by Melissa Trinley, CCI Greenheart Short-Terms Programs Manager
Las Vegas Academy of the Arts welcomed a group of 20 Spanish students from León, Spain this fall inaugurating the School to School Exchange Program with Spain at their school. The program is designed for U.S. high schools to host a group of students from a partner school abroad, showing them the ropes of an American high school and welcoming their student pair into their homes for a full immersion homestay experience. The Spanish teacher at the school worked with the English teacher in Spain to plan all aspects of the program. The first half of the exchange was for the Spanish students to visit Las Vegas and get to know about a community in Las Vegas, a side tourists do not often get the chance to see. In addition to learning more about American culture through practicing English and spending time with host families, the visiting students saw the Grand Canyon, took a tour of the famous Las Vegas Strip, visited museums, and even went to Disneyland! While at the high school the Spanish students shadowed their American student pair who took them to classes, held a welcome assembly and even took the exchange students to a school dance. While it was sad to say good bye to the group, the group will soon be reunited; American students will complete the exchange when they travel in the spring to León to visit their Spanish sister school. Students Charmaine and Erin shared their hosting experience with CCI Greenheart.
Hello! I am Erin Zalaoras, I am 15 years old and live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am very excited to do this exchange because I want to improve in speaking Spanish and learn more about the culture. I hosted a student, Cristina from Spain, in September of 2012 and I will be traveling to Spain in March of 2013. Before the Spanish students arrived my expectations were to be matched with a girl with similar interests such as being physically active, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. When it was time for the Spanish students to go back home, what I ended up enjoying the most was spending time with Cristina and learning about her life. Cristina helped me with speaking Spanish and I helped her with her English. I showed her around my school, and she participated in all of my classes. In our free time, she described everyday living in León. She also told me the classes she takes in school, and how every major building is within walking distance of her house, which is quite different from Las Vegas. I also loved the activities we did with the students while they were here, like going to museums and walking around the strip. I am looking forward to seeing the cathedrals and living the life of a native to León. I believe this will be an amazing experience and I cannot wait to travel to Spain!
Hi. My name is Charmaine. I am a senior at Las Vegas Academy. I have been studying Spanish for almost 4 years. I wanted to participate on the School to School Exchange program because it is a fun way to learn about a different culture and meet new people. My family hosted a student from León, Spain and I will be travelling there in March. When I signed up for the program I was nervous at first because I didn’t know whether or not me and my Spanish pair, Sandra, would get along. In the end we became great friends. We still talk every now and then. It was quite an experience trying to communicate with each other! Sometimes, I would say the wrong word because it sounded similar to another and other times I would make up my own Spanish words. I enjoyed showing Sandra around Las Vegas and having her experience my day-to-day life. I tend to forget just how amazing Las Vegas can be and how beautiful it is. I look forward to visiting many places and learning as much as possible. In pictures, Spain is so beautiful and I can’t wait to be there in person.