|Pictures, from top: Niskayuna
students and their counterparts from
Spain visited the Six Flags Great Escape
Fright Fest; Exchange students presented
information about their high school and
culture to Niskayuna studnets; and
Niskayuna High School Spanish teachers
Lainie Christou and Shana Malkis and
Maria Angeles Martinezin and Dimitri Zihlmann
from Colegio Agave
in Almería, Spain.
group of 17 students and two teachers from
Almería, Spain, spent two weeks earlier this
month on an exchange in Niskayuna, getting to
know their host students and families in the
district, visiting Niskayuna schools and
classrooms, and touring some historic, cultural,
and recreational sites in the district.
That was before the group from Spain and their
counterparts from Niskayuna got to spend a few
extra days together when Hurricane Sandy
disrupted travel plans.
The visit was part of a new exchange partnership
between Niskayuna High School and Colegio Agave
in Almería, which is in the coastal Southeastern
Andalucia Region of Spain.
The Spanish students stayed with 17 Niskayuna
students, 14 of whom will travel to Spain as
part of the exchange from March 23 through April
6, 2013. Niskayuna High School Spanish teachers
Lainie Christou and Shana Malkis, who hosted
Colegio Agave teachers Dimitri Zihlmann and
Maria Angeles Martinezin Niskayuna, will be part
of that trip.
During the October part of the exchange in
Niskayuna, students visited Howe Caverns, Six
Flags Great Escape Fright Fest, and the New York
State Museum. They went on a haunted hayride,
went bowling, played laser tag and did a lot of
shopping and friendship bonding in each other’s
During their days in school, they visited the
classrooms at the high schools and spent one day
at the middle schools giving presentations on
life in Spain and in their Spanish high school.
The Almería group then went on to New York City
for three days of touring. They were set to fly
home early in the week of Oct. 29, but when
Hurricane Sandy arrived, they found themselves
stranded in the city. They made contact with
Christou, who reached out to the district host
families and then assured them that they were
always welcome back in Niskayuna. The Spanish
students and their teachers arrived back in the
area on Tuesday, Oct. 30, just in time to
participate in a Niskayuna High School
Halloween. The Colegio Agave group is planning
to fly home on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The Niskayuna group travelling to Spain will
spend one week touring the cities of Toledo,
Malaga, Sevilla and Madrid, and then spend one
week with their host families. During that week,
they will spend the day at the host high school.
"This is an integral part of our very successful
foreign language program here at Niskayuna High
school," said Señora Christou. "In addition we
offer foreign exchange programs in Germany,
France and a trip to Italy for Latin students.
The language immersion and experiences on these
trips as well as friendships that are formed are