Spanish Exchange Program
As you walk the halls of Moeller, you may see a few new faces in the crowd. There are a few new students who traveled 4,218 miles to be here. From Zaragoza, Spain, we are hosting five Spanish exchange students. They each live with their respective host and live life like an everyday American teenager.
The program has been around for a while, positively changing students’ lives on both ends of the exchange. Moeller students who are selected to take part, go to Zaragoza, Spain in January for five weeks. They get a full immersion into the language of Spanish which is extremely beneficial for a Spanish language learner.
Robert Vitolo, the head of the program, said about the effects on the language of the students, “They pick up new things that their not attached to in class. It helps students make real-world connections with what they learn in class.” You’re forced into a family and school entirely of Spanish speakers so you have to work on your Spanish to make friends and have a good time. It’s almost a sink or swim mentality for students who travel to Spain. They have to speak the language constantly every day, so if they don’t practice they’ll sink.
According to Vitolo, the biggest take away from students is “to grow in their cultural understanding and linguistically.” The cultural immersion is just as important as the language immersion. If you don’t commit yourself to participating in their way of life, you won’t have as good of a time as possible. It would be a waste of a great opportunity if you only did the things you could do in everyday life of Cincinnati.
There is an in depth selection process to find the proper candidates for the exchange. There is an application form and an interview with each interested student. Mr. Vitolo and Mrs. Zinz-Adams take this information and carefully choose the students that would not only function well with the Spanish language, but who would connect well with their Spanish counterpart. Vitolo, regarding the application process, said “I take all the applicants and conduct interviews. All freshman and sophomores are encouraged to get involved because it’s a fantastic opportunity that most high school students don’t get to have”.
There aren’t many high schools that allow you to leave school for five weeks to travel across an ocean and attend a completely different school. Moeller gives this opportunity for all students to go on this trip and create life-long memories.