On the 11th of February this year, both the Lower and Upper 6th A Level Spanish students went on a linguistic school trip to Madrid for 6 days. The journey began with a very early 2:30am meet-up at the College gates, followed by a 2 hour coach journey to Dublin Airport. After getting checked in, through security and something to eat, we boarded our 2 hour flight to Madrid. The purpose of the trip was to improve our linguistic skills, by attending school and staying with Spanish families.
From the moment we arrived in Madrid, we were totally immersed in the Spanish language. After arriving and collecting our luggage, we were greeted by a coordinator from ‘Instituto San Fernando’, the Spanish school we attended, who gave us a briefing of what would happen during our visit, and brought us to a meet-up point. Here we met our ‘Spanish Families’, who took us back to our homes and provided us with lunch. They also showed us how to use the Metro and showed us which lines and stations to use and get off at to return home every day.
That afternoon, everybody met up at the Instituto San Fernando building, where we were introduced to the teachers. Later we explored the city of Madrid, with our Spanish teachers who pointed out key landmarks. Also, we had to ask people in the city centre questions about Madrid. This both improved our talking skills as well as increasing our knowledge on the city.
The next morning, we had to make our own way to the school using the Metro which was a quick and easy way to get around the huge city. In school we covered topics relevant to our AS/A2 courses. After school, we went to the Prado Museum which is one of the most popular attractions in Madrid. It was interesting to see all the different pieces of Spanish artwork.
The next morning we did something different with the school. We went to the centre of Madrid and visited popular tourist attractions such as the ‘Plaza de España’ y ‘el Mercado de San Miguel’. Here we had to find out information about the area by asking passers-by questions. In my opinion this was a good way to improve our conversation skills and confidence. After this activity, we had free time. During this time we were allowed to go off in groups and go shopping or visit tourist attractions around the Puerta del Sol area. Puerta del Sol was one of many favourite places in Madrid, there was a lot going on and it had such a nice atmosphere. The square was full of people of all nationalities, with lots of things for them to do, there were street performers, many bars and restaurants and shops. When we returned home, we spent time with our families, talking to them about how our day went and what we liked about Madrid, as well as explaining to them about the differences between Spain and Ireland.
The next day we didn’t have any classes, so in the morning we went to a huge market in the streets of Madrid. The market had such a wide range of different stuff, including branded clothes, shoes and Spanish souvenirs. Afterwards we all went to Real Madrid’s football grounds, Santiago Bernabeu. Here we had a guided tour (in Spanish) of the grounds, including the changing rooms of the players as well as the trophy room. Everyone had a really good time at Santiago Bernabeu, including those who don’t like football. It was a really great experience.
On the last day, we went to La Vaguada shopping centre to do some last minute shopping before going home. This shopping centre was huge, and had a wide range of different stores. After this, we went home to collect our luggage, and say our final farewells to our Spanish families, some of which were emotional. It was sad that the trip to Madrid had come to end, because it really was an amazing experience being able to spend time learning the Spanish Language in Spain itself, especially with all our classmates.
Without a doubt, the Madrid Linguistic trip was such a worthwhile experience. I really do believe it has improved my Spanish and boosted my confidence. I would highly recommend the trip to anyone who is studying Spanish and wants to experience Spanish lifestyle, as well as improving their ability to speak Spanish.
Click here for more photographs of the trip!