Interacting with Peers in Morocco
Students of Arabic traveled to Morocco in February 2016, where they engaged in intercultural discussions with peers, put their language and bargaining skills to work at the souq, and received cooking lessons from "mama Kadijah" -- resulting in new vocabulary words, an appreciation for new spices, and a traditional home-cooked dinner of braewat and tajine of beef. Jamal Mavrikios, teacher and chaperone, recalls a moment at a local park:
"After lunch we walked to Aarsat Moulay Abd As-Salaam Park. We were soon joined by Moroccan school kids who were put into small groups with our kids and engaged them in simple Arabic conversation. The first time they tried, the kids were very hesitant to speak Arabic and conversation was awkward, full of long gaps and a tendency to fall back on French and English. However, by the time they moved to their second conversation partner the kids relaxed and conversation flowed much more easily. Afterward, one giddy student came to me and reported it was 'awesome' to interact with a Moroccan peer in Arabic."
Living La Dolce Vita in Salerno, Italy '16
"The duomo (cathedral) was gorgeous. With a courtyard in front – a perfect entrance – you step in and it's like you’re entering a portal to a new dimension. Immediately, our voices quieted. There is nothing but silence and the echo of our footsteps. Beautiful mosaic covered the walls, and the ceilings were arched with all different designs. After looking around the top level, we were lead into the crypt. The first color you see is gold. Lots and lots of gold. There were relics of San Mateo, the patron saint of Salerno."
Exchange Trips to Paris
Eighth grade French students visit schools in Paris each year -- Notre Dame de Sion and Ecole Alsacienne in 2016 -- as part of the schools' exchange program. They stay with correspondent host families, engage in French conversation, visit art museums, and immerse themselves into the daily lives of Parisians.
"I loved the complete immersion into Parisian culture. I was reminded of so many customs, and unspoken rules and those things that you grow up around but never question. Not only that, but I like to think that I am now capable of speaking French more casually, both in the sense that it comes easier, and my correspondent also taught me some slang." – Ina, Class of '20
"My favorite thing that I did while I was in Paris was go on a scooter ride. The dad in my host family owned a scooter and rode it safely everyday to work. He took me on two tours: one 'Paris by day' and one 'Paris by night.' It was spectacular! All of the history packed into the winding alleyways of Paris, the lights of the Eiffel Tower and the Ferris wheel sparkling. It really got me thinking about how lucky we are to be traveling the world at such a young age. If we're doing these things now, imagine what we can accomplish later on in life." – Emerson, Class of '20