal for all of our students and a key part of our mission at The Woodstock Academy.”
Before the students left, The Academy hosted a formal farewell gathering to celebrate the success of the exchange and to look forward to the second half of the exchange in the spring. The students returned to Spain on Wednesday, September 20.
When it came time for the students to say farewell there were many hugs and tears, but any sadness was eased knowing that they would see each other again in the spring.
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