While the exchanges 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.
Activities | 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. In Spain, students have participated in sports activities with local clubs in Seville.
Academics | 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. Selection of classes varies by school, but Brooks students take the equivalent of four majors. In France, Spain and Peru, exchange students take part in language immersion in history, literature, math, science and drama courses.
Excursions | 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. In France, students regularly take excursions to Paris, the Loire Valley and Brittany.
Support | 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.
Host Families | 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.
Service | 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.
For more information, please contact Exchange Program Director John McLoughlin: firstname.lastname@example.org; 978-590-5219.