German Exchange travels to Hamburg, Germany
In the spirit of cultural exchange and language immersion at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, an exchange trip to Germany will be hosted for German-speaking students in 2015. This exchange has been happening since 1996.
This year’s exchange participants will visit the Heisenberg-Gymnasium, a high school in Hamburg, Germany.
Students are set to leave the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport on Mar. 12 and return on Mar. 26. Upper School German teacher Jutta Crowder has organized this year’s exchange to and from Germany.
The Heisenberg-Gymnasium is about 4,000 miles away from SPA. There, students will learn about a foreign culture through immersive exposure to foreign language.
“I think that is the most important thing to have in a language immersion experience. When you try out your language skills and you do it from first thing in the morning, all day long. And the second thing is to have another look as a culture and in return, see our culture in another perspective,” Crowder said. On these journeys to Germany, Crowder finds a special moment in each and every trip. “After a week or ten days, all of a sudden it feels like your ears pop, and you go ‘Oh, I get it’. You start to understand and it is so exciting. It is so exciting for me [to see students understanding]. I love that,” Crowder said.
“The most important thing for me is that I will end the trip with improved German speaking skills,” senior Luke Bishop said.
Along with improving speaking skills, Bishop hopes to become closer with his classmates and see what it is like to be independent.
Spanish speaking students to fly to Spain
When learning a language, there is no tool more valuable or challenging than total immersion. While exchange trips are popular among students at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, travel offers an equally enriching opportunity for language growth and cultural understanding.
This Spring Break approximately 20 SPA Spanish students will stroll the streets of Barcelona and Seville, absorbing the rich culture of these Spanish cities and enjoying the food, climate, and language of Spain.
“I’m especially excited to see all of the old architecture in Spain, since it’s a lot older than any of the architecture here in America. It’s going to be beautiful,” junior Miriam Tibbetts said.
Students will stay in Spain for 11 days. The students will arrive in Barcelona Mar. 14-18. From there, the group will fly to Seville and stay there until Mar. 25. During the stay in Seville, students will go on day excursions to sites such as the city of Cordoba and Pueblos Blancos.
“I’m also very excited to see “los Pueblos Blancos” in Andalusia,” Tibbetts said.
In addition to exploring Spain, the trip’s main focus is to help students learn Spanish.
“I chose to do the trip because it’s a goal of mine to become fluent in Spanish,” Tibbetts said. “I am also really interested in learning more about Spanish culture. It’s going to be fun!” Tibbetts said.
French exchange group goes to Toulouse, France
Student exchanges are undoubtedly a fantastic way to experience a language but they have more to give students than just speaking practice.
Over the course of two weeks in early February, French students from Lycée St Exupéry, a school in Blagnac which is a suburb of Toulouse, came to stay in Minnesota. They had a chance to interact one on one with English speakers at St. Paul Academy and Summit School and to explore Minnesota.
Over spring break when they go to France, SPA students look to experience French culture take advantage of everything that the exchange has to offer. On Feb. 26 students going on the exchange attended a quick info session as part of final preparations before the trip.
Trip advisers Aimeric Lajuzan, Sophie Kerman, and Eric Severson took the opportunity to cover topics ranging from pickpocketing, the trip’s schedule, and how to do “la bise,” the typical greeting of a kiss on each cheek. They also that SPA students will be completely immersed in French culture during the exchange.
“It’s the cross-cultural dimension that is incredibly important,” Lajuzan said.
Students will spend four days in Paris with a chance to visit attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Afterwards they will travel by train to Blagnac to start the student exchange part of trip. They will stay with their host families and spend time at their host student’s school. “ visiting and seeing how their school works … and also eating their food,” junior Justin Zanaska said.
The exchange plans to give students a unique opportunity to explore French culture. “Students spend time working on different language skills [in class] but there are not many opportunities to interact with native French students.
Exchanges help bringing the culture into the school and it means we are sure that all of our students get to interact with students their age,” Lajuzan said.