EDISON — Eight Wardlaw-Hartridge School students spent their spring break in Spain and enjoyed a full cultural experience from March 10-23. The students lived with host families, used the native language and attended classes at Altair School in Madrid.
Micaela Lyons of Plainfield, Marie Vlad of Colonia, Ernest Afflu of Edison, Vanessa Santana of Iselin, Aditya Dalal of Scotch Plains, Zubin Mulji of Edison, Shareef Ibraheem of Piscataway and Shafeeq Ibraheem of Piscataway spent almost two weeks living and learning in Spain. The students from Madrid will visit Wardlaw-Hartridge School from April 2-15.
Senora Yolanda Reyes of South Plainfield, Upper School Spanish teacher and Language Department Chair, chaperoned the trip for the fourth time. She was joined this time by her son, 2003 Wardlaw-Hartridge graduate Jim DuPont.
“My students were there to practice their Spanish and the immersion in the language was great for them,” Reyes said. “I’m very happy that they were willing to try things and very open to new experiences. The enthusiasm this group had was so nice. They were all very positive. It was a wonderful trip.”
The Wardlaw-Hartridge students followed the schedule of the students in Madrid. School began at 8 a.m. and they attended classes with their new friends. They also visited the royal palace, took a high speed train from Madrid to Cordoba, went to Toledo and learned how to dance the flamenco and merengue.
“This year’s Spain trip was a life-changing experience,” Dalal said. “Arriving there not knowing what to expect, I tried as many activities and foods possible to become more familiar with the Spanish culture.”
The students also tried many different types of Spanish cuisine, played soccer and visited museums and other historic sites. They also observed the tradition of the siesta, a two-hour break in daily Spanish life.
“Staying with a Spanish family for two weeks and speaking Spanish constantly, day and night, was one of the best ways for me to learn and take my Spanish to a different level. Interestingly, I even started thinking in Spanish,” Dalal said. “Overall, I had an unforgettable experience in Spain, and hope to get another opportunity like this in the future.”
“The trip enriched their cultural knowledge and historical knowledge,” Reyes said. “They were fascinated by the buildings and they were able to make sense of what they’re learning here. They loved the fact that they lived in a city. It was a great learning experience they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
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