Hola Coleraine!

Matthew Cochrane and Ian Gilchrist (leaders) pictured at Coleraine Inst with the Spanish Exchange students who are staying in Coleraine as part of a 4 week exchange programme. CR30-316PL
Matthew Cochrane and Ian Gilchrist (leaders) pictured at Coleraine Inst with the Spanish Exchange students who are staying in Coleraine as part of a 4 week exchange programme. CR30-316PL

TWO local men have been showing the sights of the North Coast to Spanish teenagers.

Ian Gilchrist and Matthew Cochrane, both from Coleraine, have been teaching in Spain for the past five years.

The former Coleraine Inst and University of Ulster students decided to set up the one-month exchange and bring ten students from the Valladolid region to the Province.

Speaking to The Times last week Ian said that the children were having a ball.

“Both myself and Matthew have been teaching in Spain for the past five years.

“Matthew spent some time in Spain as part of his degree and I decided to follow him.

“We both took up posts teaching English at an Academy school called Warwick House in the Valladolid region, two hours north of Madrid.

“In a bid to help the children further with their English we decided to set up this exchange programme. It also gave us a chance to show them a little bit of Northern Ireland, “ explained Ian.

“There are ten kids in total ageing from 13 to 17 years old, and they are having a total ball.

“Matthew and I are also enjoying being back home too” added Ian.

The children are staying with friends and family members of the pair. And, so far they’ve visited the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Belfast and had a walking tour of Londonderry.

They’ve also dipped their feet into the Atlantic Ocean with a group surf lesson and played rugby. On Sunday a few of the girls led Milk Cup teams in the parade through Coleraine.

“The exchange has been a great learning experience for both the pupils and their host families,” Ian explained.

“The kids have improved their English and the host families have been learning about the Spanish culture.”

Matthew and Ian will leave Spain later this summer to continue their studies: “We’ve had a great time in Spain and we will both be sorry to leave. It’s been a great experience for us both and it has broadened our horizons.

“I am going to Newcastle University to study primary education with Spanish while Matthew will be going to Birmingham to do a PGCE in secondary education with Spanish and French.”