While the exchanges in Botswana, Hungary, Morocco, Peru and Scotland provide participants with the opportunity to travel, the primary goal is to allow students to immerse themselves in schools that are quite different from their own. Exchange students face a series of demanding expectations: Even as they keep up with assignments from Brooks, they must take a demanding load of classes at their host school. They are ambassadors for their schools and their countries. Given differences in curricula, language barriers, and the fact that partner schools do not place the emphasis on competitive sports that Brooks does, students are asked to adapt to a new environment. Students describe this process of enculturation as powerful and transformative.
In Morocco, I was in a completely new and different place, walking around exploring and seeing something new every day. This experience opened my mind to the fact that the world is a vast place filled with people who live all different kinds of lives.
Andrew Iferenta '19
Beyond the classroom, students participate in a variety of activities, including sports, music, art and community service. Students are also encouraged to pursue individual interests that engage them in broader communities.
At our partner schools, students attend classes daily. They join class activities, complete assignments and engage with their classmates — very similar to what they would be doing here at Brooks. Students are assigned courses that reflect the culture and school they are attending.
To extend the parameters of the classroom, our partner schools organize excursions, both close to and far afield from school. Such trips provide Brooks students with unforgettable experiences within their host countries.
Exchange coordinators at each of our partner schools take care of our Brooks students and oversee the complete range of their activities. The exchange coordinators are at the center of our students’ exchange experience. Kata Engi of the Deak Ferenc Bilingual High School in Szeged has been with the exchange program for more than 10 years. Ms. Engi teaches English and serves as a senior administrator at Deak Ferenc. For more than a decade, Brooks students have been recipients of her kindness, care and good humor.
The homestay is the heart of the program in Peru, giving students the opportunity to experience the daily rhythms of life and family relations as few visitors are able to do. Through their host families, students learn about Peruvian culture and traditions, including everything from diet to family celebrations. More importantly, they form personal relationships that serve to anchor their experience of Lima and Peru — relationships that often last a lifetime.
Since its inception in 1986, community service has been a compelling and powerful part of the exchange experience. In Botswana, Maru-a-Pula School has a well-developed community service program in which Brooks students participate. Brooks students have volunteered in local health facilities, women’s shelters, and AIDS orphanages.
Our program, founded in 1986, promotes the global education of students from Brooks and its partner schools in Botswana, Hungary, Morocco, Scotland and Peru. By living abroad as residents in other school communities, our students are challenged to extend themselves to another place, another culture, another people – and, most importantly, to be affected by them, to be changed by them. We are confident that experiencing this transformative process of enculturation makes our students more empathetic and engaged global citizens.
Participants pay a $1,200 fee toward the cost of the program; this fee will be billed and posted to students’ accounts on February 1. The exchange program provides international airline tickets, travel insurance and coordination to secure any necessary visas for participants. Additional student costs include personal spending money, passport fees, immunizations, and the costs of travel that students elect to do while abroad. Financial aid is available; contact Exchange Program Director Lisa Saunders for information. Financial concerns should not preclude considering to apply to the program.