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 http://www.berlinexchange2008.blogspot.com/
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!