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A bit of Spain at Scecina

By Beth Murphy,
Director of Marketing Communications

There were more than a few tears as 15 Spanish students said goodbye to Scecina one recent morning.

The students hailed from Andalusia in the southern Spain; several came from the capital city of Seville and others live in smaller towns. They came as part of the Short-Term Program of Foreign Links Around the Globe (FLAG), an international student exchange program.

The tears that flowed on departure day were real. There were long embraces and photos taken with phones. The students said they genuinely enjoyed their three-week stay at Scecina and made friendships they hope to continue. They formed close relationships with their host families and with the students of Scecina.

“It’s great that Scecina has the ability to bring people together,” said John Hegarty, Scecina’s vice president of community initiatives and also the head of the international student program. “It does foster life-long friendships. It was amazing for me to see the close friendships that developed in such a short time.”

Victoria Gomez Fernandez, from the town of Ubrique in the province of Cadiz, said the people were her favorite thing about Indianapolis.

“I liked the people because they’re very close and very friendly.” She enjoyed listening to American radio and discovering the flavor of pumpkin. She bought a pumpkin at the orchard and made sure her host family carved a jack-o-lantern, a tradition not practiced in Spain. She also bought a gold-metallic pair of Converse tennis shoes.

Victoria loved going to a Crusaders football game. “People make it a big party, just for a football game. In Spain we don’t have the band and cheerleaders. It was very fun.” She wanted to come to the United States because she always has watched American movies. She has been taking English since she was little, 5 or 6, and says her English skills improved during her short stay.

The Spanish students attended school several days and also toured sites Downtown, and Marian University, the Indianapolis Zoo, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. They attended some classes at Scecina and spent two days presenting Spanish culture to Scecina students in Spanish and Catholic Theology classes.

“This particular group did help our higher-level Spanish students with their Spanish,” said Mr. Hegarty.

“These programs expose our students to different cultures and different ways of looking at the world,” he said. “They expose our students to the similarities that we all have as human beings.”

 Scecina is hosting 27 international students for the whole year and will welcome more short-term students this year from France, Australia, New Zealand, China and maybe more. 

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