Global Student Exchanges Enrich School Community, Culture
by: Emili Jaime-Allwood, LS Spanish Teacher
In the 2019-2020 school year, Shorecrest established a student exchange program for seventh and eighth graders with Colegio Ramon Y Cajal in Madrid, Spain. In October 2019, students from Spain visited Shorecrest. In February 2020, a group of six Shorecrest seventh and eighth grade students visited Spain and enjoyed a wonderful experience as exchange students. This program is not only enriching for the students who are directly involved, but it also adds richness to the Shorecrest community as a whole. Global learning experiences open students’ minds to new cultures. They grow from the opportunity to represent Shorecrest, Florida and the United States while abroad.
“I noticed that the six students who visited Colegio Ramon Y Cajal grew so much as people,” enthused Emili Jaime-Allwood, a Shorecrest Spanish Teacher who arranged and chaperoned the trip. “Living with an exchange student and their family for two weeks is not easy, however they overcame this challenge and had a wonderful experience. The Chargers exhibited so much effort in trying to communicate in Spanish and they developed stronger language skills in just two weeks."
She continues, "It was amazing how much being immersed in the language helped them wrestle any language barrier - this is one big advantage of an exchange program. The students also practiced and lived the Core Values of our school, since they remembered that they were representing Shorecrest.”
A foreign language exchange program not only benefits the students who are part of the program, but they feel a responsibility to share their experience with the rest of the Chargers. For example, the group created a video to show the Shorecrest fourth graders the school they visited in Spain. The video augments a Shorecrest Lower School project on urban and rural schools in Spanish speaking countries. The Shorecrest travelers also created a video for second graders who are immersed in studying children around the world.
Another plus from this program is that even teachers gain the chance to travel abroad. For example, Shorecrest Middle School Spanish Teacher Señora Jarvis, one of the chaperones on this exchange trip, has now established several connections with teachers in Spain. This will enhance her curriculum and expose more of our children to a global mindset.