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