Sophomores Sign up for Exchange: A Trip of a Lifetime

By Emma Parker, Assistant Webmaster

The air in the room intensifies as sophomore Maya Wei presses the submit button, sending her application forms in, ensuring that life as she knows it will change.

“I like to travel, and I always like to get out of my comfort zone because it makes you grow as a different kind of person, a better person,'' Wei said.

This year a new group of sophomores is signing up to become the next Rotary Exchange students.

They want to pack their bags and spend a year in a foreign country to experience a different world, a different culture and a whole new way of thinking about the world they live in.

Students are applying and choosing the top three countries they want to spend a year in.

“I would like to go to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium,'' sophomore Andrew Suarez said.

This year is different from most, as 14 sophomores signed up to spend their junior year in another country. That is much higher than usual, typically just three to four students. As a result, students must compete to get one of the six spots open.

The sophomores can’t wait to experience new cultures, new languages and four seasons. 

“It is really interesting to see how someone’s culture affects how they look on the world,'' sophomore Alfa Solis said.

This trip is not only an opportunity to spend a year in a different country, getting to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. It means so much more to these students.

“This trip is such a good opportunity to grow and mature,” Suarez said.

The sophomores are looking forward to pursuing one of the school’s three values posted in the front office: “global vision.”

“I don’t want to be in such a small box,” Wei said. “I want this trip to teach me how to be more open when it comes to people because since we live in America a lot of things are handed to us and we take things for granted.”