A group of Senior School students (Y10 – Y13) had the fantastic opportunity to spend a week in Seville, staying with families close to the historic Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter in medieval times, thus experiencing not only the vibrant capital city of Andalusia but also one of the most ancient cities in Spain.
Accompanied by their teachers, they were participating in a custom-made programme organised by the Centro Mundolengua (https://www.centromundolengua.com/) with three full mornings of lessons followed by visits and activities in the afternoons to engage with local people as much as possible. These included a visit to a nearby secondary school, interviewing people in the street as well as tasting typical specialties such as the Easter torrijas and discovering the main monuments of the city.
Furthermore, as the visit coincided with Semana Santa or Holy Week, pupils were able to see some of the typically Spanish Easter street processions and celebrations of the many cofradias or religious guilds of Seville.
At the weekend, there were two full-day excursions to Córdoba and Cádiz. In Córdoba students firstly visited the Calahorra Tower, the former fortified gate tower, which now houses the Museo Vivo de Al-Andaluz. This fascinating museum vividly depicts how life was in the city around the 10th Century AD when three religions and cultures, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, all coexisted peacefully together. This provided a useful context for the visit to the landmark Mezquita-cathedral, (mosque-cathedral) one of Andalusia’s most beautiful monuments from the Moorish era. The visit to Cádiz proved equally fascinating with visits to the Museo de Cádiz, the watchtower, Torre Tavira, now with its famous camara obscura, originally used in the 18th century to identify trading ships entering its flourishing port.
Indeed, both the region as well as Seville itself proved to be a great place to stay and learn both from a linguistic and cultural point of view. Head of Modern Languages, Mrs. Kathryn Higham, said: ‘I was delighted that pupils were able to experience Spanish family life, to boost to their understanding and use of Spanish, to visit so many of the historical and cultural sights as well as discovering first-hand the traditions and customs of Semana Santa.’