Modern Languages: S3 DYW Careers Event

The first half of this term proved to be a very exciting time for the Modern Languages Department!

On 15th January, ten of our S3 pupils attended the SCILT/DYW Languages Business Brunch, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. There, pupils heard from professionals from a wide range of industries about how their language skills have played a key role in helping them to develop their careers and businesses. In order to share our impressions of this event more widely, the pupils who participated kindly allowed me to film their short debrief, which can be seen here: (“2019 SCILT DYW Business Brunch Video”).

In order to extend this experience to all of our S3 pupils, the Modern Languages Department organised a Languages and Careers Mini-Conference, which took place on 7th February. We invited six speakers from a range of industries to speak to our S3 cohort and pupils attended two workshops to hear more closely from our guest speakers.

Grateful thanks go to Flora Elliott-Johnson (Digital Communications and Content Manager with Radio Lingua for Coffee Break Spanish), Bruce Walker (Investment Fund Manager), Gerry Duffy (Logistics Coordinator with Hyster Yale Group), Hannah Burrow (Language Services, Translation and Interpreting), Sandra Pardoe (Walking Tours in Edinburgh) and Susana Grillo (Founder and Manager of Wee Scotia Tours). Without your input, this event would not have been possible. Thank you!

The main message was that languages should be a key additional skill to add to your portfolio of qualifications before you leave school – regardless of which industry you will work in, languages can open doors in terms of jobs. Moreover, knowing at least one other language really enriches your life, as our former pupils Alexander Nicolson and Flora Elliott-Johnson attest.

To round off our event and share our findings with even more people, our fantastic Careers Advisor, Mick Burns, captured pupil feedback from our own mini-conference. We hope that you enjoy this snapshot and encourage you all to continue your languages journey, no matter what age you are nor how good you think you might be. After all, it’s good to talk!

For more information on Careers, please visit the Careers site at:

Languages 2019 Report for school FINAL

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Languages and Future Careers

After the Christmas holidays, many of you will be deciding which subjects to take next session. While you are making this decision, have a look at what people are saying about how learning a Modern Language has shaped and advanced their careers, and how it has enriched their personal lives:

SCILT Job Profiles

Remember, you can take a language at any stage throughout your senior phase – ideally we would love to see all our pupils leave school with at least one qualification in a Modern Language. We know how much of a boost languages can bring to any area of industry and we want you to be able to benefit from that and stand out from the crowd when you are applying for jobs.

Come and speak to us if you want to explore this further, or check out the displays in our Modern Languages corridor!

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Spanish Exchange visit – October 2018

Spanish Exchange 2018

At 4.15 in the morning at Edinburgh airport, we were getting really excited about going to Badajoz. We all met inside the airport at the door next to the EDINBURGH sign, except Jack who was late as usual! He eventually turned up twenty minutes late and we got our boarding passes and headed to security. (Mia)

We arrived in Lisbon late morning and it was already beautifully hot and sunny. We then split into smaller groups to explore the city. My friends and I went for lunch and then to look around the shops. Afterwards, in the afternoon, we spent most of our time on the small beach area we found. From there, we had a stunning view of the bridge over the water and also of one of the city’s main squares, where we could sunbathe. Overall, we really enjoyed visiting Lisbon and it was a great way to start the trip. (Isobel)

The first night with our families was a bit awkward but it was interesting to find out where our partners lived. My family were very kind and welcoming but they didn’t speak much English. My partner had to translate for me at times. After I gave them their presents from Scotland, I went to bed and had a good night’s sleep. (Dylan)

On our first morning of the trip, we went to school for breakfast. We ate churros and chocolate which are typically Spanish although I had tasted them before. They were delicious and it was nice to speak with our Spanish partners. (Lauren)

On the first day, we stayed in Badajoz. We listened to three different tour guides and learned about the history of the city. We finished the tour with a video. It was very insightful. (Georgia)

On the second day in Spain, we visited the city of Mérida. We went to a museum full of Roman artefacts and then walked around the Roman theatre and amphitheatre. The school’s history teacher Juan Antonio explained to us what all of the historical sites were. It was very interesting. (Lucy)

Our trip to the city of Cáceres was amazing! We had lunch in the square next to the old part of the city. After that, we visited the old part of the city which was very interesting. I would recommend the trip to Cáceres to other people visiting Spain. (Jack)

The weekend was very eventful and so much fun. On the Friday, we went to a small pizzeria for dinner. It was very nice. On the Saturday during the day, some of us went to a pool party. It was amazing and the weather was so warm. On the Saturday night, we went to hang out in a park. It was very different to parks in Scotland and had an amazing view of the city of Badajoz. On the Sunday night, we went to an under-18s nightclub where we danced a lot and had a great time. (Brodie)

On the last day of our stay in Badajoz, we spent the day in their school E.I.S. Maestro Domingo Cáceres. One of the activities we did was Spanish dance. It is very much the same as Scottish country dancing. The music is similar and the dances contain movements like those of Scottish country dancing although you dance less with your partner and the pace is slightly slower. (Angus)

At the end of the last day in Badajoz, we all gathered at the park by the river. All together (Spanish and Scottish), we had dinner and had a last get-together before we returned to Scotland the following day. The last night was filled with photos, tears and a lot of laughs. Hugs and memories were shared between the close friends that we had made over the two weeks we had spent together. We hugged each other goodbye one by one and went home for the last night that we would spend at our Spanish friend’s houses. (Tanya)


The hardest part about the Spanish Exchange was saying goodbye to everyone. It had been an amazing week and we have made new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. There were lots of tears and emotional goodbyes when we eventually had to leave. It was a fantastic trip and I really recommend it to anyone taking Spanish. (Olivia)

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Study resources – including listening audio files

As you start to think about exam revision, please remember that there are a number of study materials available to you. The key ones include:
SQA past papers (and marking instructions)

Scholar (See your teacher if you have forgotten your password)

BBC Bitesize

And now, thanks to work carried out by Edinburgh City Council, I am happy to share with you more resources, including audio files, to help you:

N5 Language

Higher Language

OK guys….time to get started!

Miss R


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German private exchange – request

Looking to improve your German through a private exchange? Pupils from a German school in Bavaria have been in touch and would love to find Scottish pupils who would like to explore the possibility of a private exchange so that you can both improve your language skills.

Does this interest you? If so, please come to see Miss Ritchie for further details. Please note that private exchanges remain the full responsibility of the participants and are run beyond the auspices of the school.

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Spanish exchange – request for private exchange

 13th March 2018
Raquel, who will be aged 17 in June, has contacted the school as she would like to participate in an exchange with a Scottish pupil in order to improve her English. She likes listening  to music, trekking and walking, taking photos and talking. She would like to make contact with a partner in order to improve her language skills. There would be the possibility of visiting her for a week in Barcelona and of hosting her here in Scotland for a week. In order to make initial contact, please see Miss Ritchie. As always, please note that private exchanges are not the responsibility of the school – full responsibility for the exchange remains with the families themselves.
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Spanish Exchange 2017- Anna Lissaman

I count myself so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of such an amazing experience and what will possibly be one of the best trips of my life. Spending a week in sunny Spain, experiencing a totally new culture with an amazing group of people whilst meeting new people and learning some new Spanish phrases was unforgettable. Not only did we become closer to our Spanish partners but we also bonded as a group. It’s safe to say we had never been so tired in our lives but we wouldn’t change our trip one bit!! We were sad to say goodbye to all our new-found friends and say hello to rainy Scotland and school but would highly recommend to anyone given the chance to take part in future years. ¡Hasta luego Badajoz!

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Wednesday Lunchtime Languages Drop-In Sessions for 2017-18

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Spanish Exchange 2017: Part 1 – Welcome to North Berwick

I think choosing to be part of this year’s Spanish exchange was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m so lucky to have been able to be a part of this amazing experience. I made so many new friendships, learnt some new Spanish phrases and had the time of my life. My favourite part was playing football with everyone on the beach after the burrito night and as for my least favourite part, it was saying goodbye. It’s safe to say we are all excited to visit them all in Badajoz! – Anna Lissaman

“It was an amazing experience which I hope can happen again.” – Jodie McInnes

“I think that my favourite thing about the exchange was the burrito night because we ate a lot and I talked with almost everyone.” – Raquel Rodriguez

“My favourite part was making new friends” – Katie Spencer

“BEST experience of my life, met the most LOVELY people and AMAZING learning opportunity. So happy I was lucky enough to participate.”- Hannah Bartlett

“It was the best week of my life and I’m so glad I took the chance to do something so amazing.”- Rachel Gleeson


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Spanish exchange

p1030080The Spanish Exchange.

These three little words bring back so many amazing and brilliant memories from pool parties to paintballing, from shopping to the culture that you so vividly experience when you stay in Spain. Although it was a nerve wracking experience having a stranger stay in your house – who you have never met in person before, and who you have only ever talked to over social media – those jittery ‘what if we don’t get on well’ nerves fall away the moment your partner walks into the languages classroom; you both awkwardly introduce yourselves, before laughing at how nervous you both are.
When our Spanish Partners first visited us in Scotland in June, the week was jam packed with so many different activities and outings – despite the weather being miserable for most of the week – typical Scotland, eh? Most of the week was spent as a group with the rest of the people on the Spanish Exchange, and we did things like watching the school production of ‘Grease’, climbing up the Law for a picnic, going to Foxlake and doing Foxfalls, and heading down to the beach every weeknight to play touch rugby and where everyone just chatted, and generally got to know each other better. It was great!
On the last night, we had a small ceilidh dance in the school. It was so much fun, and an absolute laugh. It was a fantastic way to end our Spanish partners’ stay with us in Scotland. The next morning we had to say goodbye to them until the end of September which everyone was sad (and excited) about!
On the 29th of September we headed to Spain! Everyone was super excited about seeing their partners again, and having a catch-up. In spite of this, our flight was at 6:10am, meaning we had to be at the airport at 4:00am… so most people had to wake up really early just so that they were at the airport on time. No-one was excited about such an early start to the day, that was for sure.
We arrived at Lisbon airport at 9:30am and got a bus into the city centre. The rest of the day was spent shopping in Lisbon, before getting the bus to Badajoz and seeing our partners again. We arrived in Badajoz at around 5:30pm. It was fantastic to see everyone! We quickly got our bags off the bus, and then everyone headed back to their partners houses/flats. We unpacked, ate, showered and jumped into bed after a long and tiring day of travel and shopping.
The week in Spain was one of the best weeks of my life, and I will never forget it. Again, we mainly met up as a group, but did so many different activities like shopping, paintballing (which actually does hurt as much as you would think, despite what our partners told us!), eating out together (which we did almost every night) and we had a pool party which was incredibly fun; especially since the weather was so sunny and warm for it, although the people who had forgotten sun cream were really regretting it the next day!
It was such an incredible, amazing and fantastic week, because you got to know people who you weren’t close to before, and make so many memories. One of my favourite memories was paintballing because it was the Spanish girls versus the Scottish girls, and it got really competitive. The Spanish girls won the first game we played, but the Scottish girls ended up victorious in the second game.
Another one of my favourite memories was on the last night, after the leaving party in one of the parks in Badajoz. The teachers had left by this point, but everyone had decided to stay out a bit longer. Everything was fine until about 11pm, when the sprinklers came on! Many of the bags which had been sitting on the grass by the sprinklers got absolutely soaked! Luckily, I had decided not to bring a bag – just my phone – but some unlucky people had to walk home with wet bags. Despite bags being soaked and people being a bit soggy from running through sprinklers to get their bags, it was pretty hilarious to see everyone so wet! Thankfully, it was a warm evening, so everyone dried off quickly.
The morning we left Spain was an emotional one to say the least. Everyone (including the boys!) were crying, and hugging one another. Overall, the Spanish Exchange was 2 of the best weeks of my life to date, so I strongly recommend going! But remember – you are probably just as nervous as your partner – and they don’t bite – so there is nothing to worry about. I can promise you that you will enjoy the Spanish Exchange just as much as I did. Even if you and your partner don’t seem to get on that well in the beginning, by the end of the exchange it will be as if you have known each other for years… And you may even learn some more Spanish!

By Grace Kane, 4c

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