Why an Ohio school sends its kids to Chile to learn Spanish

Twelve students from the Ursuline Academy just completed a two week stint in Santiago to add some real life experience to their Spanish studies.

From Brown County in St. Martin, Ohio, twelve students of the Ursuline Academy school for young women recently made the trip to the other tip of the Americas, to polish their Spanish skills in the streets of Santiago, Chile.
Attending daily classes at the Colegio Academia Villa María Santiago, they were adopted by host sisters, giving them a real chance to engage with local Chilean families.
“Chile was amazing,” U.S. junior Lianna Brown of Mason told Cincinnati.com. “It was a wonderful learning experience because in school we learn Spanish through reading and writing, but it was a completely different language when not on paper.”
“My listening skills dramatically improved each night at the dinner table, but my speaking skills still have some ways to go. I would definitely suggest this trip to anyone who wishes to take Spanish the following year because it really sparks a new love for the language and eagerness to learn,” Mason said.
As well as exploring the city and surrounding regions with their host families, the students visited attractions such as La Moneda, the Chilean presidential palace, one of the houses of Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, Cerro Santa Lucia and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (“Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts”) among other attractions.
“Chile was the best two weeks ever. My Spanish improved so much and my listening became almost perfect. I recommend it to anyone taking Spanish because it creates a love for the language I didn’t have before,” said Jackie Healey. “This is a great experience to learn about a new culture. I learned a lot about the history of Santiago and the beauty of the country. I can’t wait to go back one day.”
But it wasn’t just the students that had a chance to learn and gain new life experience, said teacher Shauna Whelan.
“As an educator, I think it’s important to have a broad view of the world,” Whelan said. Traveling to Chile allowed me the experience to learn about a different culture, people, language, and education system. I look forward to infusing what I learned there into my classroom and my life,” said Whelan.
To read some of testimonials from university exchange students, click here, while for a new twist on learning Spanish in Chile, check out this article.