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Raiders Return to Spain:  Summer 2017

The Raiders sent thirteen students and two teachers to Spain this summer for a total language and cultural immersion experience. The group spent two weeks in Seville, Spain and surrounding areas as part of the second year of Riverwood’s Spanish language and culture study abroad program. The students lived with local families, attended classes, and participated in cultural activities each day. According to Spanish teacher Lorraine Lynch who led the trip for the second consecutive year, “It was truly an authentic cultural experience, as we lived like locals. Total immersion is the best way to learn a language and to expand your worldview, which is essential to becoming a true global citizen.” The program was offered in conjunction with Centro MundoLengua, a private language school and educational tour operator. Lynch and Donna Vargas, World Language Department Chair, accompanied the rising 10th-12th grade students.

Over the course of twelve days, the students attended structured language courses each morning and, after lunch, experienced Spanish culture through various group activities. Highlights included visits to Seville’s cultural treasures such as the Alcazar and the Plaza España. They also kayaked on the Guadalquivir river, attended an authentic flamenco show, learned to cook paella, and experienced the traditional Arab baths, which date to the 9th Century. Their visit coincided with Corpus Christi, a very important religious and cultural festival. During the festival, the students enjoyed traditional music, processions, and public displays. As an added treat, they also spent a weekend in Tavira, Portugal. All classes, lessons, and tours were conducted completely in Spanish. Friends and family of the students traveling followed their adventures on social media and via their student-led blog.

In support of its international studies and IB curriculum, the school organized several international trips in 2017: a service trip to Nicaragua over Spring Break 2017, and separate trips to Spain, France, and Japan during summer 2017. The school plans to add additional international trips in the future. The 2017 trips received support from the Riverwood Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to support initiatives that enhance the learning experience for students.​

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