Creating connections through Cultural Experience

Every year, Carey provides Year 9 students with the exciting opportunity to attend school in England, New York, Canada or New Zealand. All exchanges are reciprocal, which means your family will also be hosting a student from the school your child has been partnered with.

The following are reflections from two students who were involved in the Cultural Experience program. Mia spent six weeks in New York at Horace Greeley High, Chappaqua and is yet to host her exchange partner who arrives in July this year. Adam ventured to St Aidan’s Church of England High School in Harrogate, UK in 2018.

Mia: There are no words to sum up how much I loved going to New York as an exchange student. I will never forget how I felt when I stepped off the plane and into my New York parents’ arms for the first time. I felt like I belonged, it was an instant connection. They treated me like one of their own children. When I knew that I was coming to America I was scared that I wouldn’t fit in, but all that went away when I met exchange, Molly. We had so much in common and laughed at the same things; it was the perfect match. School life in America was different compared to Australia. I loved having all the free periods during school and sometimes even an early finish. At school, I would spend those free periods in the cafeteria with Molly’s friends, who I can now call my own. The teachers were kind and understanding which helped my transition easier. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in making this experience possible, and my exchange family for making me the fifth member in their family and becoming a part of mine. This is something I will never forget, and it will always have a special place in my heart.’

Adam: ‘Hosting and going on exchange was an absolutely amazing experience. I honestly think it was the best experience in my life so far. St Aidan’s is a very different but awesome school compared to Carey. During the first couple of days the things I noticed about school in England were: You always wait for the teacher to come into class before you enter. You usually wait behind your seats until the teacher says you can sit down. For the role you say, ‘yes sir’ or, ‘yes miss’, and other times you don’t usually say their surname. The classes go for an hour not 50 mins, but there are only five, not six. Lunch and break also go for longer which is nice. One of the highlights of St Aidan’s were the lunches. Every day at lunch you would go down to the canteen and have a hot lunch and a drink, along with things like cupcakes, biscuits or cooked deserts. Hardly any of the students bring their own lunch. I made so many friends at St Aidan’s and really wish I could go back and see them again.’

The Information Evening is a compulsory part of the Cultural Exchange process. Even if you and your child are just thinking of applying, you and both need to attend on Wednesday 22 May at 7.00pm in the IWA. This session will also provide information about the Robinson River program.

On average, there are approximately 20 to 25 students involved in the experience. If you would like any further details, please go to Cultural Experience Program page on CareyLink or see Mrs Lee Rainey in the Middle School Curriculum Office. 

Lee Rainey
Cultural Experience and Middle School Camp Co-ordinator