Five Episcopal Academy students studied abroad through a student exchange over the summer.
Aidan McMeekin '19 and Chris Smith '19 lived with families in Australia and attended the Central Coast Grammar School.
Theo Vadot '19 lived with a family in Cape Town, South Africa and attended The Bishops School. Mollie Bonner '19 and Cat Spellman '19 attended The Herschel School in Cape Town.
"I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone and meet new people," explained Mollie. "It was amazing connecting with all of the people."
Some of Mollie's favorite experiences included: hiking Lion's Head and Table Mountain, and going on the Garden Route Tour. She especially enjoyed visiting an ostrich farm, walking with elephants at an elephant sanctuary, bungee jumping, zip lining and visiting a wildlife ranch. "I even had the opportunity to pet a cheetah!" shared Mollie. She now has some new favorite foods: milk tarts and bunny chow, which is a homemade roll stuffed with curry.
"I have learned an immense amount about other cultures and my exchange student, Jess, and I are as close as sisters."
Chris Smith spent nearly two months on his exchange in Australia. "I was a bit resistant to the idea of spending almost two months away from the familiarity of home, friends and family," explained Chris. "However, I soon came to realize that this once in a lifetime experience would help me grow as a person."
Chris had the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, feed kangaroos, and swim with sharks. "Some of my favorite experiences were little things like bonding with the boys during rugby training or roasting marshmallows by the bonfire at night with my new friends," said Chris. His new favorite foods include: meat pies, Tim Tams, and sponge cakes called Lamingtons.
Upper School math teacher Kelly Edwards oversees EA's student exchange program. "The exchange program is an invaluable opportunity. From the minute our kids take the initiative to apply for an exchange program to the moment they say goodbye to their exchange brother or sister, they have grown tremendously," said Ms. Edwards. "It teaches our students to take risks, step outside of their comfort zones, gain new perspectives, and develop life long relationships. The transformation that our students experience is amazing."
"I am extremely thankful for having been granted this wonderful opportunity," shared Chris.
EA students will host the students they lived with abroad in the fall.