Exchange students visit Newington
Newington has welcomed eight exchange students, six from France, and two from the USA, all of whom will stay with Newington families for the remainder of the term.
Oscar Morand (Y10), Thibault Chatillon (Y10), Raphaël Sagot (Y10), Gonzague Preau (Y9), Vickram Rameschesing (Y10) and Edward Huguenin-Virchaux (Y11) join us from Lycée St Vincent in Senlis, a town 50km north-east of Paris.
Andrew Edwardson (Y10) and Ian Murray (12/KL) (not pictured) join us from the Brunswick School, in Greenwich, Connecticut, a 40-minute train ride to Manhattan, NY.
I caught up with a couple of the boys and asked about their experiences so far in the Land Down Under.
How is Newington different from your school?
Gonzague (France): It is a boys’ only school, and I find it a bit more strict. We also don’t have a uniform.
Ian (USA): Both in terms of the student body and area, it is larger, which takes some getting used to. Also, we don’t have the house system that Newington does, or the exact uniform. However, beyond those differences, it is pretty similar to Brunswick.
Why did you choose to come to Australia?
Oscar (France): I think it’s a dream for a lot of people to go to Australia, and I’m not disappointed. I also chose it because it’s the longest trip so the best way to improve my English.
Thibault (France): I came to Australia because I would improve my English, discover a new country and this is the best trip of my school.
Ian (USA): It was one of the only non-language exchanges, and my older sister had gone before and loved it. So when I saw the opportunity I took it. Also, there are Tim Tams here.
What have you enjoyed the most so far?
Ian (USA): Going to new places and seeing what the country has to offer. I’ve been to Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Bondi Beach and more. Even in the winter, the weather is beautiful.
Thibault (France): The general mood of Newington and my long weekend in Heron Island.
Edward (France): I enjoyed it when we lit a fire on the beach at Pearl Beach.
What do you like about Newington?
Gonzague (France): The food at the canteen and the big campus.
Ian (USA): I’ve really enjoyed meeting some of the boys here. Although I will get to host Thomas when I get back to the United States, I’ve also met a handful of other guys I think I’ll stay in touch with when I come home.
Edward (France): Teachers are nice and more fun.
Mr Bennett, the Exchange Program Co-ordinator at Newington, summed up the magic of being part of an exchange.
“Languages are gateways to new cultures, allowing us to connect with others from different places around the world. An exchange experience, although daunting at first, will influence and inform your life. It will require students to be courageous, flexible, open-minded and demonstrate perseverance. However the enormous rewards for those willing to take the risk of an exchange is unparalleled: growth in self-confidence, tolerance, responsibility and independence are just a few.”
Most of the boys who are hosting now will be the same boys lucky enough to visit their respective exchange countries. These boys are given this opportunity from Year 9 to Year 11 and most see it as not only as a way to embrace different cultures but as a valuable learning experience. The boys who are hosting their French counterparts, Tom Sherratt (10/ME), Nic Bulley (10/LE), Jamie McNaughton (10/LE), Henry Armstrong-Bailey (9/LE), Tom Charley (11/PR) and myself, know this journey will also dramatically improve our French fluency, as the constant exposure to a genuine French life would teach us in a way that a textbook cannot.
I asked a friend, Nic Bulley (10/LE) about his outbound exchange to France in the December break.
What do you want to get out of the exchange?
By doing the exchange I hope to be able to experience a different culture while meeting new people and making good friends along the way.
What are you most excited about?
I am most excited for the five weeks that we get to spend in France during our summer holidays. Having the chance to stay with a French family and going to school there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t have without the exchange program.
What is one place you really hope to visit in your respective country?
I really hope to visit the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame de Paris but I’m happy and excited to visit anywhere.
Newington offers a broad spectrum of exchanges that come from all corners of the world. Students can travel to England, USA, France, Holland, Japan and Italy. There have been connections made after the recent successful China tour to allow students to go on exchange to China. The College is also lucky enough to host around 10 Japanese students for a couple of days in Term 3.
I, along with the other students, am looking forward to joining our respective families in December. We are excited to embark on a new cultural journey. We will exchange glaring 30-degree heat for the 5-degree chills of winter, but overall, l we know that it is going to be an amazing and memorable experience.
Woojin Lee (10/MO)