Info meeting launches Spanish exchange; travel resumes next year


McKinley Garner

PAY ATTENTION. US Spanish teachers present information about next year’s exchange program in an info session May. 9. The program was stopped for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a two-year hiatus, SPA is to restart the Spanish exchange program next fall and spring. Since 2009, SPA has had Spanish exchanges, hosting kids from Spain in the fall and then sending SPA students to Spain during spring break. However, since its pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spanish teachers at SPA have been trying their best to revive the program.
US Spanish teacher Peter Daniels mentioned that the administration has made it difficult for teachers to get approval. However, with a new administration in SPA, the teachers were able to set up dates for meetings to figure out what will be best for students.
US Spanish teacher Rolando Castellanos has thoroughly enjoyed getting students to go on the exchange trips, mentioning that “a family was made out of one of the exchanges,” as two students in the first year of the exchange got married.
On May 9, the US Spanish teachers hosted an info session going over the details of what to expect for the upcoming exchange. The meeting mentioned that the program will consist of approximately 18 students from Colegio Malvar, a pre-K through 12 charter school near Madrid. The students from Colegio Malvar are anticipated to come Sep. 14 – 28. Then, the SPA students who hosted will get a chance to meet their friends from the fall after the school year is completed: anticipating going Jun. 10 – 21, 2024. The SPA students participating in the program will get to experience Spanish culture first hand, allowing them to have a complete immersion experience, something that is simply not available in Minnesota.

A family was made out of one of the exchanges.

— Rolando Castellanos

While it seems like a wonderful trip, it is important to mention the economics of an opportunity like this one. The program is projected to cost between $2,500 and $3,000 per student. However, Castellanos mentioned that “you will need spending money on top of this” for special dinners, gifts, certain activities, etc.
During the info session, the teachers mentioned that students currently in grades 10 and 11 will receive a higher spot on the list for this opportunity as they only offer the program once every two years. They also explained that students who sign up sooner rather than later may have a more likely chance of getting accepted, if there is a high demand. They concluded by saying that it is important for people to discuss with their family about such an event, but SPA needs to move fast as Malvar is anxious to see if the students they are sending will have places to stay.