Step Out of the Classroom and Step Into a New Country!

By Lexy Deutsch, Program Assistant, Short-term ESL and American Culture Programs

Are you looking for a way to help engage your students in your Spanish class? Perhaps you perfected your Spanish language skills abroad and you understand how valuable—and fun—practicing a second language with native speakers can be. Have you considered a short-term school exchange program? If your answer is NO, here are FOUR great reasons why you should consider a short-term school exchange program!

1. Help your students stand out in the future

There is a huge deficit in the knowledge of foreign language in the United States and that very skill is highly valued by professions across the world (Helmore, The Guardian). According to The Guardian writer Edward Helmore, we must “show students that a second language is crucial in the job market-that they can’t be a whole global citizen without one” (Helmore, The Guardian). You must urge your students to invest in mastering a foreign language. What better way to do that than by taking your students to Spain!

2. School exchange has lasting results

There are certain events in life that people never forget, and traveling abroad as a teen is one of those events. Not only will a school exchange program be unforgettable, but traveling abroad with teens has other surprising results. According to a study performed by The Wagner Group, “adults who took educational trips between the ages of 12 and 18 had both better grades and higher incomes” (Strutner, The Huffington Post). Travel inspires curiosity and an urge to learn more, and therefore leads to better grades and a higher income. Set your students up for success and create a partnership with a sister school in Spain!

3. The whole school will benefit from a school exchange program

It is not just the students traveling abroad who will benefit from a school exchange program. Your entire high school benefits because half the program entails international students shadowing in your high school. The international students will be present in not only language classes, but every class of the day. They will add new stories, perspectives, and insights to class discussions. Plus you are never too old to learn! As a teacher you will find yourself newly inspired by the international exchange students present in your classroom.

4. We often learn more when we step outside the classroom

Learning a foreign language is extremely difficult, unless you are completely surrounded by it. A school exchange program allows students to completely immerse themselves in a new language. The learning never stops when you are learning a foreign language in the respective country where it is spoken. School exchange programs go farther than that, often this might be the first time the participant is traveling outside of the United States. At a young age, the teenagers experience a completely foreign environment, which often leads to new realizations about oneself. As one Spanish teacher said, “The students came back transformed, more mature and with a greater awareness of the world…everyone said it was the best experience of their lives.”

CCI Greenheart’s School to School Exchange program with Spain is a truly reciprocal exchange program. You and your students will host guests from your sister school and then you have the opportunity to be hosted by your new friends.  Through this program students create a strong bond with an international peer, they will experience the Spanish culture in their own home, and they will experience what it feels like to live like a Spaniard!

To find out more about how to go abroad with your students, visit CCI Greenheart’s School to School Exchange Program.


Helmore, Edward. “Policy Needs to Change to Address the US and UK’s Language Deficits.” Guardian News and Media, 11 Oct. 2013.

Strutner, Suzy. “Teens Who Took Educational Trips Get Better Grades, Have Higher Incomes Than Those Who Didn’t.” The Huffington Post, 01 Nov. 2013.