On Friday, January 16, a group of host families representing Green Acres School in North Bethesda, MD welcomed four exchange students at Dulles Airport from Colegio Leonardo da Vinci in Líma, Perú. The students from the program, which also includes host families from the Barnesville School and the Bullis School, participated in a welcome potluck and began exploring sites in and around Washington, D.C. During their three-week stay, students will live with families and participate in the seventh grade program.
The Peruvian students’ visit marks over a decade of this two-way exchange program. According to Neal Brown, Head of Green Acres School, “Green Acres’ partnership with Colegio Leonardo da Vinci gives students from Green Acres a chance to improve their Spanish skills and to increase their knowledge of Latin American culture. The whole community experiences a bit of Peruvian culture when we host these terrific kids from Lima!” Since the Peruvian students participate fully in Green Acres’ academic program, the entire seventh grade class is involved in special activities, such as a trip to Ski Liberty and Green Acres’ annual weekend ice skating party.
As part of the exchange, a small group of Green Acres students visit Peru for a three-week period during the summer, attending classes at Colegio Leonardo da Vinci and living with host families. They are accompanied on the trip by an adult chaperone. Living with host families in Peru allows Green Acres students to reunite with friends they had met during the three-week exchange in January and also build meaningful new relationships.
Similar to the Peruvians’ winter visit, the exchange experience goes beyond taking classes. “Green Acres students take classes in Peru to learn about the cultures and strengthen their language skills, and they also enjoy lots of informal break times, often spent visiting the school snack bar for Peruvian treats like empanadas, triples, and alfajores,” said Middle School Spanish Teacher and Exchange Program Coordinator Pilar McKay.