SFC Spanish Trip to Madrid

Spanish isn’t just a Language

There are times when you sit in Spanish class looking at a long line of verb endings and it feels like just another list to memorise. 

What if you actually knew who decided all those verb endings, and why they were even necessary? Wouldn’t these lessons have more meaning if you knew the link between Spain and South America, instead of a vague understanding that Argentinians also speak Spanish? How about discovering what all the little flamenco figures in the tourist shops were actually about?

When twelve girls got on a bus at 3.00am on a Thursday morning, we thought we had a general idea of what we were going to do once we reached Madrid - see the sights, eat some Spanish tortillas and practice our Spanish speaking with Miss Diaz and Mrs Mooney. While we weren’t completely wrong, we definitely did not have the full picture of how much there was to learn.

We weren’t just learning the history of some of Spain’s most famed painters at Museo Reina Sofía or of literary minds such as Miguel de Cervantes. Nor were we limited to shopping in Gran Vía or the scenery at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, where the whole city of Madrid was laid out before us.

We also jumped into the middle of a Brexit debate, when we met people working in the British embassy in Madrid. Less than 24 hours after the Spanish King had walked through its doors, we too were at the Houses of Parliament. We went to exhibitions and to costume museos, and I learned that 'crazy' music was not just limited to America in the 70s.

The trip to Madrid allowed us to understand why we had chosen Spanish as a language either to study in school or as a hobby. This wasn’t just due to the places we visited, but also to the incredible insights Miss Diaz and Mrs Mooney, as natives, were able to provide.

They were able to share the scandalous details about every meal, museum and painting. It was as if we had private tour guides! It was a trip that opened my eyes to depth of Spanish culture not just as a part of my A Levels, but as a way of life. Gracias a todo el mundo.

Lilibet O’Connor, SFC2