Foreign Exchange Students Visit Woodgrove


Written by Maryam Khan

The Global Ambassadors Club recently hosted 33 foreign exchange students from China, Hungary, Panama, Poland, and South Africa for ten days for an international summit. Students came to not only experience America, but educate Woodgrove students about their respective countries.

The students arrived on March 21 and 22, and stayed with their host families until April 2. The students participated in many activities: a conference to discuss crucial topics, a visit to Washington D.C., a visit to the town of Purcellville, a day shadowing their host student at school, a multicultural dinner, and a trip to Philadelphia. All trips were organized by the Global Ambassadors, a club that stands to promote cultural diversity and acceptance.

The conference held on March 27 welcomed the exchange students and discussed prepared topics from each country. The exchange students were welcomed by Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser, Woodgrove Principal Samuel Shipp, and the three Co-Presidents of the Global Ambassadors Club: Caleb Blank, Nazaneen Anwari, and Courtney Shores. The students were then taken on a tour of Woodgrove, where they spotted differences between their school and Woodgrove.

South African exchange student Klara Joubert said, “In the beginning, it was a bit of a culture shock because my school is much smaller, but at the end it’s quite nice.”

During the conference, students broke into small groups to hear prepared presentations from each country; China presented on the importance of women’s rights, Hungary presented on water pollution, Panama presented on the benefits of recycling, and Poland presented on climate change. Each country discussed how important each topic is globally and nationally.

The exchange students went to Washington D.C., on March 28, and they visited places like the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall to explore the nation’s capital. They later met with delegates at the Hungarian Embassy for brunch.

The exchange students visited Purcellville on March 29, where they took a tour of the Purcellville Fire and Rescue Station. Students walked around Purcellville to see the historic town and ended their trip with lunch at the Purcellville library.

Exchange students shadowed their host student on March 30, to experience what a regular school day looks like in America, and the foreign language department held a multicultural dinner for the students later that evening. Many Woodgrove families brought dishes from all around the world for the dinner, in order to celebrate cultural diversity. The students went on a final trip to Philadelphia, on March 31,  where they saw Independence Hall and were given a chance to walk around. Students ended their trip in Philadelphia trying famous Philly cheesesteaks.

Overall the students were pleased with their trip, Panamanian student Sofia Guerra said, “I really like everything, the weather is much better; the only real difference is the language.”

This is the second year exchange students have visited Woodgrove with Global Ambassadors. Club sponsor Heidi McPhillips describes Global Ambassadors as trying, “to help foster meaningful international relationships, friendships, and increase cultural awareness and acceptance, and encourage students to celebrate cultures.” The theme of the club is ‘interacting globally,’ to promote cultural awareness.

From a student standpoint, Global Ambassadors, “allows students to branch out and connect with other cultures,” said host student and club member sophomore Sara Roach.

The international summit exemplified the significance of developing international relationships, throughout the visit. In the future The Global Ambassadors Club will strive to raise more cultural awareness at Woodgrove, setting an ideal example for those who are looking to expand and express their strengths.