Exchange Students

Meet the 2017 students on Spring Break Exchange

China


Mira Subramanian:

My name is Mira and I'm a junior day student at Westover. Over spring break, I will be going on exchange to Shanghai, China. I'm excited to be a part of a new community and learn about a new culture.

Sophia Pellegrini:

My name is Sophia, and I am a junior boarder from New York. I am 16 years old, and am super excited to be traveling to Shanghai, China on my exchange. I am the Science SAC Rep, play the cello, and was on the Community Service Team fall term. I am looking forward to this exchange because I love to travel, meet new people, and explore new cultures!


Amodini Katoch:

My name is Amodini, and I am a junior day student from Southbury, Connecticut. I am 16 years old and will going on my second exchange trip though Westover. I am the senate representative for my grade, I am in the glee club and I love being a part of the Westover swim team. I am very excited to go to China because I want to experience their culture and meet new people (and also because of their food!). I can’t wait!

England


Emma Juvan:

Emma Juvan is a sophomore day student from Middlebury, CT. She lives on campus with her parents who work at Westover. She has always been very interested in English culture and is very excited to see many historical sites.

This will be her first time traveling internationally as well as her first time on a plane, so this trip will be full of new experiences for her.

Emma is very much looking forward to this unique opportunity and would like to thank the school as well as Kate Taylor and the Rasin Center for making this trip possible.

Students on Exchange at Westover

Anna Hall

From Downe House in Thatcham, Great Britain.

We arrived on Saturday 25th March at Heathrow airport in London.

We had a really smooth run going through security but before went to Wagamama’s for breakfast where I had edamame beans which were super spicy but really good.

The flight was childishly fun with many cartoon films and after the seven hours passed, we finally reached JFK where we met Mr. Juvan who picked us up. We didn’t realise how long

the car journey to Connecticut- it was so exciting to see all the different landscapes near New York, the run down factories and shops, the frosted white trees and the sparse landscape of roads and roads. The school is smaller in size and much smaller with 200 pupils at Westover and 600 pupils at Downe House.

By now, we’ve gotten used to the quadrat that most of the classrooms are in! The school is situated in almost an idealistic surrounding filled with snow, fields, houses and so much green land. SO far we’ve enjoyed our time here and the early lessons, amazing food, and the different people that we’ve met!

Zoe Carruthers

From Downe House in Thatcham, Great Britain.

Last weekend Anna and I went on an amazing trip to Newport, R.I. with our host family the Juvans. I had never been before and it was a really sunny day in which we explored one of the famous mansions, The Breakers, which got its name from the garden ending which a cliff leading straight to the see. We had a tour of the grand and extensive building which was littered with ornate stone work and beautiful fabrics. After this, we went out into the sunshine, after a few weeks of mostly grey clouds, to enjoy the cliff walk and the lovely beach. This was followed by a short drive into the centre of town where we found a nice place to eat lunch. Then, followed on a large Ben and Jerry's ice cream to match the warm sunny weather and sea breeze. It was a really nice weekend to get out of school for the day and do some discovering.

We wandered around the town and did a small amount of window shopping and we went to pick up a coffee before heading back to school. We had the best day and it was topped off by the weather and the great company!

BLOGS: Meet the 2017 students

Australia


My name is Caitlin Beattie, and I am the gappie this year from Perth, Western Australia.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Westover so far, and I am currently almost half way through my stay. I have joined the swim team and have made some very close friends who have encouraged me to improve my times. I have decided to take five academic classes each semester to challenge myself through taking challenging subjects that I have never had a chance of taking at St. Mary’s. Bible study, ethical theory analysis, and the French Revolution were some of the most interesting topics I have had a chance to study this term. My favorite class was “Tale of Two Cities” by Laura Swarz-Burt. In class, the students were engaging in conversations regarding advanced historical analysis, particularly about the French and Russian revolutions. At my school in Perth, I had thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Russian Revolutions, so it was such a delight to learn from a different perspective and hear different opinions about it. These classes all have been insightful, challenging, yet exciting.

In Spring term, I will be taking more classes which studies other interesting topics I have not had the opportunity to yet. I am particularly excited to study the history of the Middle East as it was never touched upon at home. Along with the academic experience, the boarding experience is also very different from my home experience. The dorm parents are all welcoming and kind, and my classmates have been incredibly helpful with showing me around school and helping me adjust. The teachers have all been very considerate, understanding and always open to taking time out of their day to answer any questions. I would highly recommend coming to Westover for an exchange or gap year as I have had a wonderful first few months and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the year here.

South Africa

My name is Stephanie Harrison and I am from Cape Town, South Africa. I am 15 years old and I am in 10th grade at St. Cyprian’s School on the foot of Table Mountain.

Exchange is scary, believe me. Flying half way around the world to a completely different place all by yourself…but, I promise you it’s worth it. The first week was a blur and to be honest, homesickness, jetlag and getting lost is all part of the fun. Luckily for me, I had my amazing exchange partner and the Westover girls to help me.

The boarding life was completely different from home. I’m a day student back at home, so having a roommate all the time, study hall, check-ins and weekend events were totally new responsibilities to me. At Westover, I would board during the week and on the weekends, my amazing exchange family would take me out on trips- sometimes, day trips, and other times we went on road trips (Washington D.C. and NYC). Westover offers so many exciting opportunities such as the international students’ trip to New York City where we got to explore New York for 2 days, and school social events and dances with other schools.

This has been the best experience of my life and I’m not just saying that-I have learnt so much about myself and gotten to know the most amazing people. A key moment as well was sledding on the only snow day- that I will never forget! Leaving my family for two months was hard but, now, I can’t imagine how hard it will be to leave Westover. The girls here have been my temporary family and I will never forget that. For anyone who is thinking about going on exchange, I strongly recommend it. (I would recommend Cape Town, but that’s just me!) Thank you to Westover, my friends, the Navas Family and my amazing exchange partner, Jacqui, for making this exchange so incredible!

Meet the 2016 students

Jordan

Raya

Hey! or should I say مرحبا (Marhaba), my name is Raya Ayoub and I’m here on exchange for the Fall Term from Jordan. I have started school about a month ago but it feels like yesterday that I started my first day. Time is passing by so fast and I am starting to feel like three months of exchange are not enough. I chose to take five courses: Pre-Calculus, English II, Physics, French III and The Voice of the People/Election class.

I have to admit that my favorite class is the election class because I have gotten to learn about American politics and I get to debate as well! On my first day of class, I was quite nervous because I only had some vague information about American Politics, and so I felt like it was hard to participate as often as I would have liked. And because I wanted to be able to engage with the other students and be able to debate effectively, I scheduled a conference with my teacher to increase my knowledge on the subject (a conference is one of the many helpful concepts here at Westover; during a conference, you can sit alone with your course teacher and she/he will help you on anything you are struggling with in the class). After that conference I felt much more confident to participate in class and to give my point of view during discussions.

As for the other subjects I came to realize that the teachers here use almost the same method of teaching as in Jordan. For instance, when learning a new chapter in math I have to initially read and learn it on my own, then the next day the teacher would explain everything and answer any questions. I find this way of teaching effective because it stores all the new information longer in my head. Another thing that I am enjoying here is the number of free periods we get to have during the day- I would sometimes have 2 hours of free periods per day where I can catch up on some homework, sit with some friends or watch some Netflix.

Good luck on your applying to Westover!

Australia

Emily

G’day mates! I’m Emily Annand and I come from Perth, Western Australia.

What do I think of when people say American food? Well, the obvious choices like hamburgers and fries but the food at Westover is so much more than that and much better than we expected! There is so much variety and different cultural food to choose from for every breakfast, lunch and dinner. We often have Mexican nights, Chinese nights and Italian nights. The food is displayed in a typical buffet style which allows for so much freedom and choice. The dining hall is such a communal space where you can sit down with all your friends from your grade and chat while eating. And I can’t forget the amazing desserts! Every lunch and dinner the amazing chefs prepare a delicious dessert consisting of donuts, eclairs, chocolate pudding, cookies and not to mention an ice-cream machine! However, for the majority of students, Robert’s muffins would have to be the favourite! Every morning Robert and his team bake fresh and tasty muffins with so many different flavours like banana and chocolate chip, cinnamon, double chocolate chip, blueberry and pumpkin chocolate chip.

I am forever in the dining hall eating all the delicious food that Westover has to offer!

Good luck in applying to Westover!

  • October 2016: Six Flags
The best part about yesterday was riding all the rollercoasters! There were so many different ones to try and they were all so much fun. The Superman and the Goliath would have to be my favourite. Australia has a few amusement parks but none like Six Flags. It was so much fun being out of the boarding house and in a new place. It was definitely the best day since being in America!

A massive thankyou again to you and your family Myriam. We wouldn't have half the fun we did without you!


Jackie

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to Adeline’s, a senior student’s home, in Mystic, Connecticut. We left on Friday evening and even from the beginning of the trip I was experiencing new things. In Australia we don't often come across ferries that are specifically for cars, so though this was a common event for Adeline, I was so excited about putting a car onto a boat and travelling across the water. That night we went out for dinner right on the ocean, which ended the first day of the weekend perfectly. Saturday morning was an early wake up call; however it was most definitely worth it. I was lucky enough to be able to join Adeline and her family on fly fishing lessons with a friend of theirs. We all piled onto the boat and set off fishing for four hours. It was such a special time and many, many photos were taken. Though only one fish was caught between the six of us, I had an absolute blast.

Some highlights included seeing Taylor Swift’s holiday home, hearing stories about some of the objects that jutted out from the ocean and seeing lighthouses and buildings that were older than Australia! After a busy morning, the afternoon was spent with some retail therapy. I definitely embraced my inner tourist as I purchased many souvenir shirts and jewellery! That night I got a tour of Mystic by dark as I indulged in a scoop of Mystic ice-cream. Sunday was spent relaxing and after eating a traditional New England lunch, Adeline and I headed back to Westover. I had the most incredible time over those three days and am so very grateful to Adeline and her family for welcoming me into their home.

Great luck in applying to Westover!

Best,
Jackie


  • October 2016: Six Flags
My favourite part of yesterday was when we all went through the Haunted House together. We were all screaming and clinging to each other as we tried to get out as fast as possible. It's hilarious looking back at it, but at the time it was probably the scariest 15minutes of my life!

One of the pictures is from when I went Fly Fishing in Mystic and the other one is from Mountain Day when we reached the summit of the mountain.



Lily

G’day, it’s Lily here. I am one of the three super cool Aussies that are currently roaming around the Westover campus. A 12-hour time difference is nothing right? That’s exactly what I thought before spending over 30 hours traveling to the US from Perth, Australia. I spent my plane ride walking aimlessly up and down the aisles of the plane, indulging in the “delicious” plane food and re-watching Disney classics. It was safe to say that I was extremely happy when the plane landed at JFK, as I hadn’t slept in over a day! However, sleep was not an option for me that night, because all of a sudden my sense of time had disappeared.

I had never understood the true meaning of jet lag until I arrived at Westover. With sports camp taking over my first week, it was extremely hard to stay awake during the numerous hours of volleyball and the class activities. I would find myself wide awake at night, often counting sheep and experimenting with strange breathing techniques, in hope that I would eventually fall asleep. I soon realized during that first week, that my spirit animal was definitely a koala, as I had become a nocturnal human being. Luckily for me, as the week went on, I came to the conclusion that if I did not sleep at night, I would most likely end up having a volleyball slammed into my face...Lily the Koala had to sleep. From that point on I put 110% into whatever I did during the day, I avoided naps and eventually fell into a regular sleeping pattern because of my exhaustion. Jet lag was definitely not fun, but I was lucky to have a whole support crew of international students that were experiencing the same thing as me.

When you come to Westover, avoid naps!

Best,
Lily

October 2016: Six Flags

My favourite part of yesterday was being together with all the exchanges. It was really fun to be able to share with them the fun I was having throughout the day. It was just overall a good day with good company. You can always have fun at an amusement park, but it's just that step above when you are with people that make you laugh and enjoy yourself even more.

Spain

Blanca

Hi, my name is Blanca and I’m the Spanish exchange student for the fall term.

When we arrived to the US, the first programed activity was sports camp. Sports Camp meant that for a whole week we were exercising 4 hours… a day! It was definitely a challenging experience for me because I’m not used to exercising more than 2 hours a day. But I always had in mind the following: This is going to help and encourage me to meet new people and know more about Westover and the girls. That was my mantra, and it worked.

The variety of sports at Westover is amazing! You have the opportunity to choose between volleyball, soccer, field hockey, dance, cross country, dance, and drama. All of them have nice coaches who make time pass speedily and they really help those who do not know how to play the sport. You may be scared about the fact of exercising more than 6 hours a week. However, I have to admit that we need it because of the amount of food we tend to eat at Westover!

I definitely recommend dance as a sport. We practiced different styles each day, and this allowed us to learn a great deal of dance styles in a short period of times. Some of the ones we practice are: jazz, ballet, aerobics, modern, Zumba… It has been a fantastic experience so far and I would love to stay here!

Best of luck in applying to Westover!

Blanca

October 2016: Six Flags

Last Sunday, October 23rd, all of the exchange students went to the amusement park in New England, called Six Flags. I was really excited because I was going to one of the most famous amusement parks in the United States, but I was not aware of how high the rides would be. When we arrived, I got scared to be honest- the heights and turns of the roller-coasters were immense!

Although I'm totally afraid of high rides, I challenged myself and tried to go on all of them. It sounds strange, but my favourite ride was definitely the highest roller-coaster- “Superman.” It's impossible to describe all the feelings and thoughts I had in my mind, but the photos that were taken while I was in line show the terror in my eyes! Nevertheless, it was a great experience that I don't regret to have lived. Now, I laugh when I remember the situation, I was almost crying!

Finally, the Haunted House was great! Not because of the staff and the decorations itself, but because we were all laughing whenever someone scared us; I laughed more than I screamed! In addition, the costumes and make up were too believable- that was scary! To sum up, it was a fantastic experience that I would like to repeat several times if it were possible!

France

Marine

Hi! My name is Marine and I am the French exchange student this fall. I come from a small city called Villers – Cotterêts, next to Paris, in the North of France. This year, my high school chose me to go to Westover to study in the United States for the Fall Term. During my time here, I hope that I will improve my English skills, discover and learn from American culture, and make new friends! Being on exchange is an incredible adventure, even though it’s not easy every day.

I think the most difficult part has been leaving my family during the time that I’m on the exchange. As an exchange student, you will definitely feel homesick and sad sometimes, but the worst is when you miss your family. Sometimes I just want to come back home and just give up, but all my new and fantastic friends remind me how incredible this opportunity is, and then that reminds me that I should enjoy myself. Skyping with my family is my best way to feel better. When I speak with them, I forget that I am on the other side of the Atlantic. I like telling them about all my “exchange stories,” sharing with them all the things that I do here, people I’ve met, and how I feel.

I would like all future exchange students to know that skyping with your parents is very important for you, but it is also for them. They miss you too! I would say that an exchange life is like being on a rollercoaster: sometimes you feel very good, but the next day you will be most likely feel homesick. It’s nice that Westover has nice people that support us. For instance, the dorm parents are good people to talk with; my dorm parent is called Regina, she is the dorm parent for one of the sophomore’s corridors. A dorm parent is a good person to talk with when you feel down, a person who asks you how was your journey and gives you some snacks in the evening…just as a mother would do.

I have to admit that the tasty snacks are the reason why I don’t forget to check in each evening! I always enjoy going to Regina’s apartment to play games with the other girls, or just speaking with them, and sharing a good moment together. So what is check-in? Every night, all the girls have to check-in with the dorm parent in their corridor and she takes attendance- making sure that all students are safely in the dorm. Every single day Regina usually writes all the meetings, conferences and others important things for the day – thank you Regina, you can’t imagine how much this is useful for me!

Being a boarder also means that you have to live with other girls in a room. I’m very lucky to have two very nice roommates- Lali and Yihan. I am used to living with other girls because in France I am a boarder, but I do admit of having been afraid of living with girls that I didn’t know. We love sharing snacks and helping each other out. Among other things, we help Lali to wake up in the morning, she, in turn, helps Yihan (also new) and I navigate Westover’s schedule, traditions and formalities. In other worlds, we make a pretty good team! If I had to sum up my dorm life in one word, I would say that it is AMAZING!

October 2016: Six Flags

This Sunday, all the exchange students, Myriam and her family went to Six Flags, which is an incredible amusement park in Agawam, Massachusetts. It was amazing! Before coming here, I had no idea that I would go to an amusement park like this one! We had so much fun. It has definitely been one my favourite days of my exchange. My favourite moment was the Haunted House!

Being in America during Halloween time was one of my dreams come true! We had the chance to go to Six Flags at the perfect time of the year: the entire amusement park was decorated with Halloween items, and for this occasion special attractions were set up throughout the park, including the Haunted House. I really love horror movies and honestly, this house was exactly like in the movies. It was so scary! We all screamed so much, running everywhere and holding onto each other during every turn. I was screaming and laughing at the same time, trying to avoid all the people who were trying to scare us. There were different rooms with different decorations, all of them were very realistic, it made the attraction even scarier.

It is maybe the tenth time that I say it, but I'll say it again: Thank you Myriam and Kate for this beautiful day, thank you for always trying your best so that we feel good here, and to plan this trip so that we could enjoy our exchange even more. I am looking forward to having another great day like this one!

Applications/Checklist

What type of program is best for me?

There are a variety of travel programs available at Westover. In addition to those offered by the Language, Arts, History, and Science departments and community service trips, there are a number of exchange and immersion programs from which to choose.

Each program involves travel, sightseeing, and acclimatization in another part of the world. In addition to long-standing relationships with schools with whom we both send and receive students, there are also trips to places such as Rwanda, which are only a few weeks in duration and offer a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in another culture in a way that goes beyond a typical tourist trip.

Types of Exchanges:

Academic: Students participate in classes during the program and engage in the school life for the majority of the program; they also have a chance to explore nearby cultural sites and, if applicable, will continue the study of their chosen language.

Language:
Students live in a culture in which they must practice their language of study; in the case of China it is to a lesser extent.

Cultural:
Students travel, sightsee and may participate in service-learning activities; these programs often do include school visits, but only for a short period of time and emphasize a more targeted approached to experiential learning.

Exchange and Immersion Programs

(For more information on a specific program, please click on the country name.)

Language Exchanges

China (Shanghai): Shangde Experimental School
Type of exchange: Cultural
Maximum number of students: Two - Three
Eligibility grades: Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors
Length and term: Spring Break
Note: Accepted students may run for all leadership positions.

France (Villers Cotterêts): Lycée Européen
Maximum number of students: Two
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who have completed at least the level of French III, and with Departmental permission.
Length and term: Winter term: January to March, returning in time for Germans
Note: Accepted students may run for Proctor, but may not run for Dorcas, West, or Over Heads.

Spain (Seville): Colegio Bienaventurada Virgen María Irlandesas de Bami
Maximum number of students: Two
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who have completed at least the level of Spanish III, and with Departmental permission
Length and term: Winter term: January to March, returning in time for Germans
Note: Accepted students may run for Proctor, but may not run for Dorcas, West, or Over Heads.

Academic Exchanges

Australia (Perth): St. Mary's Anglican Girls' School
Maximum number of students: Two
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores
Length and term: two months; mid-July to September or a Gap Year program
Note: Accepted students may run for all positions except West or Over Heads.

England (Thatcham): Downe House School for Girls
Maximum number of students: Three
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores and Juniors
Length and term: Three weeks, including Westover's spring vacation
Note: Accepted students may run for all leadership positions.

Jordan (Amman): The Ahliyyah School for Girls
Maximum number of students: Two
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores and Juniors
Length and term: Fall term, end of August to late November, or a year-long program
Note: Accepted students may not run for Head of School, Dorcas Head, West or Over Heads, or Proctor positions, and seniors may only do the fall term program.

South Africa (Cape Town): St. Cyprian's School
Maximum number of students: One
Eligible grades: rising Sophomores
Length and term: Winter term: January to March, returning in time for Germans.
Note: Accepted students may run for Proctor positions. They may not run for Dorcas, West, or Over Heads.

Cultural Immersions

Rwanda (Nyamata): Maranyundo Girls School
Type of exchange: Cultural
Maximum number of students: Five - Twelve
Eligible grades: Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Length and term: Spring Break, returning in time for Germans or early June after graduation
Note: Accepted students may run for all leadership positions.

China (Shanghai): Shangde Experimental School
Type of exchange: Cultural
Maximum number of students: Two - Three
Eligible grades: Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Length and term: Spring Break or 2-3 weeks, Summer
Note: Accepted students may run for all leadership positions.