1. Our Ethos
We believe that school Spanish trips are not only about visiting Spain and experiencing its rich culture, but most importantly about giving young people the chance to get inside that culture by making friends with Spanish people of their own age. With this in mind, our tailor-made Spanish Immersion Trip to Jaén, Andalusia is a perfect combination of cultural, linguistic and inspiring excursions and activities which take place with a group of enthusiastic Spanish students.
2. Why run a school Spanish trip?
A well run and enjoyable school trip is often the most significant memory that a student takes with them from their time at school. It is often a first time experience of being away from home and away from parents. Students develop a vast range of skills beyond those of linguistic and cultural knowledge. They learn to be more responsible, organised and communicative while learning to be a respected member of a team and helping others to work well in that team. They develop a curious and respectful nature about the world around them and become inspired to learn and be more. Our school trips are for students aged 12 – 18 and would suggest that the optimum age for the Immersion Trip would be Years 9 and 10. The trip often encourages students to choose Spanish at GCSE and helps Year 10 students to see the point of their Key Stage 4 studies. The interaction with the Spanish students also helps their confidence in preparation for Oral Assessments. Exciting school trips are also viewed very favourably by parents when deciding which school to send their child to and also by OFSTED, ‘Such hands-on activities led to improved outcomes for pupils and students, including better achievement, standards, motivation, personal development and behaviour.’ From an OFSTED report entitled ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ 2008.
3. Location – Jaén – a hidden treasure
Jaén is situated in the heart of Andalusia, an hour from Granada and is a small, quintessential Spanish city. There are many fascinating historical attractions such as the Cathedral, Castle and the oldest surviving Arabic Baths. However, Jaén remains rather untouched by tourists and as such has retained all the typical Spanish qualities that we would like students to discover – winding streets, pretty squares and a huge variety of tapas bars. The Andalusian friendliness is in abundance here and everyone is always keen to stop and talk to you – with the added bonus that not many people speak English – so students really do have to put their Spanish language skills into practice! Jaén is either a 2 ½ hour drive from Málaga or a 4 hour drive from Madrid. It is possible to visit both of these cities as part of your visit.
4. Interaction with Spanish teenagers – including the day in the school
There are numerous private and state schools in Jaén that are very keen to receive British school groups, particularly as some of these schools run bilingual programmes themselves. On every school trip, the group would usually spend a whole day in the Spanish school working with a group of Spanish students of a similar age. The usual format is a selection of bilingual getting to know you games followed by bilingual project work where students work in mixed groups and then have to present their findings to the rest of the group. The Spanish students also participate in a lot of the other activities including the Treasure Trail, Games in the Park, Tapas Evening and final evening Disco. Even within a fairly short space of time, students get to know each other well and create friendships that last far longer than the trip itself. Nothing is more motivating when learning a language than wanting to be able to talk to your peers.
5. Excursions Programme
Below is a copy of an example programme. We have an extensive knowledge of Jaén and the surrounding area so if you would like to change one of the activities for something else, please ask and we will let you know of all the other possibilities. All school groups are fully accompanied by a Combination Representative which means that you have someone on hand 24/7 during your school’s visit.
Most school groups prefer to travel from Gatwick, but other departure airports are possible too. As your Immersion Trip is all inclusive, your group will be collected from your school (or other preferred pick up point) and taken by coach to the airport. At the airport, a Combination Languages Representative will meet you and help you to check your students in. The group then usually flies to Madrid so that a guided tour of the capital is possible, before travelling by coach to Jaén. We suggest return travel either from Madrid or Málaga and finally your group will then be taken by coach to your school in England. All coaches are of a high standard, have seatbelts and are operated by County Council Approved companies. Flights are usually with Air Europa or another similar airline. The price includes one piece of hand luggage (10kg) and one piece of checked in baggage (20kg) per person.
The group stays together in a small hotel in the centre of Jaén. Students have rooms of either 2, 3 or 5 beds and teachers usually share a twin room (single rooms are available for a small supplement). The rooms are very comfortable and all have their own en suite bathroom, air conditioning and TV. The hotel is within walking distance of many of our partner schools as well as the historic part of the town, Cathedral and Arabic Baths. The staff at the hotel go above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate school groups and nothing is too much trouble. All meals are provided and the main meal in particular is very impressive with a full 3 course meal all consisting of typical Spanish dishes.
All the activities have been carefully planned so that students get the most possible cultural and linguistic benefit from them. A lot is included within a relatively short space of time; students have a guided tour of Madrid, Jaén, Granada and the Alhambra Palace. They also visit the Science Park in Granada and Jaén’s beautiful castle. We suggest an activity every morning, afternoon and evening so that there is no time to get bored! Students also have some time to write a diary in Spanish about their trip. The bilingual activities with the Spanish students are carefully designed to ensure that all students have to use their linguistic skills – small groups are strategically organised and most activities involve a competitive element, encouraging teams to work together. This really is the best way to learn a language – by having fun with Spanish teenagers!
Don’t just take our word for how great the Immersion Trip is! Below are some comments from students, teachers and Headship Team.
“Thank you so much for organising such an amazing action packed trip. I guarantee it will stand out as the thing students will most remember about excursions at Davison. Your fantastic energy, meticulous organisation and boundless enthusiasm made this trip a memorable experience for staff and students both from Davison and Jaén!”
Tony Davies, Deputy Head Teacher, Davison C of E High School, Worthing, West Sussex
“The visit to Jaén is a perfect combination of language learning and cultural activities that really make the country come alive. Your staff team give such great support to every student, ensuring that they gain in so many positive ways from the experience. A brilliant experience they all come home raving about. Very well done!”
Della West, Head Teacher, Davison C of E High School, Worthing, West Sussex
“Thank you for an amazing trip. I made loads of new friends, Spanish and English.”
Leonie Thompson, Davison student Year 9
“I liked meeting the Spanish students because it helped me to practise my Spanish.”
Caitlin Robinson, Davison student Year 9
“The day in Jabalcuz High School was amazing. The Spanish people were really nice.”
Stephanie Amadis, Davison student Year 9
“The best part of the trip for me was meeting fellow Spanish students and exploring the depths and traditions of Spanish culture.”
Ellie Tosey, Davison student Year 9
“My daughter had a fantastic time in Jaén this Summer - it is a great way to get a feel for the real Spain and she and her friends loved the opportunity to interact with Spanish children of their own age in a Spanish school. She made loads of good friends there, is still in touch with them now and has gone on to take Spanish as a GCSE course. For my part, I was happy in the knowledge that she was enjoying a fun and educational trip safely supervised by trusted teachers".
Alison Groves, Parent of Davison student
10. Administration – letters, medical forms, code of conduct, kit list, insurance (please see separate documents)
As experienced teachers, we know that even the keenest of teachers can get somewhat overwhelmed with how much there is to do to organise a successful school trip, which is why we will provide everything for you; letters to parents, medical forms, code of conduct, kit list and risk assessments. All you will need to do is to get approval from your Head Teacher, School Governors and Local Council. You would also need to promote the trip in school, organise the list of students and collect the medical forms from students and staff. We work on a ratio of one free teacher place per 10 students. Most schools usually have insurance for their students when taking part in an overseas visit, but we can also advise with this if necessary. And for your peace of mind, we are ATOL protected.
11. Prices and what it includes (absolutely everything!)
Your students and teachers do not need to pay for anything apart from maybe some souvenirs or the occasional ice cream! We have ensured that everything has been included to save you the worry of additional budgeting. We even provide an end of trip certificate. We want you to enjoy this trip as much as your students, so let us do the hard work for you!
And finally, we are passionate about providing affordable Spanish school trips with a difference. We have seen first-hand how exciting and motivating it is for students to mix with Spanish teenagers of the same age and we would love to look after your school trip to Jaén, Andalusia.
For more information please contact Suzie Comben
Tel: 07974 563137