Meet Your Neighbor: An Interview with Dr. Marta Alfaro

Dr. Marta Alfaro with her family

We had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Marta Alfaro, Ridgefield resident, Ridgefield Academy parent, and pediatrician, to learn about her life here and how her family made the decision to move from London to the U.S., and ultimately to settle in Ridgefield. Marta is also the founder and Director of Camp Sol Spain, an intercultural immersion program that provides enriching travel experiences for students. Like many Ridgefield residents, her story is fascinating, and her love of our town is strong. So read on… and meet your neighbor!

We’d love to hear about your journey to the US and how you decided on Ridgefield as your home.

I attended medical school in Spain and completed a 10-year pediatric residency in the United Kingdom. In 2004, I came to the U.S. with my husband, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who was completing a fellowship in joint replacement at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. We were drawn to the welcoming nature and hospitality of the States and became American citizens.

When my husband became the head of Orthopedic Surgery at Danbury Hospital, his colleagues suggested Ridgefield as a great place for our family to live. We fell in love with Ridgefield and the stars aligned when we found our beautiful historic home right here on Main Street.

What do you most enjoy about being part of the Ridgefield community?

I love the friendliness of Ridgefield. There is a genuine sense of community and a sense of pride that we all feel living here. I truly believe people feel lucky to live in this town. It is such a beautiful town filled with wonderful and caring people. Neighbors help neighbors, so much like my home country of Spain. We have meal trains when a mama has a new baby, or a family member is sick. We have parades like Memorial Day honoring our veterans, numerous events at Ballard Park, and we rally for our sports teams.

Dr. Marta Alfaro is a Ridgefield resident, Ridgefield Academy parent, and pediatrician
Dr. Marta volunteering during pandemic

Ridgefield offers so many facets of people, and support at every corner of our community.

I was privileged to witness firsthand how helpful and generous my fellow Ridgefielders were during the pandemic. My husband and I are both medical doctors and during the pandemic he worked at Danbury Hospital, and I volunteered at RVNA vaccination clinics. We so appreciated the numerous neighbors reaching out offering help or showing gratitude. It takes a village as it is said, and I always add that Ridgefield is “the perfect one.”

How long has your family been a part of the Ridgefield Academy community?

We started our RA journey five years ago when our son Mateo was in 4th grade, and he is graduating this year. Since day one, every single person at RA made us really feel at home. We are really blessed to be part of this big family. 

What stood out to you when choosing RA as the school for your son?

The academics with inquiry-based learning, the beautiful campus with the most incredible Ridgefield views from the amazing athletic fields, the diversity, the supportive faculty, and the learning environment.

What has your experience been with RA through the years?

RA has a remarkable way of integrating children and easing transition. Transitions are tough for most children, and if the transition feels good, the experience can start on a positive note. It really felt like home from day one. The countless opportunities that RA offered and continues to offer Mateo are priceless.

The faculty, and every staff member at RA, are so enthusiastic and create a very positive, nurturing environment.

Mateo keeps getting challenged every day without even realizing. He is happy, loves his school, friends, teachers, and he is eager to learn. In my opinion, that can only be achieved if the student is in a safe and supportive school, where everyone goes above and beyond to help them blossom. 

8th Grade Speech for the Class of 2024
Mateo cooking Paella sharing traditions from Spain

What do you think are some of the best skills that your son learned at RA that will set him up for success in high school and beyond?

Problem solving and critical thinking, negotiation (speaking/debate), teamwork, how to ask questions, kindness, independence, and the value of friendship.

What would you say to families considering their options for their children’s education?

Our town has many great options. The best way to see if the fit is a good one for your child is to visit the campus and talk to the leaders of the school. Do their goals match yours? We were looking for a nurturing and diverse school with strong academics, a good athletics program, and great high school placements. RA has definitely exceeded our expectations.

Mateo on the RA field with friends
Showing Patriot Pride

What are some of your favorite things to do and traditions in Ridgefield?

I am definitely biased because I live there but I love my daily walk along Main Street meeting and greeting friendly neighbors. I also enjoy the Holiday Stroll, Halloween, the library with amazing programs, the Prospector Theater, the Ridgefield Playhouse, fishing at the Rec Center, and backyard gatherings with friends. 

Tell us about Camp Sol Spain and what you’d like other parents to know about the importance of language and cultural immersion.

Our bilingual sons and I spend our summers in Spain. I know firsthand the importance of learning a second language…and the benefits of introducing children to another culture. This led me to start Camp Sol Spain, a full Spanish language and cultural immersion program in San Sebastian, my hometown, and also a similar French program in nearby Biarritz, France. These programs are offered to kids aged 6 to 17 years old during the summer and also to groups of middle and high school students during the academic year. The students experience conversation-based classes, fun supervised activities, and day-to-day living in another culture. My aim is to help kids to become citizens of the world!

Travel and cultural immersion open up the world to young people.

And cultural immersion is a wonderful experience at any age. One summer, we were excited to welcome Patricia Carrington, an RA Upper School English teacher, and her family to the program. She participated as part of her RA professional development and her children were part of the Camp Sol Spain program. It was lovely to have all our worlds come together with this enriching experience.

Surfing at San Sebastian Zurriola Beach at Camp Sol Spain
Camp Sol Spain Cultural Immersion Program