Spanish Exchange Students Kick Off International Exchange Programs

Norfolk Academy welcomed 10 students and one faculty member from Colegio Europeo de Madrid to campus. The students arrived in Washington, D.C. late last week and, after spending some time exploring the nation’s capital, made the trek down to Norfolk. Families of juniors will be hosting the students through the duration of their stay on Tuesday, October 9. While the Spanish Exchange students marks the first of many short and long-term exchanges, it nearly turned into the trip that never was, thanks to Mother Nature and the cancellations brought on by Hurricane Florence.

This upcoming March, 19 third-year Spanish students will share in a short-term exchange to Colegio Europeo de Madrid with Upper School Spanish teachers, Señor Bunn and Señora Winn. For now, they are creating bonds with the Spanish exchange students they are hosting. They have been anxiously waiting for the students to arrive.

“Our students have been communicating with (the exchange students) using their favorite form of social media. They have begun the process of getting to know each other in that way,” said Señor Bunn. “They are really stoked! It was not totally clear that this visit was going to work out because of Florence. So we delayed the visit by one week, and everything looks good to go!”

Señor Bunn and the Spanish and International Programs departments have planned some incredibly rewarding experiences for the students during their visit.

“They have some amazing customized classes provided by our dedicated Upper School faculty. Those include American Slang, presented by Dr. David Kidd; A hip-hop dance class with Mr. Elbert Watson; The Trump Administration explained opaquely by Dr. David Rezelman; and they Legacy of Spanish Colonialism in North America with Mr. Eric Acra. They are here to have a typical American experience,” said Señor Bunn.

Outside of the classroom and homestay activities, the group will count numerous excursions as part of their short-term exchange experience. These include a visit to Jamestown and kayaking on the James river; dolphin watching and visiting the aquarium and boardwalk in Virginia Beach; viewing a glass blowing exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art; touring Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin; and shopping at the MacArthur Center.

Short-term exchanges are not the only option for students looking for a cultural immersion outside of Norfolk. Participating in long-term exchanges is an invaluable experience. A number of students will - at the very least - be able to interact with a long-term exchange student on NA’s campus. Some will have the opportunity to participate in a long-term exchange.

“This is the first year we have students in every modern language participating in long-term exchanges,” said Price Massey Hall, director of International Programs. “The richest reciprocity is hosting and doing a homestay. It becomes a family experience. Having (the exchange students) here on campus enriches our community because it gives our students the opportunity to meet someone from somewhere else in the world. Long-lasting friendships have been built just by having them here on campus,”

Six juniors will be traveling abroad for the duration of the second marking period (a total of nine weeks) and will be hosting during a different marking period during the school year. They will be participating in long-term exchanges with Colegio Europeo de Madrid in Spain, Copernicus-Gymnasium in Germany, and Saint Dominique in France.

Two sophomores and one junior will be partaking in a month-long reciprocal exchange with St. George's College in Buenos Aires, Argentina.