Spanish students, aged 13 and 14 years, will attend a summer camp at Moyne Community School for the next few weeks.
The event began on June 29 last and will continue until July 20.
The majority of the students taking part in the camp are from Madrid, but there are others who hail from other towns and cities including Valencia.
Maeve McNerney is one of the organisers of the event which has been going from strength to strength with each passing year.
“Students attend classes in Moyne CS on weekday mornings, with plenty of activities and local excursions during the week,” she added, before pointing out that other activities included Pitch n Putt in Ballinalee; swimming at the pool in Cavan; an Irish dancing workshop with Olivia Higgins; Bowling in Longford and Gaelic football, etc.
“They were also down surfing in Strandhill and this weekend we have a camping trip with Shannon River Adventure in Rooskey.”
The camp also provides the students with an opportunity to make friends with local teenagers there own age and forge long lasting friendships between the Spanish and Irish communities.
“Each student is staying with a different Irish family, and are getting used to their Irish brothers and sisters, and the different food and mealtimes,” Ms McNerney continued.
“It really is a great opportunity for the students to experience a new culture and to immerse themselves in the Irish way of life.”
Of course events like this cannot happen without the kindness of the north Longford community and Ms McNerney pointed to the warmth of the welcome that the Spanish students received in the locality.
“The whole community here makes them feel very welcome,” she added.
“From the staff at Moyne CS, to the bus drivers, and the bingo regulars when we interrupt their peace and quiet!
“The host families are the ones who make this camp really special and memorable for the students, with many of them staying in contact with their Irish brothers and sisters when they go back.
“Some of them return year after year to the same family.”
Meanwhile, a number of the Spanish students spoke to the Leader about the wonderful experience they were having in Moyne.
“I love this camp because it has lots of activities and all of them are so funny,” said Jorge.
“The host family is so nice and the house is very big.”
Meanwhile for Darío, it’s the scenery and kindness of the local people that is to the forefront of his mind.
“I love the green fields here, and also the people are very nice and kind,” he smiled before pointing out that he also like the local food because it was so different to Spanish food.
And, even though the Irish climate is overcast and lacking in sunshine most of the time, the weather, while not exactly appreciated by the students who live in a nice hot climates, it is certainly not a deterrent to their visit.
“I love Ireland, but I don't like the weather - it's too cold,” added Ángela.
“The people here are kind and Ireland is different because we are in the countryside instead of the city and I like that.”
Meanwhile, Pablo Ávila said that while Ireland was very different to Spain, the camp provided him with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about those differences.
“Everything is so different,” he laughed.
“The weather, language and the food, but this camp makes life here easier with the teachers and the activities.
“Also, the families are really good and help you with everything you need.”