As part of our on-going commitment to global education, Oak Hall School just completed a two-week exchange with Colegio Paulo Freire High School from Montevideo, Uruguay. Our connection to this school began several years ago when Señora Karow
went to Uruguay as a Fulbright exchange teacher. Since then we have hosted six visiting teachers and administrators from various schools throughout Uruguay. This student exchange begins a relationship which will hope will bring our schools and our students closer together in the future.
On Jan. 26, we welcomed 12 students and two of their teachers into our school community and into our homes. Their students shadowed host students in the upper school, attending classes and extracurricular activities with them. They were able to experience the daily routine of an American high school student, from toaster waffles in the morning to lacrosse practice after school and homework at night.
“I was expecting them to be very different, but Maggie was just like we are. It was so much fun,” said Lorissa Gotsch '20, one of our host students. Her brother, Wesley '20 agreed, “It was a lot of fun, but I also learned a lot about another culture. I really want to go there next year.”
Saiyara Noor '19, said it was a little bit of a culture shock. “Their houses and their lives are so different. They are so close to each other and they act like brothers and sisters – like kissing when they meet. I wish we were more like that.”
Oak Hall is grateful to all of our host students and their families for the tremendous effort they put forth to welcome the visitors and to make their experience such a positive one. We would like to thank the Gotsch family, Amiel family, Olcese family, DePlato family, Lipori family, Stevenson family, and the Noor family for their participation in this exchange.
“This experience created lifelong friends that we will never forget,” said Emma Lipori '19.
Dozens of Oak Hall students are now in contact with students from Montevideo through snap chat and other social media and both visitors and hosts believe that they will continue this relationship. Colegio Paulo Freire has invited us to send 12 students to Montevideo for Spring Break 2018 to experience life in Uruguay and see the sights including Punta del Este, the hot springs in Salto, the capitol city of Montevideo, and Colonia – the original Portuguese settlement.