Pupils get ready for immersion camp

By Kaysha Brownlie

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Napier Girls' High School Spanish teacher Nikol Stirland is preparing for a Spanish immersion camp at Riverbend Bible Camp this weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland
Napier Girls' High School Spanish teacher Nikol Stirland is preparing for a Spanish immersion camp at Riverbend Bible Camp this weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland

The Riverbend Camp in Havelock North will be transformed into a Spanish fiesta this weekend when nearly 150 people from throughout the country arrive.

Napier Girls' High School Spanish teacher Nikol Stirland has spearheaded the camp which will give secondary students the chance to flaunt their language skills, learn to cook and spice things up with traditional dance.

About 116 secondary students from 10 schools will descend on the camp where teachers, as well as four professors and lecturers from Massey University, will share their Spanish knowledge.

Learning a language is compulsory in the first two years at Napier Girls' High School and camps such as this put the students' newly learned skills to the ultimate test.

"I just wanted to do it for my students at Napier Girls' High School," Ms Stirland said.

"We've been working hard to build students' international capability and been helping to develop their skills."

In previous years the school had organised a trip to Japan, a trip to Noumea, as well as one to Argentina last year. Ms Stirland said she was keen to organise a trip that was more accessible to everyone.

She had attended a similar camp in Rotorua a few years ago and had wanted to recreate the same thing ever since.

"I wanted something low cost, something everyone could attend."

She wanted her students to have something to look forward to and it was a great chance for them to meet native speakers.

Having studied Spanish at school herself and the language having always been a passion of hers, Ms Stirland said giving her students more opportunities was important to her.

Lindisfarne College Spanish teacher Annette Jeffery has jumped onboard with Ms Stirland to help organise the camp.

"It's been a pleasure to work with her."

She said it was important for students to apply what they had been learning in the classroom and camps like this helped them do that in a "fun and meaningful way".

"We hope to promote the importance of studying a second language and give learners a pathway to further study, travel or work opportunities."

A statement on their guiding document, The New Zealand Curriculum, states: "Languages link people locally and globally. They are spoken in the community, used internationally and play a role in shaping the world."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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