Charlottesville, Va., September 14, 2016 – Twelve Spanish exchange students in grades equivalent to American sophomores, juniors, and seniors arrived in Charlottesville on September 8 for an eleven-day exchange visit at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.

The students, from Colegio Árula in Alalpardo, northeast of Madrid, are being housed with School families and will attend classes, sporting events, and other after-school activities during their stay. A day trip to Richmond will include a guided tour of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, while a field trip with the eleventh and twelfth grades will allow students to view Freedom Riders at the Paramount Theater followed by a trip to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Weekend activities with host families will allow the exchange students to enjoy a taste of American culture in the area.

“The six boys and six girls who are with us are studying English and interested in developing cross-cultural understanding and English competency,” said Beth Miller, associate head of school for academics.

“They were eager to see the United States and experience American culture to the fullest with a teenage companion kind enough to have them join them in their classes and after school life. From what we’ve heard from many of the School’s host families, they are kind, fun, and gracious guests.”

St. Anne’s-Belfield School decided to participate in the exchange program after being put in touch with the chair of the World Language Department at Colegio Árula. The Colegio already had an existing relationship with a school in Poland, and was looking for a similar partner in the United States.

“We had a conversation about this model of exchange, specifically that it would be financially accessible but high impact, allow for relationship building and homestays, and agreed that it could work,” said Miller.

Ideally, in June 2017 many of the St. Anne’s-Belfield School students currently hosting students will visit Spain and stay with their new Spanish friends’ families.