Galicia, one of the seventeen autonomous regions of Spain, is a coastal land situated along the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, just over Portugal. The region is divided in four provinces –A Coruña, Lugo Ourense and Pontevedra– which borrow the name from each of the main town in every province. Apart from these towns there are others of equal or superior importance: Vigo, situated in the province of Pontevedra is the engine of Galician economy, an industrial town that harbours an important chunk of the Spanish fishing float, it also houses one of the most productive car factories in Europe. Ferrol, in the province of A Coruña, hosts one of the leading shipyards of Spain and, finally, Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia, a lively medieval town that holds a prestigious university as well as, according to belief, the tomb of Apostle Saint James. This belief has made Santiago the final destination of Europe’s most famous pilgrimage route, the way of Saint James.
Galician economy is strongly depending on the primary sector (mainly fishing and cattle); nevertheless other sectors like motor manufacturing and ship production are in rise. Tourism is also increasing at steady pace as more and more tourists choose the mild clima of Galicia as their holiday destination.
Galicia is a bilingual region, almost all its three million inhabitants are fluent in Spanish and Galician –a language derived from Latin that is very akin to Portuguese.
Our school is located in the vicinage of Melide or in the Comarca da Terra de Melide. The area or comarca is the living place of 15,000 inhabitans most of which have Galician language as their mother tongue. The town has also some historical relevance due to its location, since the Middle Ages has been one of the main stops of the pilgrimage way to Santiago. The economy of Melide relays strongly on agriculture, meat processing and tourism. As long as traditional culture is concerned, Melide has managed to preserve its traditions along the centuries. One can still see farmers gathering together to do some colective labours in the fields, hear the elderly telling folk tales to the youngsters or even watch the boys playing traditional games.
Melide’s High School was founded in 1967. Nowadays, a staff of 72 teachers is in charge of 542 students. Teaching times are scheduled in two shifts: boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18, secondary-school and A-Level students (students of ESO and Bachillerato, respectively) are taught in the morning as well as a course on woodcraft. The evening is reserved for adults that want to enhance in further education. In this shift, several ‘Programas de Garantía Social’ (courses for the unemployed) and several language courses are also conveyed.