SPANISH students have arrived in Steyning for a week-long exchange visit.
Many of the 18 teenagers have never lived with an English family, but they received a warm welcome at Steyning Grammar School yesterday.
The exchange students are visiting from Oviedo, in the Asturias region of northern Spain, accompanied by their English teacher, Mrs Noelia Rodriguez, and economics teacher, Mrs Patricia Bautista.
Mrs Rodriguez said: “The students are so excited, and they are looking forward to learning about this part of England and the English culture.
“Most of the students have never lived with an English family, so it will be a new experience for them.”
The Spanish students were welcomed with refreshments and introduced to their English student partners, then met the families they will be living with for their stay.
A full programme of activities have been planned, including trips to London and Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, plus an afternoon shopping.
Mrs Brigitte Machin, head of Spanish at Steyning, said: “The aim of the exchange is to allow Spanish and English students to find out about life in each others countries, to discover more about the people, the customs, the food and other things that you can’t find in books.
“This visit is to give students the chance to experience an unforgettable English week, with an English family and be considered as a member of the family. The fact is that sometimes you have to live in the country to understand the culture better.
“The exchange also allows the students to develop their understanding and speaking skills and give them confidence to take risks and be more independent and capable of embracing life more thoroughly in the future.”
On Tuesday, February 4, the Steyning exchange students will visit the Asturias region of Spain for their return visit.
Head teacher Nick Wergan said: “A school language exchange is a rite of passage for our language learners, one of these new to be forgotten school experiences.
“Language learning is a key skill for success, and we are pleased to have similar exchange with our French and German partner schools soon.”