Far from home but close to the heart

Far+from+home+but+close+to+the+heart

Every year, rising Convent of the Sacred Heart sophomores eagerly await to embark on exchange within the International Network of Sacred Heart Schools. During this study abroad program, Sacred Heart students spend two to six weeks overseas, at the school of their choice, immersing themselves in new cultures while having the opportunity to practice their foreign language 

Stephanie and her exchange student preparing to celebrate Peruvian Independence Day. Courtesy of Stephanie Jordan '18
Stephanie and her host preparing to celebrate Peruvian Independence Day.
Courtesy of Stephanie Jordan ’18

This summer, Sacred Heart students visited countries such as France, Spain, Australia, and Peru. When a student goes abroad, she lives with a host family or in the host school’s boarding facilities, according to cshgreenwich.org
Junior Stephanie Jordan took advantage of the opportunity to go on exchange and traveled to Lima, Peru. She stayed with her host family in the suburbs of Lima for six weeks. 
“At [my host] school I got to learn all about the [Peruvian] culture. I saw the city of Lima, their history, and their culture,” Stephanie said. 
In this new setting, she noticed numerous differences between Sacred Heart in Greenwich and her host school, Colegio Sagrado Corazon Sophianum. One of these disparities included their respective styles of communal gatherings. 
“They had something similar to our fall festival, but they had that once every few months. The parents got more involved. It was very kid-oriented,” Stephanie said. 
While in Peru, Stephanie participated in everyday activities such as homework and spending time with friends. Despite the normalcy of these activities, incorporating the Peruvian culture transformed these common events into new experiences. 
Juniors Jackie Shannon, Clara Geffs, Julia Herzig, and Maddy Black in front of Mater at Sagrat Cor Sarriá Courtesy of Jackie Shannon '18
Juniors Jackie Shannon, Clara Geffs, Julia Herzig, and Maddy Black in front of the Mater painting at Sagrat Cor Sarriá.
Courtesy of Jackie Shannon ’18

Junior Jackie Shannon also traveled abroad this summer. She crossed the Atlantic to visit Sagrat Cor Sarriá in Barcelona, Spain and to stay with a host family who lives in the city’s suburbs. 
When Jackie first experienced the Spanish lifestyle, the differences between the Spanish and American cultures overwhelmed her. However, after a few days, she adjusted to her host country and began to experience Barcelona’s beauty to the fullest.
“We walked a lot more there than we do here [and] we ate dinner around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. every night. The earliest [we] went to bed was 11:30 p.m.,” Jackie said.
During her 16 days in Barcelona, Jackie was able to see and appreciate the Barcelonian architecture. The small antique Spanish buildings were a change from the New York City skyscrapers. She particularly enjoyed the architecture by Antoni Gaudí, whose work decorates the streets of Barcelona.
The Sagrada Família Church in Barcelona, Spain. Courtesy of Jackie Shannon '18
The Sagrada Família Church in Barcelona, Spain.
Courtesy of Jackie Shannon ’18

“The architecture in Barcelona was beautiful, [especially] the cathedrals and Gaudí architecture,” Jackie said.
Both Jackie and Stephanie recommend that those who are interested in participating in the exchange program consider applying and contact the Upper School Academic Dean and Network Exchange Coordinator, Mrs. Jennifer Bensen. 
“Don’t be afraid or nervous to speak the language or make mistakes,” Stephanie said. “I was so nervous, [but] just listening to the language even if you are in an English speaking place is so much fun.” 
– Shantel Guzman, Staff Writer