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Students immerse themselves in Spanish culture

Over+the+summer%2C+Spanish+teacher+Mike+Ayala%2C+his+wife%2C+and+10+seniors+traveled+across+Spain+through+the+ACIS+Educational+Tours+program.
Over the summer, Spanish teacher Mike Ayala, his wife, and 10 seniors traveled across Spain through the ACIS Educational Tours program.

Over the summer, Spanish teacher Mike Ayala, his wife, and 10 seniors traveled across Spain through the ACIS Educational Tours program.

•courtesy of Mike Ayala

•courtesy of Mike Ayala

Over the summer, Spanish teacher Mike Ayala, his wife, and 10 seniors traveled across Spain through the ACIS Educational Tours program.

Kayleigh Padar

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This summer, a group of incoming seniors spent time exploring Spain with Spanish teacher Mike Ayala and his wife. This is the first international trip that Ayala has organized with the hopes of helping students immerse themselves in the language they study.

“I had not traveled to Spain and everything was new, not just for me but for my students,” Ayala said. “I have to say that I enjoyed the opportunities that my students took to use their Spanish, their willingness to try new foods and to experience all that Spain had to offer.”

Ayala began investigating opportunities for international travel when some of his students suggested traveling to Latin America or Spain together. “The furthest thing from mind was to travel with a group of students to another country,” Ayala said.

While there, the students participated in a variety of activities, like visiting ancient buildings, trying new foods, learning to dance, making traditional fans, attending a bull fight, and many more.

“My favorite place we visited was Sevilla because of how beautiful the square looked at night with all the lights.  The best part was just sitting at a cafe and taking it all in,” senior Ana Manrique said.

Some students enjoyed simply experiencing the country.

“My favorite part of the trip was probably getting to just walk around the cities and experience the people and cultures for ourselves. It was really fun navigating the cities and speaking to locals,” senior Maddie Schlapia said.

The students decided to go on the trip for a variety of reasons.

“I decided to go on the trip because i really wanted to improve my Spanish in the best way you can: being thrown into the culture and forced to speak it,” Schlapia said. “Not only that, but any chance to visit Europe with your best friends is one you can’t pass up.”

The learning benefits of immersing students in another culture were a major reason Ayala chose to organize this trip.

“Not only does educational travel directly correlate with a students’ academic success during high school and college but students show a greater aptitude for learning in all areas of study,” Ayala said.

Ayala plans to expand this program in the future by inviting students regardless of Spanish level to travel.

“This was a tremendous opportunity which should be open to everyone in the Spanish program,” Ayala said.

Next summer, upper level Spanish classes will have another opportunity to visit Spain. Students are still able sign up for the trip by contacting Ayala.

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Students immerse themselves in Spanish culture