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The Spanish 4 and 5 Honors Mexico Trip


If you’re comfortable with complete Spanish immersion, the Spanish 4 and 5 honors Mexico trip is for you. At least that’s the story coming from the trip organizers and the trip attendees themselves. The Spanish trip was a six-day excursion with Hastings High School to Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. The trip was offered to the juniors and seniors enrolled in Spanish 4 and 5 Honors, but it wasn’t just a school-arranged beach vacation. Rather, the trip was an expansive and immersive experience. 

According to Sr. Lopez, the Spanish 4 and 5 Honors teacher and the organizer of the trip, the students did a pretty good job at self-selecting who was actually prepared to go on the trip in terms of language skill, as the tour guide spoke only in Spanish and there would not be English accommodations. Cost was another issue, as the trip was not affordable for everyone and there was not money available for aid. These circumstances ensured a smaller, more tight-knit group.

According to Sr. Lopez, within the group there were definitely friend groups, but the trip allowed for more socialization outside of social circles, and all of the kids were extremely kind and accepting of each other. One student who went on the trip, Emma Gelman, said that she had opportunities to talk to and get to know kids who she had never really spoken to before. Sr. Lopez also noted this, which he noted is a nice contrast from the clique-y environment of a small high school. 

Photo credits: Tobias Navarrete

As for the actual structure and itinerary of the trip, both Sr. Lopez and Emma agreed that there was a nice balance between the amount of activities, free time, and schooling. Sr. Lopez created a trip blog which contains the itinerary, some pictures, and details about each day. The students and chaperones slept in a four-star hotel and there were three meals provided. The students also attended an immersion program at a school called “Habla” five out of the six days. They attended classes in the morning and then an activity in the afternoon, which included swimming in cenotes (natural water pits or sinkholes), cooking classes, and visiting the Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The group also had a tour guide named Arturo with them the entire time. Arturo would only give directions in Spanish, so the students would be immersed in the language as well as the beautiful sights. Despite all of the instruction, one student, Nitin Kodali, remarked that he found the trip to feel more like a vacation because of how the instruction was organized — swimming, cooking, and socialization.

The students were not just focusing on academics the entire time; they also had some free time and a beach day at the end of the trip. According to Emma Gelman, students had three planned meals and a structured schedule each day, but they would have a bit of free time at night and before dinner. She added that the free time was what you made of it; she and her friends would often wake up early to grab coffee before lessons, and stay up a bit later to chat. However, there were some safety precautions regarding free time. For example, if students were to go out without a chaperone, they would have to be in groups of four or more. Nitin Kodali also believed that the free time was handled in the best way that it could have been, and even though it was limited and there were precautions, he was still happy with the amount of time the group got to walk around and shop with friends. On the last day, the group went to a beach club called Kokomo Beach Club. They spent the whole day there and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. This excursion was a fan favorite because it was a relaxing and rejuvenating way to end an active, adventurous week. Overall, everybody agreed that this trip was an extremely successful venture, and hopefully it will be planned for years to come!

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