Forging language and cultural ties between Wales and Spain is the aim of Nuria Albert-Penades.

Nuria, who is originally from Valencia in Spain and has lived in Wales for 19 years, has launched a new business, CulturAlive. It organises exchange visits for Welsh and Spanish youngsters, allowing them to sample the language and culture of the countries.

She is working with Rougemont School in Newport, where she also teaches conversational Spanish. 

The new business has been supported with a grant from the Kickstart programme, run jointly by Newport City Council and Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise.

The grant was used to develop the firm’s web site.

Families are carefully selected to give the visitors as full an experience as possible, both here in Wales and in Spain.

Nuria said: "It is not just about improving language skills, we want them to learn about lifestyle and culture too by experiencing it live."

Visits, which usually last between one and two weeks, can be tailored to the interests of the young person.

She said: “If they are particularly interested in sport or music we can emphasise this, or another aspect. We put a lot of effort into ensuring they have a pleasant stay.”

Rougemont students Charlotte Freegard and Ben Cuddihy have both been on exchange visits.

Charlotte said: “It was really enjoyable and I learnt an awful lot about Spanish life.”

Headmaster of Rougemont School Robert Carnevale said: "The programme allows students to be fully immersed in Spanish culture and it is proven that this is one of the most effective ways to develop and enhance language skills and ability.

“As Mrs Albert-Penades already works with our Year 12 and 13 students providing conversational lessons to assist them in their final exams it made sense that our students received the benefits of an exchange system.”

Martin Palmer, of UK Steel Enterprise, said:”We are delighted to have been able to support CulturAlive and wish the firm every success.

“It is good to see new businesses being launched, particularly those which help young people here and overseas, and play a part in promoting Welsh culture and tourism.”

Councillor John Richards, Newport City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Investment, said: “It is so important to Newport’s economy that we encourage new businesses into the city and we are pleased to work with our partners UK Steel Enterprise to support entrepreneurs such as Nuria. 

“This is an exciting venture that will not only help boost the local economy, but will enhance Newport’s cultural and educational offering.”

Grants of up to £1,500 are available to businesses that are starting up in Newport or have been trading for less than 12 months. For further information contact Newport City Council business services team on 01633 656656 or email