The three Spanish exchange students who wrapped up their four-week stay at Malvern Prep on March 10 will miss many things about the U.S., especially the friends they made on campus. But one distinctly Philadelphia amenity stands out.
“The cheesesteaks… We’ll definitely miss the cheesesteaks.”
Andres Navarro, 15, Christian Aalvik, 15, and Jorge Bravo, 14, attend Colegio Alfonso XII, one of Spain’s premier prep schools, in San Lorenzo, Spain. Founded in 1875, the coed, Catholic, K-12 school is housed in a 16th century monastery, El Escorial, built by King Philip II and located 25 miles outside of Madrid. Its mission mirrors Malvern Prep’s mission with the same emphasis on Augustinian values and academic excellence.
One of the major differences appreciated by the boys was the variety offered by campus life at Malvern. At their school in Spain, each group of students stays in the same classroom all day and teachers rotate in and out of the room to teach different subjects. Moving around the Malvern campus and learning with a range of students was a new experience they greatly enjoyed.
Andres was hosted by the Zimniski family and followed sophomore Nick Zimniski's schedule. Jorge was hosted by freshman Bill Fris and his family, while Christian was hosted by sophomore Mike Rudy and his family. The boys listed ceramics classes, the food in Stewart Hall, and a dance with Academy of Notre Dame among the highlights of their time at Malvern, and agreed their English improved a great deal during their visit. They also took trips to Washington, DC, New York City and Philadelphia.
Malvern’s Global Student Exchange program seeks to provide additional diversity to our school and expose our students to students of different cultures and the world beyond. Over the course of the past three years, with the guidance of Global Student Exchange Director Lida Rosle, Malvern Prep has established partnerships with schools in Europe, Latin America and Australia. The school has hosted exchanges with students abroad and has also sent students abroad. The partner schools not only share the same Augustinian values, but also the vision of promoting global learning. During the summer, groups of Malvern students will be traveling abroad to study at two schools: Colegio San Agustin in Panama and St. Augustine's College in Sydney, Australia.