~from 13-year-old Florida participant as posted on her social media account
We also suspected that the Clearwater teens would benefit just as much from this interactive experience. To our delight, the Clearwater teens who hosted these Madrid students as siblings and friends formed strong bonds of friendship. Unlike typical travel programs where participants act as mere observers, this group of students was given the authentic opportunity to become successful “networked persons.” Alongside their global partners, they lay the foundation to be open-minded and respectful citizens of the world. They became active, compassionate and lifelong learners, well-equipped with 21st Century skills to learn from and interact with their connected world in responsible ways.
Even more incredible is that this experience is an extension of a global project that began in January of 2014 between four World Languages classrooms. Contextualized learning, exploration of self and new ideas, and leaving the "comfort zone" helped these students to better prepare for life in their impending workforce-future.