Eighth-graders enjoy cultural immersion during Valencia trip

From March 26 to March 30, 48 students in the Spanish classes B and C went on the Valencia language trip in a chance to immerse in the culture and improve their language.  

Soon after arriving in Valencia, the students split randomly into two groups and went to two nearby restaurants.  After dinner, students went back to the hotel and got some much-needed rest.  

Madeleine Hatzmann, Alex Roche, Gavin Crawford, and Nathan Lewis help prepare paella, a traditional Spanish dish. This dish requires duck, chicken and snails in making it (photo courtesy Ms. Montaraz).

Their first full day in Valencia began with another two group split, with one group going to Valencia C.F stadium and having a tour, and the other having a paella making class. While in the stadium, students learned about the history of the team and went onto the field itself.  After their tour was over, students had some time in the gift shop to buy souvenirs.  

Meanwhile, at the paella class, students first went to the famous Mercat Central, a stall market in the center of the city, and purchased the ingredients they would need, ranging from rabbit to saffron.  Once back in the kitchen, students were instructed in the traditional way of cooking paella and then enjoyed their own paella.  

Once both groups were done, they switched activities.  After both groups had enjoyed both activities, students went to a nearby beach.  A massive game of beach soccer broke out, while other students enjoyed the peace and relaxation away from the game.  Dinner that night was churros, and everyone went to bed with a very full stomach.

The next day began with both groups going to two ceramic makers.  Students were able to make their own ceramic products and collected them on the last day after they baked.  Students also learned the history behind the ceramic process and the history of the two makers they went to.  

The tour consisted of a brief introduction to the two centers, then a tour of the complete ceramic process.  Students saw masters of their craft form clay, sculpt and mold it, witnessed the massive clay ovens work, saw the glaze and varnishing process, and then painted on either mugs, plates, or trays.  

Eighth-grader Alex Roche loved the experience. “I think it was cool to see how historical architecture and ceramics were made.  I loved the insight into the delicate art and have a larger appreciation for it now.”  

After the ceramic tour, both groups went to the aquarium in Valencia, called the Oceanográfico.  Students had a tour of parts of the aquarium, then saw the dolphin show.  “The dolphin show was in my top five experiences in Valencia,” eighth-grader Ozan Cetin said.  “I didn’t think dolphins could to what they did in the show.”

After that, students had some free time to explore on their own. Soon after, students had dinner, and everyone went to a flamenco dancing class.  Several students dance-battled each other, and some teachers even joined in. 

At the end of their first full day, eighth grade students spontaneously join in on a local dancing class on the beach. This class is a Spanish traditional mix between hip-hop, flamenco, and tango dancing (photo courtesy Ms. Manuel).

The final full day in Valencia started with meeting students from a Spanish school in the area and exploring an ancient monastery with them.  Students from ASL enjoyed lunch with the students from the Spanish school and got a sense of day-to-day life in Spain.  “They were kind, nice people to talk to,” eighth-grader Brandon Likola said. “They had a lot of similar interests to us, which made conversations fun.  I had always felt like they had completely foreign lives compared to us, but we’re all interested in the same things, and have a lot more in common than I thought.”  

Near the end of their time with the Spanish students, a soccer game happened between the Spaniards and the group from ASL.  It was cut short by the need to get to our next activity, the touring of an orange farm.  

The students met up with the owners of the farm, whose family had been there for 100 years.  They taught the group the traditional ways of eating citrus fruit, and each student had the chance to try a delicious fruit and juice it themselves.  The group then walked around the farm and tried various other types of oranges before returning to the city and having dinner.  

On the final night, they enjoyed a flamenco show at the same place where they learned the previous night. 

Students woke up early the next day as they needed to hurry to the airport.  They said goodbye to their guides and got on the bus that would take them to the airport.  They had a quick lunch at the airport before finally arriving back in London.

Overall, students felt the experience was fantastic. 

About Darren Morris ('23)

Staff Writer

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