Falcon Spanish students go beyond the classroom with cultural exchange to Spain

Spanish language students have returned from an eye-opening trip to Spain. Enjoy the write-up and photo gallery!


Town of Barcarrota

Senior Anthony Monetti shares his love of soccer with the primary students of Hernando De Soto School in Barcarrota

Jackson Nealis and Daniel Schnur

From October 13th to October 22nd, members of the Spanish 5 Honors, Spanish 6 Honors and AP Spanish Language classes experienced a rare opportunity to travel to several cities of Spain as a part of their language studies. Students visited the cities of Madrid, Seville, Cordoba and Barcarrota, the small sister town of Bradenton.

Students visited key landmarks including the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor in Madrid, the Grand Mosque and Cathedral of Cordoba, and the Real Alcazar in Seville. 

The trip focused on teaching students traditional cultural practices.  Students learned  techniques to make Andalusian ceramics and the culinary skills to make a traditional paella. 

Halfway through the week, the students make the journey from Seville to Bradenton’s sister town in Barcarrota, allowing the cultural exchange between the United States and Spain to flourish. Students visited local schools in the town, learning philosophy and computer science in Spanish and sharing about their lives in Florida with students, including on a local radio broadcast.  

Señora Gustavus, teacher of most of the students, claims that, for all of her students, “spanish skills are greatly improved,” partly because they lived with real host families and had to communicate in Spanish in all of their at-home interactions. Students were touched by the kindness and hospitality of each of their host families.

With an eye towards college, Senior Evan Christenson, a Spanish 5 Honors student involved in the trip, stated how “The cultural knowledge of this region of Europe is a great concept to be comfortable with and gives us a higher understanding of the world for our age.”

He intends to take this newfound outlook to be more understanding of Spanish and of other cultures throughout the world to his experience at university.

Students and chaperones alike were thrilled for the opportunity to take part in this cultural exchange in Spain. They look forward to sharing their experiences with the Falcon community and encourage other Falcons to take the jump, step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in the cultural beauty of the world.

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  • Last week, higher level Spanish students went abroad to Spain on a cultural exchange. They wanted to share these moments from their experience.

  • Seniors Jackson Nealis and Sophia Creneti cycle through Seville’s famous María Luisa park on a scavenger hunt.

  • AP Photography students Kate Baran and Anthony Monetti found plenty of opportunities in the winding streets of Seville to add to their portfolios.

  • The Beneitez family shared with the students their unique approach to olive oil extraction at their Don Basilio farm. The family motto when making their award winning extra virgin olive oil? “Extra means perfection!”

  • AP Spanish student CJ Johnson stirs the homemade paella, a traditional Spanish dish made from chicken, rice and vegetables.

  • In Tirana, Seville, Students diligently practiced the renowned Andalusian skill of ceramic making, learning how to incorporate geometric techniques into art.

  • Captain Affolter sleepily looks on as students unwind with the spirited card game Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza.

  • In the hometown of Conquistador Hernando de Soto, the first European to explore the Bradenton area, Alfonso Gata, the mayor of Barcarrota explained how that centuries-old encounter had developed into the present warm intra-city relationship.

  • Spanish 5 Honors Student Evan Christenson was welcomed by the preschoolers of Barcarrota with a badge commemorating their visit.

  • On Thursday, Seniors Anthony Monetti and Madison Castellucci had the opportunity to share Falcon culture with an interview on the local radio station.

  • The heritage of the Badajoz region of Spain extends far into prehistory, as the students discovered while exploring the 5,000 year old ruins outside of Barcarrota’s city limits.

  • Students loved living with host families in Barcarrota. Evan Christenson shared several delicious meals from his welcoming host “parents”

  • After an enriching experience in Spain, these Spanish 6 Honors students were ready to come home and indulge in Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.

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