Unitas in Action: Malvern’s Global Exchange Program

From January 13 to February 3, six Malvern students will study abroad at Real Colegio Alfonso XII, an Augustinian school in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain.


Courtesy of Stephen Borish

Michael Guardiola ‘25, Friar Life Editor

The three week excursion will see six Malvern students staying with Spanish host families and attending Real Colegio Alfonso XII. Malvern students making the trip include Braden Mullray, Colman McGinley, Luke McGovern, Michael Guardiola, Tyler Kenney, and Will Daphtary. Ms. Teresa Lohse, Director of Global Programming, says the opportunity is an exciting one for all Malvern students.

“In Spain there is so much that is new; from the language, to the food, to the history, it is amazing what you can learn,” Lohse said.

About an hour northwest from Madrid and in the center of Spain, El Escorial provides sights to see and experiences to be had for Malvern’s students. In a new environment like El Escorial, Lohse emphasized how Malvern wants to give an immersive experience to their traveling students.

“I’m going to be accompanying the group for the first four days, which will be great to see the classes and help [the group] with their transition. But, I think it is important for me to return [to Malvern] to give all of them a chance to be on their own and navigate through everything themselves,” Lohse said.

Along with school on the weekdays, students and their families will take trips every weekend to see important spots like Segovia, Toledo, and Madrid. Lohse included how, in the past, students could find some Malvern in different environments like El Escorial.

“I think that shared tradition in Augustinian Values is so important. It doesn’t mean that someone who’s not Catholic cannot participate, but, these values are so important because when students go abroad, they look for things that remind them of home. [Real Colegio Alfonso XII and its] community has the same Augustinian ethos and it is just comforting,” Lohse said.

Mr. Stephen Borish, Class of 2010 and Upper School science instructor, was one of Malvern’s first students to participate in Malvern’s Global Exchange. Borish’s exchange group is pictured above. From left to right, Malvern students include JJ Moser, Julian Venonski, and Andrew Molloy. Borish described his welcoming process to El Escorial and how his host family was great at exposing him to what Spain had to offer. 

“When I got there, it was very much focused on getting to know the culture. We did lots of trips and had orientations with [Real Colegio Alfonso XII],” Borish said.

He reflected on how beneficial the experience was to him personally by building relationships with students, teachers, and religious leaders in El Escorial. In particular, Borish bonded with Fr. Castro, an Administrator, Internship Coordinator, and one of Real Colegio Alfonso XII’s Augustinian priests.

“It was life changing. I got to meet so many new people that I still have relationships with today. If I can go to Spain, I will definitely stay with them,“ Borish said.

Life changing opportunities like these don’t come often, and Malvern’s Global Exchange Program does a wonderful job in providing them to all students.

“I’m very grateful for the experience that I got. I would recommend to any student who’s interested in going on a trip, that they should absolutely take advantage of what Malvern has to offer,” Borish said.