Monday, February 18, 2008

CSIHSIS Travels the World!


It is February break and while most high school students are home sleeping late, playing video games, and relaxing, 54 CSIHSIS students, seven teachers, and four parents are deepening their knowledge of the world and their appreciation of diverse cultures through travel.

Our first group of students have safely arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica where they are experiencing life in the rain forest. Students participating in this program will be involved in a cultural immersion program while performing community service. Students are experiencing the rain forest climate and will meet, interact with and get to know Costa Rican children.

Following in the tradition of our first group of students who I was fortunate enough to experience Italy with last February, in conjunction with EF Tours, our second group of world travelers are touring England, France and Spain From the historic Tower of London to the Eiffel Tower, to the wonders of Madrid, our students will experience three cultures, see historic sites that they have studied, and gain an appreciation for how life in European cultures is similar to and different from our life in the United States.

Finally, we have started what I hope is a new CSIHSIS tradition - cultural exchange programs. Although we did previously have a one way exchange during which students from Bahrain visited our school and did home stays with our students, our exchange program to Germany is our first two way exchange that will allow our students to both live with and host students from Germany. Right now and for the next two weeks, our students are living with their host families in Berlin while attending the John Lennon School. Students will visit and tour the Bundestag (Germany's Parliament), Checkpoint Charlie, Sachsenhausen (a former concentration camp), and a variety of museums. Students will also tour Potsdam and see a performance of the Symphonic Orchestra Berlin. While in Germany, students will also spend weekends with their host families and experience life in Germany as a teenager living with a family. We know this will be a remarkable experience for our students and they will be waiting impatiently for their German counterparts to visit us early next year. See our students in Germany and read about their experience-- log onto


In the Spring, we will host thirty students from France as part of another two way exchange. Our students will then visit France during February of next year.

We are also working with College of Staten Island to establish a two week Summer Program that involves a language and cultural immersion in Ecuador. We are hoping to have our students involved in organizing this program.


Read on to hear more about our students experiences!


Aimee Horowitz said...

Ms. Kaplan writes from Germany:

So, right now we are all together, sitting in a classroom at John Lennon High School, which is located in East Berlin. How cool is that?

The flight was great. Everything was fine. Our host families meet us at the airport with huge welcome signs. They are so excited to have us and very greatful that we selected them to exchange with. Seriously, they are treating us like gold.

All the kids have called home, and everyone is good. John says he isn't coming back with us (ha! ha!), and Conor's host took him out to hear a comedian last night. Katie has a cold, but she should be fine. Today we are spending the day at the school. All the teachers want to meet us, even those not invovled in the exchange.

So, that's all for now. The kids are thrilled to be here!


Aimee Horowitz said...

Read our students' comments about their arrival in Germany!

We arrived yesterday to a crowd of Germans holding welcoming signs. Right away everyone was off to their host family homes. Heather and I, separately with our hosts, went bike riding through the city. I rode through the Brandenburg Gate and walked on the remains of the Berlin Wall. After, I went home and fell immediately to sleep. ---Mrs. Kaplan

We arrived yesterday at around 10:00 A.M. I had jet lag but stayed up till 7:30 P.m. The house I am living in is large in size and Karl’s family is very nice. The house is split in two almost, one side blasts classical music while the other blasts heavy German metal. We took a trip down to a flea market after breakfast. The food is very enjoyable thus far and the trip looks to be a great one. ----John Harden

We arrived and I went to my host family’s home, a nice little apartment/flat. The kitchen is small, but cute. After we came home, we ate lunch, which was more like a dinner, and then went sightseeing. We saw a lot; I feel like we walked the entire city. Then we came home and had dinner, which was bread, cheeses, spreads, and deli meats. I went to bed early, at about 7:30, after staying up for thirty hours. --Samantha Goodman

Marie-Terese and I went to this park that she goes to a lot, where there was also this like, “gigundous” flea market. We looked around for awhile, but I didn't get anything. Then we climbed up the hill to this giant wall, which is apparently the one place in Berlin where graffiti is legal. So this huge wall has about 25-30 coats of spray paint underneath it! When we got back we had tea and cookies, lol, and then we took a nap for two hours. After that was dinner, which was potatoes, steak and carrots, which was good, and I gave them the gifts. Hedda loved the puzzle, lol. Then we got ready to go to the movies because this big two-week film festival called Berlinale is going on. On the way we stopped to see if the moneychangers's was open, but alas, it's Sunday. Lol, apparently like, nothing's open on Sunday. I sorta felt guilty, trying to go change money, but at least it wasn't in front of a temple! At dinner they were asking me if my family was religious, and I was like, Yeah, we're Catholic, and if we go to church, and I was like, Yeah, every week, and they apologized for not being at all, but told me there was a church down the street if I need to go "confess." I found that pretty amusing, but I just said thank you and smiled, lol.

The movie was...pretty boring, actually. It was like one of them Indie films they play at festivals, and it was like, the European premiere and all, but it was just really bad. Like, it takes place in the Mississippi Delta, and I guess the beginning was kinda good, it was about how this like ten year old was being hunted down by these like twenty-somethings because he owed them a hundred dollars worth of drugs...? But then, like, the whole direction of the movie changed to this kid's mom trying to keep open a store her dead husband's brother lost interest in...? I admit it, I fell asleep, but so did Marie-Terese, so I didn't feel that bad, lol. ---Kasey Fausak

Aimee Horowitz said...

Sounds like you all have had interesting experiences already and are getting to experience German culture in interesting an unique ways; ways that a typical would not. I am interested to hear about what you have to say about your meeting with the principal of the John Lennon school as well as about about your school experience in Germany and how education there compares to your education.

I love flea markets! Hope you weren't too tired to enjoy it! Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures! Wish I was with you!