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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Exchange Program Makes a Lasting Impression

The sights at a Sevilla FC match.
This spring I was fortunate enough to take part in the inaugural exchange program with the Europa International School (EIS) in Seville, Spain. I left Saturday, April 25th and returned, June 2nd. 
Ale and his fellow travelers on their return stateside.
I left with Mrs. Ayers, a Spanish teacher, and three friends, all rising seniors. We traveled to Madrid, spent the first few days sightseeing, and on Wednesday we took the train to Seville. This was what we were most anticipating, being reunited with our exchanges and going to their school. The Spanish students attended GA from the end of August to the end of November. At that time, I was nervous to receive my student; I would ask myself if we would get along or if he was going to like my family. That was not the case, and quickly proved that my questions were silly. My student, Efren, and I got along and he became like a brother to me. I was beyond excited to see him again and to meet his family. As soon as I got off the train, my “Spanish mom” recognized me and greeted me with a smile, a big hug, and the customary two kisses that I was still getting accustomed to. I was back with my “brother” and was eager to spend the next 6 weeks with him and his family.

I would soon find out that Spanish food could very well be one of the most delicious cuisines ever, and I was very well taken care of, granted my “parents” worked in the culinary industry. I made sure I was open to try everything that was put in front of me, and I can honestly say I loved everything. Of course, the exchange experience would not be fully encompassed if I didn’t talk about the school. We attended school everyday, with the exception of the days we went on excursions.
One of the classes at EIS.
I was fully “immersed” at school, I would attend all the courses my classmates would have, and would have to complete assignments, specifically in history class and in their Spanish literature/grammar class. The students at EIS were very welcoming and kind with us exchanges. I made many new friends and am confident that I will not only keep in touch with them but that I will see them again in the future. They are friends that will have a lasting impact on my life. My family there was incredible.
Ale and his host family.
Simply put they were better than any family I could possibly imagine having. If anybody ever has the opportunity to take part in an exchange and study abroad, I would urge them to take that opportunity. It is an amazing and irreplaceable experience. I am grateful for the friends I have in Seville. I cannot begin to thank my “family” enough: my “parents” Rosana and Luis, and my “brothers” Ezra, Aaron, and Efren they made the trip unforgettable. In the future I will look back on my sophomore year as one of the most fulfilling years of my life.

~ Ale G. '17

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Capital Adventure for '19

The GA eighth grade recently went on a 3-day trip to Washington, DC. During those days, we got to visit many famous memorials (Lincoln, World War II, MLK, FDR, etc.), museums (Art, Holocaust, Newseum), Arlington National Cemetery, and even a fun improv show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. SHEER MADNESS!
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was one of the sights the Class of 2019 took in.

My favorite museum that I visited would have to have been the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Although it does have a dark theme to it, the impact it can give is really true to itself. It’s not just like any other museum where you just gaze and leave. It is a place to reflect and to

My favorite memorial was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It consists of two right triangular walls of black granite. Written on them are the names of accounted soldiers who died while fighting the war. It may seem a bit dull at first, especially when it can be compared to the Lincoln Memorial,
but it really brought out another dark and powerful theme. You can sense the dark peace when you stand before it; it leaves everyone in silence.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Vinit's favorite in Washington.
Seeing Arlington National Cemetery and the Eternal Flame was also a wondrous experience. Never having visited a cemetery before, I felt a strange sense of awe when I saw tons of tombstones
The changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
glistening in the sun. I also got to see the changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns, which had been taking place during a few of the funerals held there.

All in all, the trip gave me a sense of peace and reflection. I have been able to take a lot from it, and I hope rising 8th graders will be able to as well!

~ Vinit J. ‘19