FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Concordia Lutheran High School is launching a new foreign exchange program for the 2017/2018 school year to provide additional opportunities for students to develop a global perspective on their education. The CLHS/Madrid Homestay Exchange is in partnership with the Colegio Fuente de la Reyna, located in Madrid, Spain.
Beginning Aug. 27, select CLHS students will host a Madrid student for two weeks. The Cadets will act as tour guides during the visit, helping the Spanish students experience the American culture through day trips, including trips to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the Dunes State Park in Michigan City. The Spaniards will stay with their Concordia exchange families each night for further immersion into the American culture.
In the spring, it will be the Cadets’ turn to cross the Atlantic. Students will spend two weeks in Spain for a full immersion experience into the Spanish culture.
“The reciprocal homestay aspect of this program is where students will get the real immersion experience,” said Paula Booth, CLHS Spanish teacher and program coordinator. “Students won’t go back to a hotel each night to speak their native language with their friends. They will be totally immersed in a new family dynamic and culture life.”
The CLHS World Language department has coordinated with the administration and faculty to make the most out of this unique experience. Spanish dances, musical performances and more are already in the works with more collaboration to come.
“The program will give all of our students the opportunity to be hands on with the Spanish culture and to see similarities and differences between the two,” said Lizette Pierce, CLHS Spanish teacher. “Often times the fear of not knowing is the reason that we don’t travel or experience change. As Concordia students get to know the Madrid students through different activities and social events, they’ll be more open to embracing a new culture.”
While the Concordia students are in Spain, half of their stay will take place during Holy Week, March 25 - 31, providing the Cadets with a new perspective on the holiday.
“Holy Week to them is like Christmas to us. Students will be able to observe the Holy Week celebrations, which will be a big deal both within the home and in the community,” Pierce said. “Also, because the Madrid students will be on vacation, most families will travel with their Concordia student throughout Spain. In addition, the school in Spain will organize two group excursions.”
To be considered for the program, students are required to have completed four semesters of Spanish and be currently enrolled in the class. The homestay is designed to be a real-life application of what was learned in the classroom.
“I strongly believe that this exchange will help take our Spanish department to the next level,” said Pierce. “Students will realize that they take Spanish not just to learn it in the classroom, but also to travel with it and to use it in their community.”
Last year, nearly 75 percent of Cadets took a World Language course. The department is looking forward to the addition of a Spanish homestay exchange, as it builds upon the school’s mission to foster cultural growth.
“I hope our students develop a greater interest in the broader world. It would be great if they improve their Spanish,” Booth said. “It would be great if they were to make new friends that will last for years. I think these things will happen, but for me the benefit is getting out of their comfort zone and seeing that it’s a big, huge, awesome world.”
To learn more about the CLHS/Madrid Homestay Exchange, visit www.clhscadets.com/educational-travel.
Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.clhscadets.com.