Intercambio con Oakcrest
Forging ahead from abroad
Over the past three years, Oakcrest School in McLean has expanded its foreign exchange program, welcoming girls from Spain, Chile, Mexico and Korea for 10 weeks to a year. This January, Oakcrest reversed the exchange, sending sophomore Giorgina Agostini to Madrid for three weeks.
Agostini first was inspired to travel to Spain to improve her Spanish and enrich her understanding of Spanish culture and history. The school was excited to provide this opportunity for her and enhance the Oakcrest exchange program.
Agostini attended Colegio Orvalle, an all-girls Catholic school guided by the spirituality of Opus Dei, the same school that sends exchange students to Oakcrest. Agostini’s trip coincided with semester examinations, which she would not have been ready for. But with the help of Cecilia Marquez, Oakcrest academic dean, Agostini’s teachers devised independent study projects for her to replace the examinations.
In Madrid, Agostini stayed with Alicia Cruz Gomez, an exchange student who spent the first three months of the school year at Oakcrest. Since her intent was to improve her Spanish, Agostini was placed one grade below her own and attended classes every day.
Faith played an important role in Agostini’s experience. She took advantage of the chance to attend daily Mass, confession, character workshops and meditations, all geared toward spiritual growth.
“I enjoyed going to Mass, because it is so beautiful in Spanish,” said Agostini.
Upon her return, Oakcrest worked with Agostini to ease her transition back. “The teachers at Oakcrest were very helpful and flexible with their schedule,” Agostini said. “They were happy to meet with me during or after school if I needed it.”
When asked if she would recommend this type of program to others, her response was a resounding “Yes.”
“My Spanish has improved tremendously,” she said. “I am confident speaking the language, and my writing and grammar skills have improved greatly. I have also made everlasting friendships with my classmates, and the host family and I have developed a special bond. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
Agostini’s experience opens new doors for the future, as Oakcrest works to expand the exchange program and provide such an opportunity to more girls.