With the aim of promoting and improving the learning of Basque in our school, in the last year of Primary Education we organise an exchange visit, lasting 7 days, during which St. Patrick’s pupils have the opportunity to stay with Basque-speaking families and attend a Basque-speaking school. We targeted Azpietia, an area which fulfilled the set requirements, reaching an agreement with the Iraurgi School in this locality.
In exchange for the immersion in Basque offered to our pupils, we provide Iraurgi pupils the opportunity to practise their English, under the supervision of native speakers, during the school day, and later Spanish, during their stay with St. Patrick’s families.
Participation is optional and in the first year the response has been highly postive. Together with staff from Iraurgi we have paired up pupils, based on their tastes and hobbies, designed the exchange programmes ...
In March the Azpeitia group participate in the English Week and St. Patrick’s celebrations with us. They have the opportunity to take part in a project linked to English or Irish culture before completing this enriching experience.
Our pupils visit Iraurgi in May and immerse themselves in the Basque environment both at school and at host families’ homes. The stay likewise coincides with the school’s Iraurgi week during which special activities take place. Host and guest pupils draw up their own projects: theatre, verse and the Urola railway.
We can vouch to the success of the project. It not only provides a unique linguistic experience, but also creates novel situations, outside the normal family environment, in which the pupil develops both autonomy and a heightened sense of responsibility.