Red Devils Take on Europe


Spanish students took at foreign exchange trip to Guadix, Spain for spring break.

On Thurs. March 23, Spanish, French, and German students packed their bags for a spring break spent in Europe. Filling up planes and buses to O’Hare, kids anxiously awaited the adventures that they would discover in the next week. One group directed their travels to Seville, Spain, while the other headed toward Paris, France.

Students enrolled in Spanish classes above the level of Spanish 2 had the opportunity to embark on a foreign exchange trip to Seville and Guadix, Spain, where they would live with a host family.

Spanish students prepared for their trip by filling out a sheet detailing their hobbies, interests and personalities.

“The teachers made us write down some hobbies and things that we like to do for both us Americans and they Spaniards,” said Tina Rivera, sophomore, “And they paired us to our host families based off our personal interests.”

The trip began with a missed connecting flight from Madrid to Seville, which the group resolved by taking a six hour bus ride through the Spanish countryside.

Once in Seville, Spain, where students spent three days touring the city and its attractions. Then, travelling by coach bus, they made their way to Guadix, Spain where they would first meet their host families and soon to be new friends.

“We were given a lot of free time and independence to explore Seville and Granada when we visited the cities and more often than not, we had to rely on each other when the language barrier made it difficult for us to understand menus, directions, and conversations with native Spanish speaker,” said Maddie Studnicka, junior.

The exchange paired students to a Spanish family for the week, where students experienced their first total immersion.

“When we arrived in Guadix, we were immediately thrust head first into our host families houses and that was honestly intimidating because we didn’t know these people, they spoke a different language than us with a fast accent, and we didn’t have our American friends to lean on,” Studnicka said. “But throughout the week, it became easier to communicate and understand them as we adjusted to the accent and became more comfortable.”

All students noted the relaxed, different state of Spanish life as compared to American, and appreciated the chance to personally live in the life of the cultures they were studying.

The French and German departments took a combined trip, running through France, Switzerland, and Southern Germany, where students immersed themselves in history, language and culture. Their trip was done in a tour-like fashion, travelling by coach bus from city to city, visiting major European tourist attractions.

The trip was open to students that are enrolled in French, German, or AP European courses at Hinsdale Central. Their trip was in more of a tour-like fashion, having a tour guide and a coach bus traveling with them from city to city.

The French-German trip began their adventure in Paris, France, where they visited the Louvre, Art District, Versailles, and the Eiffel Tour. Here, the French students got to use their language skills and cultural knowledge hands on.

“I could translate things pretty well,” said Rachel Wu, junior. “But I sucked at speaking conversationally because I wasn’t used to hearing the accent and I sounded very American through my accent.”

They then travelled to the French countryside, spending some time in Strasburg, walking through a small french town and visiting World War bunker. Their next destination was into Lucerne, Switzerland, where they saw Mt. Pilatus and explored the city.

“Switzerland was my favorite city,” said Meghan O’Reilly, senior. “It was fun just walking around with friends and seeing the cool city outside of the textbook.”

Finally, they arrived to Munich, where they toured the Dachau Concentration Camp, as well as spending time in the city.

“I liked Versailles the most as like an official visit and tour,” Wu said. “But I also really liked all the freetime and wandering.”

Both programs were both an adventure of a lifetime, as well as a great learning experience outside of the classroom. Trips like these always come up around the school, so ask your world language teachers about opportunities like these fit for you next year.