School group travels to Spain

Students+on+a+hike.+

Photo Credit: Mr. Lyon

Students on a hike.

by Alethea Jadick, Staff Writer

A group of 20 students left the halls of Glen Rock High School behind to embark on a cultural adventure to Vic, Spain on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

This is the second year Glen Rock students have had the opportunity to travel to Spain and this year’s trip was a huge success, according to those on the trip.

The group of students was made up of juniors and seniors and was accompanied by Spanish teachers Ms. Dina Plescia and Mrs. Kirsys Guevarez, as well has Mr. Lyon who leads the cultural exchange club. Plescia had chaperoned the trip last year with former Financial Literacy teacher Samara Fluster.

Vic, the part of Spain where the students stayed, is a small, old city about an hour outside of Barcelona. From this location the kids were able to see the countryside of Spain, not just the city.

Photo Credit: Tom Lyon
Students get a chance to see the very famous Sagrada Familia during one of their days spent in the city of Barcelona. Despite the fact that the Sagrada Familia is still being built it is a world famous landmark.

Megan Stoddard, a junior, said she had an amazing time and that she “loved every minute” of her first time out of the United States.

Students had the opportunity to visit famous cities and landmarks in Spain such as Barcelona, Park Guell, Montserrat, and Besalu, an ancient city with shops and cafes. They also had the unique opportunity to explore local nightlife and restaurants with their Spanish hosts.

Plescia and Stoddard both voiced that visiting Montserrat, a monastery in the mountains above Spain, was a highlight of the trip.

“The mountains were above the clouds and it was so beautiful there,” Stoddard said. They visited Montserrat on their last day and were able to get an exclusive tour from one of the monks.

Park Guell, another landmark students visited, is a public park in Barcelona filled with sculptures and architecture from the famous sculptor Antoni Gaudi.

Lee Hasselmann (’17) went on the trip last year and remembers it as a life changing experience. Becoming accustomed to the new culture, foods, and customs was a small part of the adventure. Hasselmann had a great connection with his host family. Hasselmann said that his host other gave him a big hug s he arrived in the country and cried when he left to return to Glen Rock.

Unlike last year, every single Glen Rock student was able to have his or her own host family. Last year there were not enough families willing to host American students, so a handful had to stay in a hostel in Vic.

In Catalunya, the area of Spain where the students stayed the endemic people speak Catalan, a native language to that region. However, when students are taught Spanish in high school they are taught Castillian spanish which is quite different.

Although Spanish host students are able to speak both Catalan and Castillian, their go-to language is Catalan. This occasionally makes it difficult for the American students because they constantly have to ask the Spaniards to speak in the Castillian, Spanish language that students know.

Photo Credit: Mr. Lyon
Students enjoying the gorgeous views of the Spanish country side after reaching the top of the hike from Montserrat.

The division of the Spanish language proved to be a learning experience, according to Plescia, adding to the students’ education on Spanish culture.

Glen Rock became involved with CEES the school that hosts attend three years ago when they reached out about starting a program between Spanish and English classes. English classes at CEES and Plescia’s 4 honors Spanish classes did a project last year that involved Skyping and sending video presentations back and forth.

Students from Spain are staying in Glen Rock when they do their half of the exchange in the spring.

Photo Credit: Mr. Lyon
Students walking through the ancient city of Besalu, crossing over a scary rope bridge that connects the two sids of the city.