Exchange Students



BLOGS: Meet past students

Spain (Fall 2018)

Hi, We are María, Inés and África, three exchange students from Spain, who came to Westover in the fall term of 2018.

Coming here to Westover has been a wonderful experience even though it has also been a challenge. It is hard to be far away from our families for so long and, at the start, it seemed harder than it was. Once you start being part of the community and get used to the school, everything feels normal. Here, some things are really different from Spain such as meal times, so it’s hard to get used to. We have loved being part of this school because everyone has been so welcoming to us; we have made great friends who we will miss a lot. Living the experience of an American boarding school has been amazing. Although sometimes the classes were hard because English is not our first language, the teachers have helped us a lot, making everything easier for us. Every experience here and every new place we have visited, such as New York and Boston, have affected us a lot and we have learned many things being here. Here are our top 10 experiences in America:

1-Going to New York

2-Going to Boston

3-Going to Six Flags, the amusement park

4- Meeting people from all over the world

5-Getting to learn about other cultures

6-Getting to experience the life in a boarding school

7-Working out & exercising way more than 4 hours a week (which is what we usually do in Spain)

8-Getting to be part of all the Westover traditions

9-Events like COLORES (Coalition of Leaders on Racial and Ethnic Sensitivity, a fun, cultural social event)

10-Going to a hockey game

We feel really lucky for having the opportunity to come here, and we highly recommend going on an exchange because it’s a wonderful experience. If you have the chance to take it don’t hesitate because even though you may find it hard, it’s really beneficial and remarkable for your life. Westover has felt like a family to us and will always be in our hearts.

France (Fall 2018)

Hi, I am Célia, and I am the exchange student from France for the Fall Term 2018! Every year, my school chooses one girl to go to Westover; for this year, I was chosen, and I was so excited for this experience but also stressed about going to a place where I know no one.

At the beginning, it was hard, but everyone were welcoming, and it was very helpful for me. The Westover community is just amazing; people here helped me a lot when I needed it. The first two weeks, I did dance, but then I finally joined the soccer team. I never played soccer before so I discovered this sport here; I totally loved it. My teammates and the coaches were very kind, and I am so glad to have played many games with them. Practicing soccer was one of my favorite things at Westover. I also took advantage of many trips that the school offered us; my favorite one was when we went to New York City--it was magic!! I really liked Boston too, and I also had the opportunity to watch a hockey game thanks to my friends.

Being in America during Halloween was fun!! I like the food here; I learned a lot of new things in my classes, and I improved my English a lot. I also discovered American culture, which is very different from French culture. I made real friends with whom I shared wonderful moments. I spent three unforgettable months; I will never forget this experience, and I want to say thank you to my advisor Kate who always supported me and to all the people who made this trip so incredible.

Jordan (Fall 2018)

Maya Nuzha, Jordan

“Be brave. Take risk. Nothing can substitute experiences.”

“"كن شجاعا وخاطر... لا شيء يمكن أن يحل محل التجارب

Hello! My name is Maya Nuzha. I’m from Jordan; I came as a Westover exchange student for the fall term! I am leaving in less than a week, and still can’t believe that I’m done with the best two a half months I’ve ever had.

I took five courses--English II, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, and Meaning & Making. I confess and say that Chemistry is my favorite subject and class because getting to know substances and the way they are created is interesting for me to learn. Moreover, trying a lot of new activities in class and working in groups to solve out POGILS (a paper that has questions to prepare for the upcoming class), or work in partners to solve some complicated questions, helped me to engage with others. In addition, taking responsibility of the actors’ costumes backstage in drama class was amazing.

For the other courses, I recognized that the homework teachers gave are really important for boosting my interaction during class. Teachers ask you to read the chapter before explaining it in class, which is much better for understanding the topic that is going to be discussed! What is also great here, is the free periods, where I was able to finish my homework/studying, watch Netflix, communicate with some friends, play Wii, or just dance in the Student Commons, which is a quite great thing to do!

Although in the first week I wasn’t able to connect with students and hesitated to engage in the new environment, I signed up for conferences which was the best solution and the teachers helped me to have a better understanding of the system and helped in breaking down everything complex into organized ideas.

Most importantly, you get the chance to see different, well-known and unique places; we went to New York and Boston by train, and it was fantastic. Each weekend we had a specific activity to do including; parties, going to the mall, shopping at Target and many others.

What made this experience an incredible one, is the chance you get to exchange knowledge, cultures, as well as languages, and what made it special, is the chance you get to represent your country and talking about it in front of foreigners, to break stereotypes. Being at Westover is one of the best feelings; it’s like your second home, you are surrounded by people who love you and care about you--the dorm parents try to help you not miss your parents and act as if they are your mothers.

“Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing”

Fairouz Swais, Jordan

Hello, my name is Faiyrouz Swais and I’m from Jordan.

وانا من الاردن. مرحبا, انا اسمي فيروز صويص

Being able to leave your home for 3 months takes a lot of courage, especially if you’ve never travelled alone without your parents. Before hopping on the plane, I doubted my steps countless times, but I decided to challenge myself and let go of my doubts. If I had known before that the experience in Westover would be as tremendous as it was, I would have taken the first flight to CT without a doubt.

Of course, the first couple of days, I felt homesick and disturbed by the jetlag and time difference. However, I got used to it very quickly. I was extremely shocked at how welcoming the Westover community is. Seeing how everyone cares for others, encourages rather than lets down, and accepts rather than shuts down inspires me in many ways. I have met and made many unforgettable friendships with people from all around the world. It’s overwhelming when you say it out loud! Westover is a great example to show world unity!

I learned about the difference between the academic curriculum here and in Jordan. One of the things I loved about the academics is conferences. It’s way easier to understand hard and unfamiliar concepts when conferencing the teachers. I value how Westover mentally and physically prepares students for assessment weeks; stress-free snacks, yoga and group face masks are just perfect!

I want to thank my school, Ahliyyah school for Girls and Bishop School for Boys, for giving the opportunity to join the Westover community, as well as everyone at Westover, students, faculty and staff, for making me smile every day.

Dear faculty and staff, thank you for being endlessly loving and supportive at all times!

Dear new friends, our jokes, laughs and all memories will be carved in my heart until the day I die.

Dear Westover, I will treasure your unforgettable memory forever!

England (Spring 2018)

Hello! We are exchange students from Downe House School, England, Lily and Chioma! We have been at Westover for a little over a week now and it has been an amazing experience so far. Already we have taken part in so many different activities and really embraced the new culture. On our arrival here, we were welcomed with such grace and warmth by the community which helped ease our nerves.

On our first weekend we jumped at the chance of fully experiencing the American society by joining in with March For Our Lives at Connecticut’s capital, Hartford. This event was truly inspirational and it was deeply moving to see how strongly people felt for this cause. The atmosphere was harmonious as we were all united in the cause. On Sunday we ventured in to New York when we had a blast with our exchange buddies!

During our stay so far, the one thing that really resonates within us is how friendly and close-knit everybody is. They are all supporting, both staff and students, as, if we were in need of assistance when trying to find our way to classes. We have been lucky to interact with all year groups at Westover and the friends we have made are lasting and true.

Our experience so far has been a great eye opener and we cannot wait for the weeks to come! We greatly encourage people to try this experience as there are so many splendid opportunities and benefits that arise from it.

Week 2

Sadly, our time at Westover is coming to an end but we are thankful for the experience. On Wednesday, March 28, Chioma had a scrimmage with three other schools which was a very exciting and new opportunity. The team were all so supporting and friendly to me, therefore making the games all the more enjoyable.

During the Easter weekend we each went to our exchange buddies’ houses. We both visited Yale University and the New Haven area which was a great insight to their culture. Both families were extremely welcoming and made the Easter period so entertaining for us. We also experienced some interesting weather as the weekend was wonderfully sunny, however on Monday it snowed.

On Friday, April 6, Lily took part in the Annual Concert for Revisit Day. The whole dance community was really inviting, and I truly enjoyed spending time with them during rehearsals and the show. The use of live music was something new and it worked really well with the dancing.

On Saturday we went to a social event at Miss Porter’s School with several of our friends to watch a hypnotist show. We also had s’mores and homemade iced tea which was delicious. The show itself was very funny and everyone had a great time!

We went Boston the next day with Sarah Pino, Marianella and her mum. We visited Harvard University and Cambridge which was a lovely adventure and the architecture was so pretty. We loved spending time there and it was great to see another Ivy League College.

We have done so much here and we will greatly miss all the friends that we have made whether on our corridor, in class, at dance or on the lacrosse team. This experience has been one that we will forever treasure and we hope to visit again someday. Thank you all for such a great three weeks and we have enjoyed learning about America!

By Lily and Chioma

Australia 2018

My name is Meghann Gallagher and I am the gappie for this year from Perth, Australia.

I have been at Westover for almost a month so far, and already I have experienced so much and had such an amazing time. I have been lucky enough to join the cast of the winter production and have been enjoying rehearsing and performing with them. I have been able to take subjects here that I have never had the chance to study back home, such as Latin, American Art and Music and The Supreme Court. All of these classes have expanded my academic knowledge and been challenging, but I have thoroughly enjoyed studying them and learning new things.

I have also been lucky enough to go on a number of trips and activities around Connecticut, New York and Boston, and I am hoping that I will get to see even more of America in the next few months of my exchange.

By far the best aspect of Westover has been the amazing sense of community. Everyone, from faculty to students have been so friendly and welcoming, willing to help me out whenever I can’t find something or to sit with me at dinner. I have been lucky enough to meet people from all year groups, from all over America and the world, and these friends have made my time so far at Westover so amazing.

I would highly recommend choosing the Westover exchange program, I’ve been here for less than a month, and already this has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, met some truly amazing people and done things I never would have had the opportunity to do back in Australia. I am looking forward to spending the rest of the year, and I know it’s going to be just as amazing as the time I’ve already spent here.

Jordan (Fall 2017)

Rand Haddad, Jordan

"Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life.” That was the quote I had in my mind right before I left Jordan. I never knew how incredible this chapter would turn out to be. At the beginning, I was feeling homesick and generally overwhelmed by everything. As the days passed, I realized how welcoming the Westover community is. Not only did I start becoming less homesick, but also started to meet new people who are making my stay here a memorable one.

I admire the effort Westover puts into helping students thrive to accomplish their dreams and making them a reality. The teachers are always there to help the students and make them succeed in all the subjects. Conferencing with your teacher is a great way to understand concepts that you find particularly hard.

There is a wide variety of classes and electives that you can choose from based on your interests and skills. My favorite is the "Herstory" elective which exposed me to stories of American women in history who I had never heard about. I enjoy every class, since we do a lot of fun activities such as having academic arguments (aka: debatesJ) and doing yoga pretzels on a Monday morning!

The community is such a diverse one; there are students from all around the world. I find it fascinating how we all have different cultures and beliefs, yet we feel connected and related to each other, whether it's in Chapel, dining hall, or in the dorms.

I feel that affection is found almost everywhere here. For example, the Health Center is not only a place where you can get your medicines, but also a place where the nurses offer care, love, and most importantly, smiles. In addition, the Rasin Center is a place where there's always someone to listen to your concerns and help you with them. I've always found it helpful to talk to my advisor in the Rasin Center, where she asks me about my day and how I'm doing; for some reason, that always makes my day better!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank both my school back in Jordan, The Ahliyyah School for Girls & Bishop's School for Boys, and Westover School for offering this exchange program that benefited me academically and socially.

I am truly enjoying my time and making the best out of it! Attending Westover is really one of the best experiences I've ever. Not only did it open my eyes to the world, but also made me more confident, independent, and, lastly, happy. A person does not realize how many fun adventures life can give her unless she goes out of her comfort zone. Therefore, if you're hesitating about going, just remember that chances like these might not happen ever again in your lifetime, so just go for it!!!

الحياة لا تكتسب معنى بالاكمل حتى نواجه مخاوفنا

Life doesn’t entirely gain a purpose until we face our fears

Australia (Fall 2017)

Eva Masi

G’day everyone! My name is Eva Masi, and I am currently one of the Australian exchange students. I come from Perth, Western Australia in the land down under. Being accepted to Westover School as a part of the 2017 exchange program was such an honour, and I am so glad that I made the 30-hour flight here to Middlebury to fulfill it! The long haul to America was very tiring, but when we finally arrived at the busy but exciting JFK airport I knew that it was worth it.

The best thing about Westover is the great sense of community. For the girls who will continue the exchange legacy after us Aussies leave will understand and will fall in love with Westover in the same way I did. Compared to my school, St. Mary’s, Westover is a lot smaller, in fact I’m pretty sure my grade has a larger number of students than Westover has in total! Despite that, the students, faculty and family members at Westover are all so welcoming which made the transition that much easier. From day one, the people have taken me in like their own and because of this reason I never want to leave! There is always time to get involved within and outside of the yellow walls that Westover calls its own, and I strongly suggest that all future exchanges try to participate in as many activities as possible.

To everyone who made my exchange possible, I am forever thankful and so grateful for the opportunity I have had; Westover now holds a special place in my heart!

Australia (Fall 2017)

G’day everyone! My name is Jaymee Hick and I’m the gappie exchange student from Perth, Australia.

I’m over halfway through my placement at Westover and I am loving every single minute of it! From my very first day here, everyone- faculty and students- were all so welcoming and kind. I immediately felt accepted and part of the amazing community that is Westover. I have loved getting to know everyone and making new friends, definitely something that has helped me as I’m so far away from home.

I have decided to take classes this term that are completely different to what my previous high school back home offered. Latin, Film Photography and American History are subjects that interest and challenge me everyday, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to expand my educational pursuits. Aside from academics, I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the Dance Ensemble program and all the various classes that are offered. I have also had the opportunities to travel to various exciting places in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey since I’ve been here.

I would highly recommend choosing Westover for an exchange program- it will push you outside your comfort zone, offer incredible opportunities and help you make amazing memories. I look forward to what the last few weeks of my placement have to offer!

Australia (Spring 2017)


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 (Spring 2017)

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!

Jordan (2016)

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 (2016)

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 (2016)

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 (2016)

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.