Mano A Mano: Hanover High’s Spanish Exchange

Yoli, Janira and Sarah enjoy Hanover! Photo: Alexandra Shworak

by Sarah Ramirez

It was Sunday, September 5th at 10 PM, and Hanover High School was bustling with the anxious chatter of 20 families in the SAU parking lot. As strange as it seems, this was no accident, for the families were awaiting the arrival of the temporary new additions to their homes: the Spanish exchange students. 

For the next 18 days, twenty students taking Spanish from Hanover High School hosted 17 girls and 3 boys from Málaga, Spain, as part of the Mano a Mano exchange program. After the highly-anticipated late night arrival of the Spaniards, Hanover High students spent all of Labor day getting to know their Spanish student. The long weekend ended with a welcome party hosted by the Kornfeld family. 
The Spanish students spent their time in the United States doing various activities and visiting multiple cities, factories, and (of course) shopping malls. After their first day with their host families, the students shadowed their American “brothers” and “sisters” here at Hanover High. The rest of their first week, they visited Burlington and the Ben and Jerry’s factory, hiked Mt. Cardigan, and visited various Upper Valley locations. The following week, the Spanish students traveled to New York City by train and stayed for four days. During the final week, they graciously gave presentations to Hanover’s Spanish classes and spent time in West Lebanon. Their stay in Hanover came to a conclusion with a farewell party at the Allen residence.
On weekends, Spanish students had free time to be with their host families. Some families took their exchange student on trips to places such as Six Flags, while others remained in the comfort of home, or gathered at various places around Hanover. The Piper family in particular opened their house to the Spaniards and Hanover students every Sunday, offering a place to hang out, play games, eat, and just have a good time. 
The final day of the Spaniard’s stay in the US was spent in Boston with their Hanover students, completing a Freedom Trail Tour and shopping at Quincy Market. Although fun activities abounded — including getting airbrush tattoos and eating gelato — the day had a solemn note to it; saying goodbye to the Spaniards was imminent. At the airport, students said their teary farewells and the Americans saw their friends off. Fortunately, this was not the last goodbye; American students will be traveling to Spain this upcoming April break. For now, the memories created with the Spanish students will stay vivid in the minds of Hanover kids and the Spanish teachers, that is, until they create new ones in the spring.

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