Guardian Stories

Spain

Mandy Schnabel
León, Spain

It was magical for Margaret to return to Leon – she was on a cloud of happiness to see her old "haunts" and especially to be with her "Mama"! Thank you for the experience the program provided my daughter in 2016! My daughter, Rose, will be applying this year for what I know will be a summer filled with the same gift of language and life!"

Dear IUHPFL Staff,

Just wanted to send you a few photos to show you the success and impact your program has on not only the student participants, but also their families.

This summer our family of 5 visited my daughter, Margaret's host mom, Virtudes, in Leon, Spain. Margaret was a 2016 IUHPFL Leon student. We stopped in Leon for a couple of days before we hiked the last 117km mi of the Camino (also due to your program!). The Camino was AMAZING -- I find myself thinking about it in some way every day these past weeks -- highly recommend it! And, it was all because the instructors took those Leon 2016 kids on it for the last 20km walk into Santiago – IU Honors impacts people way beyond just the students themselves! It has been amazing to see where Margaret lived last summer as well as to get to know her host mom. It is easy to see how both made such an impact on her – and now us!

I’d like to say a bit more about Virtudes, Margaret's 2016 host mom. One thing you tell prospective IUHPFL students/parents is that the programs are fortunate enough to have repeat host families for the students. Now that I've met Virtudes, I see what a gift this is! I believe Virtudes said that she's had approximately 20 students in the last 10 years (she takes 2 at a time most years). She is truly gifted in sharing the Spanish language and culture with those students! Virtudes says she knows about two words in English. I know about two words in Spanish. She spoke Spanish with our family. Margaret translated lots and my other two children are pretty competent with Spanish so they were understanding and communicating with Virtudes easily. But, what started to happen is that I started to understand what Virtudes was saying – the way she spoke, used her hands in conversation. It was very easy to see how she would set students at ease and help build their skills as the weeks pass, all in Spanish. What a gift to the Leon IUHPFL program!!!!

It was magical for Margaret to return to Leon – she was on a cloud of happiness to see her old "haunts" and especially to be with her "Mama"! Thank you for the experience the program provided my daughter in 2016! My daughter, Rose, will be applying this year for what I know will be a summer filled with the same gift of language and life!

Especially with how things are in the US today, broadening, enlightening and educating our kids to the world they live in – in a foreign language – must be perpetuated and encouraged. Thank you for all you've done to create and facilitate a program that makes such an impact on the students' lives--and those of their family!

Have a good school year,

Mandy S. (IUHPLF Alumna – Krefeld ’86)