For the second year in a row, six students and one teacher from South America have given up one month of their hot, sunny summer vacation and traveled to wintery Redmond for an exchange program called Building Bridges.
They will be attending classes at , taking field trips to visit various Seattle-area landmarks, and living with host families in our community. After three weeks in the Redmond area, the group heads to British Columbia for a one-week holiday. The group includes students María Belén Garcé, Pablo Lucini, María Belén Ortiz de Taranco, Rafael Paganini, Mateo Suburu, and Ana Vignolo, as well as Eugenia Balseiro, the English teacher who has accompanied the students as their chaperone.
During the regular school year, these 16- and 17-year-old students attend Colegio Seminario, a 130-year-old college preparatory school in Montevideo, Uruguay. They were selected for Building Bridges based on their English proficiency, academic performance, and behavior record.
The rigorous application process includes student essays, interviews, and recommendations from teachers, tutors, and administrators. The students’ reasons for participation in this program include a desire for first-hand exposure to the American culture and lifestyle as well as immension in English, a language they had been studying since kindergarten. The students also want to share their Uruguayan traditions and customs with their host families and Bear Creek students.
The Uruguay Building Bridges Program takes place during Bear Creek’s JanTerm, a two week mini-semester in which Bear Creek students enroll in topical seminars that may not fit into the traditional academic year but are perfect for short, intensive study.
For more information, see www.tbcs.org/buildingbridges.
—From The Bear Creek School