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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Australian exchange students come to New Trier

Through October 7 to December 27, Australian exchange students will be staying with four New Trier students. The program involves students from New Trier and students from Pittwater, Australia staying with one another for an extended period of time in order to absorb another culture.

The program is run by Wilmette Sister Cities. It all started when a New Trier teacher went and stayed with another teacher from Pittwater High School in Australia about twenty years ago. Like New Trier, the high school sat close to a Baha’i temple. Now, the program includes four New Trier students hosting an Aussie from Pittwater for about 8-12 weeks depending on the year.

Even though New Trier doesn’t sponsor the trip, the administration allows the visiting students to attend classes. Sophomore Regina Madanguit is currently hosting Australian student Maddy Hayes. “Maddy shadowed me her first day here but after that she got her own schedule with mostly electives and fun classes of her choice,” said Madanguit. The exchange students take classes here to get a sense of American culture.

Sophomore Sarah Rider, who is hosting Australian student Alysha Rowe, explained, “The way school works in Australia is that they have two week breaks between terms, so instead of having a three month long summer break like we do, they have two weeks of no school, and then they go back to school for another four.”

Junior Jessie Glenn, who participated in the Australian Exchange program last year, said, “Don’t get school credit because it’s a more of a cultural exchange rather than an educational one. The same thing goes for Pittwater.” When the time comes for the sophomores in the program to leave in June, they will have a similar structure that the Australians have here. Glenn said, “I was there from the time school got out in June to early August, and I stayed with a girl named Kim Godden. While I was there, I went to school four days a week, then every Wednesday we’d be excused from school to do an activity with the other Americans and our Aussie host families, like go to the Sydney opera house, parliament, climb the Sydney harbor bridge, or take surf lessons.”

These are just a few of the
experiences that the sophomores can look forward to come this June, but for now, they are focused on their visiting Aussie friends.

The Australian program is very selective, with only four New Trier students hosting and visiting Pittwater students. Junior Meredith Stremmel, who participated in the program last year, said, “First, we had to fill out an extremely long application with multiple recommendations. If you were selected, members of the board came to your house, met your family, and interviewed you.”

This is where the upcoming trip to Ecuador’s application process ends, but with the Australian Exchange, there are a few more steps. The interviewers “looked at your house to see if it was suitable for having another person come and live with you,” said Stremmel.

If you were selected after that, you needed to give a life presentation to all of the board members about an object that described you. It is only then–after this step in the process –that you find out whether or not you have been chosen as one of the four to participate in this program.

“My favorite part of the exhcnage was getting to meet so many amazing people and meeting lifelong friends,” said Stremmel.

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