On Thursday 23rd of March a group of 43 Year 10 and 12 set off for Valencia for our annual exchange. We arrived at our partner school just in time for lunch, and then spent the afternoon doing fun activities with different classes from reception to Year 11. We were soon made to feel at home and Ranelagh students proved up to the challenge of recognising different famous Spanish people, finding the ingredients for the local speciality, paella, as well as taking part in a very energetic game of volley ball.
Another early start on Friday saw us learning about the history of Valencia with our partners and then setting off for a guided tour of the town, in Spanish of course. We managed a little shopping time in the market and shops rounding off a busy day with a spot of dancing with our partners who laid on a fun evening’s entertainment for us that was much enjoyed by all. Some of us were already starting to feel right at home and we were all starting to realise it was going to be a packed and fun week.
The weekend dawned with perfect weather for our trip to the national park – the Albufera, a glorious mix of protected beach, woods, marshlands, rice fields and a vast lake. We visited with our partners and were guided through the various parts before having fun on the beach. We learned a lot about the history and wildlife of the Albufera. The boat trip was the most amazing experience and probably the highlight of our trip so far.
Our students spent Sunday with their host families, immersing themselves in the Spanish language and culture, and had plenty to tell us when we met up for another day in the sun. We spent a couple of hours touring the Bioparc, being told all about the animals in this zoo and getting up close and personal to a few of them. We particularly enjoyed seeing the lemurs and the African animals – we were surprised how much we could understand during our two hour tour. After all that work we spent the afternoon on the beach “helados ” a must! . We can’t believe it will be time to leave already tomorrow, though we still have lots to visit before our departure por la tarde……..
Our final day in Valencia saw temperatures of 26 degrees and a visit to the amazing science museum and aquarium, with its stunning architecture and wealth of exhibits. In what was a very long day we managed to pack in a bit of last minute shopping for souvenirs before heading back to our exchange school for some very fond farewells. So much did our partners seem loathe to see us go that some followed us to the airport for more tears and hugging. Some really firm friendships were made and promises to return.
We could not ask for a better welcome than that which we received and would like to thank our friends at Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Salud, Xirivella for all they did. Our students had some amazing experiences and benefitted in so many ways from their trip, improving their Spanish no end whilst learning so much about the Spanish way of life and the history of Valencia. It was a very tiring but memorable week and we can’t wait to do it all again next year! Gracias a todos!