CN SpanishExchange hero 1920pxFrom February 27 to March 6, students from Colegio Salesiano in Alcalá de Guadaíra, Sevilla, Spain, visited Nueva School for a cultural exchange, un intercambio. Following the Mandarin exchange in January, and preceding the Japanese exchange in late March, the Spanish exchange is the second of three Nueva Middle School eighth-grade pre-culmination trip visits.

This year, Veronica Guevara preceded the exchange with a visit to Colegio Salesiano during the February break in order to strengthen this newer of the middle school exchanges ( She met with Spanish students and faculty, observed classes, introduced SEL skills and games, and gave an overview of Design Thinking. She also helped host their exchange student parent information night, to provide better understanding of Nueva and the Bay Area for families, many of whom were sending their students to the US for the first time. This visit deepened common understandings of the exchange, and helped to align goals with Nueva’s middle school faculty working group’s task of “Creating Global Citizens and a 21st-Century Exchange.”

Nueva eighth-grade students prepared for the visit starting in October by corresponding through email, social media, and Skype. This helped students and families get to know one another, practice Spanish (and for Spanish students, English), and prepare for the exchange. Nueva students outlined their schedules for their Spanish counterparts so that they could follow them to their humanities, writing, math, science, Spanish, PE and elective classes. The Spanish students also had a tie-dye orientation experience to welcome them to Nueva and greater California, as well as a rock climbing class, steel drums workshop, visit to Google Campus, bowling, and San Francisco sightseeing experience.

In addition to the daily interactions, highlights of the visit include preparation and participation in guest author Steven Nightingale’s eighth grade STARPAP book talk on Granada, Pomegranate in the Hand of God. Nueva students read and discussed Nightingale’s book, coming up with questions around the convivencia period of 717–1492 CE Spain. Spanish students also read a chapter before visiting, posed questions, and received signed copies as a memento of the visit.

CN SpanishExchange imbed 500pxIn Spanish class, Nueva and Colegio Salesiano students had a cross-cultural discussion on micro-machismo culture, after viewing a short Spanish video, A mí también me ha pasado (It has happened to me, too; This short video presented voices of prominent female Spanish government officials, business leaders, and artists, who talked about times when they experienced sexist or macho micro-aggressions. Students wrote first a private response on sticky notes (in choice of Spanish or English), which only the teachers would see. They then wrote public responses and posted them around the classroom — all in silent reflection. Nueva-Colegio Salesiano students then did a gallery reflective walk, responding to what they read in Spanish or English. Following up, there were comments, questions, and appreciations.

Nueva students look forward to continuing the dialogue, learnings, and discussions during their visit to Colegio Salesiano in May. These experiences help students develop a culturally competent lens, impacts their arc of formation as global citizens, and helps prepare them not only for upper school trips but for future work as leaders in the world.


 March 24, 2017



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