The high school foreign exchange program provides students with the opportunity to explore another language and culture while maintaining the Waldorf school community. Students to travel to their selected country and stay with a host family, attending school while abroad. This unique program has initiated more than half of the students at Portland Waldorf High School to study abroad. And while this is a popular program not just here, but other Waldorf schools, the connections and possibilities are not limited.
Riley, a junior attending PWHS is currently in Lima, Peru on her exchange, “I have met many new people and am surprised by how much my Spanish has improved in such a short time. I have had the pleasure of trying a variety of new foods, dancing, surfing, as well as learning the guitar.
Riley will be abroad for three months, then return to Portland just to host her same exchange student in her own home. “it’s a strange dynamic to realize that you will be living with people you hardly know anything about. Lucky for me my host family is warm and loving.
Meanwhile, Kai, also a junior at PWHS explores Germany. “My exchange has been full of adventures and fun times. I arrived in early August, a little less than a week before school started. In that week, we saw lots of cool buildings, bridges, parks and coffee shops.” From school trips to the Czech Republic or Prague, Kai has had fun experiencing this new culture and grasping German.
“Here’s the forest behind Lotte’s house where we walk sometimes, with her dog or the horses of a friend.”
As Kai was finally leaving Germany, she admitted, “it seems to me like my time here has flown by so fast. I had so much fun, and Lotte and her family were so kind and welcoming. I’m going to really miss them.”
Over the summer, Margot, a senior at PWS traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Staying with her host family, attending Clara de Asis, one of Buenos Aires’ two Waldorf schools, “Speaking only in Spanish was kind of a shock at first, I kept wanting to express specific words and coming up short. This definitely helped me form a bond with my exchange, however, we had this almost secret third party language, I would make a ‘I can’t explain what I’m thinking face’ and she would guess and interpret.”
“I loved playing soccer with her younger brother, he’s a fearless goalie. Living nearby, my exchanges aunt and cousin would often keep us company as well.”
Currently, Margot’s exchange, Wendy, is here with us at PWS. Wendy has taken a liking to her classmates and the Portland Waldorf community. With only being here for just a few days, Wendy is transitioning seamlessly, “One thing that I noticed is the chemistry lab, because we don’t have one at our school. I’m excited for our upcoming chemistry block.”
Wendy’s first day at PWS.