Spanish exchange program returns

Travel policy allows exchange for next school year


Photo courtesy of Mark Bauman

Caroline Ohlandt, co-news editor

South’s Foreign Language Department intends to resume the Spanish foreign exchange trip next school year after two trip-less years due to Covid-19 overseas travel limitations, Mark Bauman, Spanish Teacher and exchange program co-founder, said.

As Covid-19 case numbers have reduced, travel restrictions between Spain and the United States have been lifted, Bauman said. Spanish students are now scheduled to visit Glenview next fall, and South students will travel to Spain the following spring, he said.

“Students from Spain will be here during Homecoming [week] in October and we will go to Spain for spring break [in] 2023,” Bauman said. “In Chicago, [Spanish students will] take a boat tour and visit Michigan Avenue. While in Spain, [South students will] visit the Alhambra Palace in Granada.”

In addition to sightseeing, Spanish exchange students will shadow their host partner in school and live at their partner’s home during their 12-day stay, Matt Johlie, Spanish Teacher and foreign exchange program co-founder, said. In Spain the following spring, South students will live with the same Spanish student and spend a day at their partner’s school.

Since Covid-19 has brought uncertainty to many families, Interim Principal Dr. Rosanne Williamson emphasized District 225’s efforts to create financial safety for exchange students in case Covid-19 cases resurge next year.

“The travel insurance guarantees a full refund and protection for families if the trip has to be canceled,” Williamson said.

Applicants are thoroughly reviewed and selected based on their performance in Spanish classes and their overall character, Johlie said.

The students selected for the exchange were announced in the week before spring break, Johlie said.

“We try to get a clear profile of the student to see if they are right for the exchange program,” Johlie said. “[The student’s] Spanish teachers are the primary source, but we also go to their counselor, the Dean’s Office, and other adults in the building the student has connected with.”

Looking forward to next year’s exchange, Johlie expressed that traveling abroad will be an unforgettable experience for South’s Spanish students.

“[The exchange] will be among the highlights of the high school careers for the students who are fortunate enough to participate,” Johlie said.