UPDATE: There will be an informational meeting in the Nipmuc PDC on Tuesday, 11/7 at 7:00 pm for anyone interested in learning more about the exchange program for Fall 2018.
During the 2nd week of September, I was lucky enough to travel with Mrs. Moran, Dr. Maruszczak, and Katie Cardamone, as well as two students, Abi Murphy and Kate Nadolski, to San Sebastián, Spain. This trip was spurred by the efforts of Mrs. Cardamone and her teaching assistant, Amaia Soroa, who is from Donostia (the word for the Basque Country) in euskera, the Basque language. Through weekly Skype sessions with an English teacher, Oskar Perales Rodriquez, at the Santa Teresa school there, Mrs. Cardamone’s students developed a relationship with the students in San Sebastián. After much discussion and planning, the idea for an exchange program developed and our exploratory team made their way to Spain to check things out in person.
It was an amazing experience for all of us involved and we are so excited at the prospect of beginning an exchange program for high school students next fall. Everyone in the Santa Teresa community was extremely enthusiastic and welcoming, opening the doors to their homes, classrooms and their city (we even got a meet and greet with the mayor in their historic town hall!) San Sebastián has been named the European Cultural Capital of 2016, boasting beautiful architecture, delicious food, diverse geography and a rich history and language. Our students will benefit from the opportunity to practice their Spanish skills, but also appreciate the importance of bilingualism in Basque culture.
There is still a lot of work left to be done, but we are off to a good start. Both communities are dedicated to and excited about the exchange program and I look forward to being a part of the process over the coming year. Click here to see a slide show of a few pictures from our trip!