On the Wednesday of the last week of Term 2, 18 Spanish students from Years 9–11, along with Ms McEwen, Mrs Garcia and Mr Izzo, departed from Adelaide Airport for the Pembroke Spanish study tour to Salamanca, a city in the north-west of Spain known for its ancient university founded in 1218.
After the 23-hour journey our weary group landed in Madrid, got on a bus and drove for another 2 hours to Salamanca. When we arrived we were quickly exposed to the heat of the Spanish summer. After getting used to seeing sunlight again, host families were introduced and everyone went to what were to be our new homes for the next 3 weeks. After this we were shown around Salamanca and the language school don Quijote where we would be studying Spanish during our trip.
Over the course of 3 weeks many excursions and activities were organised for the students by both our Pembroke teachers and the teachers from don Quijote. Among these were tours around Salamanca and its monuments, such as the two cathedrals, churches scattered around the city, the university buildings (old and new), and other unique buildings and attractions within the city.
We also travelled to different cities all around Spain. When we first arrived we were taken to some nearby historical towns such as Ávila, which we were told was affectionately named the ‘Great Wall of Spain’ due to the centuries-old defensive wall that surrounds the city. This was one of our first insights into the ancient buildings and culture of Spain that we would see in towns and cities across the country. Churches from the Gothic and Renaissance periods were a regular and astounding sight in all the cities that we visited, highlighting the rich, extensive history of Spain that we were to learn much about. Among our other visits were to Toledo, a city most notable for its majestic fortifications and metalworking; Granada, the home of the Alhambra, an ancient Arabian palace and one of the most well-known landmarks in the world; Madrid; Seville; and also Cáceres, a UNESCO World Heritage town said to have been founded by the Romans in 25 BC, almost 2000 years ago.
Some of the activities in Salamanca included cycling along the Río Tormes, walking around the city and, on the final day, a trip to the top of the cathedral, where the stunning views across the countryside managed to outweigh the dizzying height of the tower. Some spectacular pictures were taken in an opportunity to capture the beautiful Spanish landscape one last time.
When in Salamanca we attended classes most days and learnt the language in an environment where almost everyone spoke Spanish. This was of great help to our Spanish-speaking abilities, along with learning a lot about Spanish culture from people who lived there and participating in many cultural events. We were given the opportunity to explore the city after classes, and many groups of students took these opportunities to go shopping, spend time with new people, and look around the areas they might not have been to on tours.
Our trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all the students, taking away a wealth of new knowledge and great experiences. The trip gave us a valuable new perspective on how Spanish as a school subject can really be useful, and we all gained a greater enjoyment and understanding of the language due to this outstanding trip that our teachers and the School offered us.
Junee, Charlotte, Luca and Frank
(all Yr 10)
(To preview photo gallery, please click on a photo below).