¡Hala Madrid! Nos fuimos a Madrid


Twenty students from grade 7 traveled to Madrid, Spain, for an exchange program with Lighthouse American School. At this IB school, our students attended Spanish lessons tailored for them and normal lessons with their peers from Lighthouse American School.

By Karin Oyarzo, Spanish Teacher. Hala: Meaning in Spanish Let’s go or go, to express encouragement or support, also the chant from football club Real Madrid.

On our first day, our students were immediately invited to a football match “España vs. Holanda”, which we, unfortunately lost, but the connection with the LAS student was instant. Our students became members of this community and made friends with students from primary and secondary!

Which things were the most surprising?

For many of our students this was their first time in Madrid, and they enjoyed every minute of it. They immediately bonded and shared their enthusiasm for discovering more of the Spanish culture and history. Many things they were familiar with through their Spanish lessons at ISU but now they were able to experience them firsthand.

'I have learned a lot from this trip and also had to get used to a lot of things when we first arrived. For example, dinner time, this was very different because people there normally eat dinner around 9:00-10:30 pm. And in the Netherlands, we eat around 18:00-19:00'. - Michelle

They were really impressed with the things they saw and tried in Madrid. We even went to a Flamenco show, a Spanish type of music, that combines dancing, guitar playing and singing. The performers impressed our students so much that they danced all their way back to the hotel on the metro and train!

'The activities I liked the most were the flamenco show, the tour in the Madrid centre, the time we spent at school and the tour of the Santiago Bernábeu (Real Madrid stadium).' - Robin

Highlights of the trip

After school, on our first day, we were invited by a LAS family to their home, to enjoy Spanish food. Our host family had all kind of typical dishes from Spain prepared from us, from all regions of the country. Our students played games, danced and shared a good time with their new LAS friends.

On the second day, we were invited to a tour of the city guided by Mr Blake, one the of the LAS teachers, who took us to see ancient ruins of the city, the royal palace, and the Plaza Mayor, the main square, where we tried delicious typical snacks from Madrid (bocadillo de calamares). After that we went to the Santiago Bernábeu stadium and enjoyed learning more about the football club Real Madrid and their victories and trophies.We closed the day with a tapas dinner, at the famous tapas restaurant José Luis.

'If someone asks me which of the places we visited I enjoyed the most, I would reply that it was when we went to eat tapas. No doubt how delicious those tapas were, really taste delicious.' - Donatto

On the last day, we visited one of Picasso’s most famous paintings “Guernica” and our students learn about Spanish art and what the Picasso’s painting represents.

An unforgettable experience

‘The experience while the trip in Madrid was memorable. I have made many memories that will stay with me for a long time.’ - Itamar

‘Overall, the exchange program to Madrid was very positive. We learnt many things and had a lot of fun.’ -Nazar

‘I will never forget this trip, it has brought on new friendships, new traditions, and a new perspective. I was lucky enough to get a chance to go to Madrid and experience their culture, and I hope that everyone found it as delightful as I did.’ - Mrinal

‘I really enjoyed this trip and hope to have a similar opportunity like this one someday in the future.’ -Ignacio

‘Madrid was one of the best experiences of my life, I enjoyed the activities and plans that the teachers and the host school organised for us.’ - Matilde