A group of Gad’s Senior Spanish students travelled to Madrid to find out more about the country’s culture, lifestyle and, of course, language.
Accompanied by Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Miss Batther, Head of Senior School, Mr Savage and PR Manager, Mrs Carr, the 18-strong group of 11-13 year-olds flew to the Spanish capital for a four day stay at trendy boutique hostel, ‘The Hat’ in the centre of town.
From there, the intrepid explorers visited popular landmarks and attractions, as well as attending specialist workshops at a language school.
On arrival, the students excitedly settled into their rooms before a pre-dinner stroll to nearby market square, Plaza Mayor.
On their first full day, the Gad’s group was early to breakfast, ready for their Spanish lesson at a language school.
Travelling on Metro Madrid, the children bought their own tickets and navigated their way around the underground system – ably led by Miss Batther, who has lived in the city.
Many of our Year seven contingent have only been learning Spanish for two terms but the language school tutor made sure there were lots of activities as well as theory – all communicated in her mother tongue, meaning the students had to work together and listen intently to make the most of the experience.
Miss Batther said: “Learning from a native Spaniard in the actual country was a new experience for most of the students and I was impressed by how focussed and engaged they were.”
After lunch in Puerta del Sol (Spanish for “Gate of the Sun”), one of the best known and busiest public squares in the city, where the students made their food orders in Spanish, the group made their way to bull-fighting ring, Las Ventas, for a guided tour.
Mr Savage said: “Bull fighting is a controversial and emotive subject but the children were fascinated to learn so much about one of Spain’s most famous customs, and to make their own judgements”.
The afternoon was spent marvelling at the opulence of Palacio Real, the Royal Palace of Madrid.
The palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family but it is only used for state ceremonies.
After taking in the spectacular views from the palace courtyard, the cohort took-in the sights and sounds of Madrid as they made their way back to the hostel for dinner, snacks from the local shop and sleep, ready for another busy day.
Day three comprised a Spanish language class in the morning, before heading off for the much-anticipated tour of the home of Real Madrid, Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Excited Gad’s children imagined treading in the footsteps of legendary player Cristiano Ronaldo as they marvelled at the panoramic view of the pitch, trophy exhibition and state-of-the-art dressing rooms.
The final day saw more glorious sunshine and a final spot of sightseeing and shopping before heading home.
Miss Batther said: “All the children were exceptionally well behaved and made the most of every opportunity given to them.
“They really got involved with the Spanish lifestyle and used their speaking and listening skills to good effect.
“Language learning is brought to life when used in everyday situations, such as ordering food in a restaurant and buying a train ticket.
“Overall, the trip was a great success and I am confident it will boost the students’ vocabulary, diction, delivery and most importantly confidence.”
On the coach journey home, Miss Batther congratulated all the children for their good behaviour and team work on the trip before presenting Spanish keepsakes to the winners of the following Madrid 2018 titles:
Best Spanish learner: Christopher ‘CJ’ J., L4S
Best effort in Spanish: Kieran R., ShT
Best eater: Finley S., L4G
Most entertaining: Darcy R., ShT
Best-kept room: ShT girls: Elena C.; Phoebe F.; Bella F.; Darcy R.
Best overall contribution to trip: Alfie M., L4G