In the first week of the October half term, a group of eleven Sixth Formers studying Spanish set off for Salamanca – a small university town near Madrid – for a week of cultural and linguistic immersion.
The trip was designed for the pupils to boost their language skills in a local context whilst also allowing them to explore the incredible heritage of an historic town.
Each day started with a few hours of Spanish lessons in Salamanca’s language school. Lower Sixth Form pupils were launched head-first into complex grammatical structures that they will not encounter at school for another year, while Upper Sixth Form pupils were given the opportunity to help their classmates and consolidate the basics. Grammar lessons were followed by cultural sessions covering art and literature as well as current events.
In the afternoons, pupils visited some of the many sites of interest in Salamanca, including the Cathedral of Salamanca, the ancient university building, and the stunning Casa Lis, which is now an Art-Deco museum. Significant literary landmarks included the Garden of Calisto and Melibea, which was the inspiration for Fernando de Rojas’ Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, the statue of Fray Luis de León, and the famous Bull statue that was pivotal to the plot of the famous Lazarillo de Tormes.
Leisure activities offered opportunities to experience Spanish daily life, such as cinema trips, a paella-cooking lesson, and dinners at local restaurants.
As well as intensive language study, the trip provided a golden opportunity to explore inspiring mediaeval architecture, learn about Spanish history from the days of the Spanish Empire to the Civil War, and encounter new literary influences, not to mention all the riches of day-to-day life in Spain, from its cuisine to its well-earned siestas.