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14/3/2011
Trip to New York
Dalton School: Academic Exchange

As you might well be aware, this past February a group of Y11 St. Andrew’s students embarked on an academic exchange with Dalton School in New York City.

We were hosted by Dalton students and their families for two weeks.  The process however was not restricted to just taking the plane and going there: the planning started months before that day.

We were not paired with a Dalton student randomly; a detailed process of matching was carefully arranged.  The process involved comparing each student’s profile to be able to pair us with someone with similar tastes, interests, hobbies or personalities.  When we got there and got to know our hosts, we realised that the matching process had been perfectly implemented:  every one of us shared something with our hosts.  It could be that we practiced the same sport, watched the same TV series, listened to the same kind of music or many other similarities which made it easier to relate and allowed us to get along right from the start.  It was amazing to see how we could have so much in common with someone living in a totally different part of the world.

Our daily routine consisted of going to school with our hosts every morning and attending every class they had.  We would have lunch in school and then begin our sight-seeing during the afternoon.

We were set on experiencing NY as locals, not as simple tourists, taking in their culture, their habits and their customs as much as we could.  Without noticing, in the process, we were able to transmit our Argentine culture as well and really begin to appreciate it.  We had very high expectations of attending an Upper East Side school and actually living with New Yorkers, and let me just say that this trip definitely exceeded our expectations.

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     Ser alojados por una familia de New York es una parte esencial del intercambio, pero  a mí era la que más dudas me generaba sobre el viaje. Creo que a todas les asustaba un poco la idea de quedarse dos semanas en la casa de desconocidos. Mi miedo se agravó cuando me enteré de que me iba a alojar un varón.

     Sin embargo, cuando llegué allá mis pensamientos se revirtieron. Después de pasar el primer fin de semana con la familia me di cuenta de que estar con gente de allá no sólo es una experiencia esencial en el intercambio, sino que es una de las más lindas.

     Hago hincapié en la palabra “familia”, porque el intercambio no se trata sólo de llevarte bien con el chico o la chica que te aloja, sino de formar parte la vida cotidiana, del día a día de esa familia, ya que después de unos días, te sentís un integrante más.

     El vínculo que formamos con nuestras familias de allá era tan fuerte que creo que a todas nos invitaron a volver de visita cuando quisiéramos, y a unas cuantas nos dejaron en claro que para ellos ya éramos una parte de su familia, y que siempre vamos a tener un hogar en New York.

     Yo del viaje volví con dos hermanos nuevos, Ben y Stephen,  a los que extraño muchísimo, y con mis papas de allá, que durante esas dos semanas me hicieron sentir como en casa.

                                               Marina

Cooking empanadas in NY
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The Dalton School
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