On Friday 14th February, 19 pupils from the Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth, along with Mr Drake, Miss Hall and Miss Shairp escaped Storm Dennis and travelled to Madrid for five days, staying just two minutes away from the Plaza Mayor. Trips abroad are such an important part of language learning, for not only do they allow pupils to practise what they have learnt in lessons and their pronunciation, but they give a context to the exam syllabus and moreover, they help to motivate and enthuse.
Our first full day in Madrid started off with a walking tour given by our fantastic guide Angela. She took us through the charming older streets of the city, through the Plaza Mayor and showed us the residences of Miguel de Cervantes amongst other revered authors. After lunch we went to the Palacio Real, official residence of the King of Spain, and learnt about the history of this stunning building. Our day ended with a quiz, written by Miss Hall, to challenge our intellect and our observations from day one!
The next morning, the pupils tested out their conversational Spanish in a market challenge, in which they were split into three groups and had various things to find and tasks to complete, such as buying a postcard of Madrid and writing a message on it. After this, we went back to the hostel for lunch and then headed to Las Ventas Bull Ring – definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Our knowledgeable guide explained to us the different stages of a bull fight, the history of this tradition and the controversies surrounding it. The day ended on a cultural high as we were treated to an authentic Flamenco show which included singing, dancing, beautiful costumes and an idyllic setting.
On our last full day of the trip we visited the beautiful Retiro Park in the morning, the Reina Sofía art museum in the afternoon, in which we marvelled at Picasso’s ‘El Guernica’. The artists in the group had brought their sketchbooks to capture their favourite pieces from the museum, and staff and pupils alike appreciated the variety of material available in the museum. Later on, we headed to the Bernabéu Stadium where we posed for photos pitch-side and enjoyed their interactive displays.
Before heading home, we were lucky enough to visit Colegio Montserrat to take part in a conversation exchange with Spanish students who are learning English. As ‘School and Future Plans’ forms part of the GCSE syllabus, seeing a Spanish school in action was invaluable. Back to Madrid Barajas, we flew home having stocked up with plenty of chorizo!