Feel the heartbeat worldwide

Sophomore+Emily+Sabia+hosted+exchange+student+Paula+Lopez+from+the+network+school+in+Madrid%2C+Spain.+As+a+way+to+%22show+her+around+America%2C%22++Emily+and+her+family+traveled+to+Washington%2C+DC+and+saw+the+Lincoln+Memorial+and+Washington+Monument+Saturday%2C+September+22.

Sophomore Emily Sabia hosted exchange student Paula Lopez from the network school in Madrid, Spain. As a way to "show her around America," Emily and her family traveled to Washington, DC and saw the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument Saturday, September 22.

Experiencing new cultures, exploring foreign languages and creating lifelong relationships with people from different locations around the world are all aspects of the network exchange program at Convent of the Sacred Heart.
“[The exchange program] is a unique program to Sacred Heart,” Academic Dean and Exchange Coordinator  Mrs. Jennifer Bensen said. “Most students have to wait for college to travel abroad through a school program; we offer students a chance to experience another network school during or following their sophomore year.”
According to Mrs. Bensen, Sacred Heart Greenwich is a very popular destination to go on exchange due to the school’s proximity to New York City. Convent of the Sacred Heart 91 street and the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, New Jersey are also popular destinations.
Mrs. Bensen said, “Our proximity to NYC is definitely appealing  to international students who have not been to the US before.” 
In the first month of the 2012 school year, five students from Spain, Austria, Mexico and Louisiana traveled to Sacred Heart Greenwich.
Three students, Carmen Ubeda, Cristina Kasis and Paula Lopez came from Colegio Sagrado Corazon, the Sacred Heart school in Madrid, Spain. Cristina, 19 years old, arrived August 31 and is staying with four different senior families until May 30.
“I decided to come because I really have to learn English,” Christina said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for me as a person because I’m living with other families, other people, and meet new friends. And the culture it’s so different—it’s good for me to learn this now.”
Cristina described her experience as refreshingly unfamiliar.
“Here, everything is new—the culture, the language the food. That’s cool because on the weekends sometimes, for me, going to the movie theatre, everywhere is something new. I go to school and every day learn something different—English or other things. I learn so many things and meet new people and that’s so cool,” she said.
Students from Mexico described the Sacred Heart school in Mexico as having a small campus. Compared to classes in Greenwich, which sometime have only four students in a class, courses at Colegio Sagrado Corazon in Madrid have around 20 students per class.
“I like this school because it’s so big,” Paula Lopez said. “It’s more fun than my school because at my school it’s more strict.”

Sophomore Emily Sabia hosted exchange student Paula Lopez from the network school in Madrid, Spain. As a way to “show her around America,” Emily and her family traveled to Washington, DC and saw the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument Saturday, September 22.
courtesy of Emily Sabia ’15

Emily Sabia who hosted Paula from September 8 to October 5 took her to see tourist attractions in the Northeast, such as the Freedom Tower and Statue of Liberty in New York City as well as  the Lincoln Memorial in Washington,  DC.
“It’s fun to have someone at your house who comes with you all the time and who you can take into New York. It’s fun to show her that,” Emily said. “She sees daily life.”
As a recent addition to the exchange program, exchange students are  now allowed to participate on sports teams throughout the duration of their visit.
“I like to practice cross country because I like to run,” Cristina said, in an episode of Today from the Heart. “I am speaking with the team and make friends.”
Later this year, sophomore Gabrielle Giacomo will travel to the Woldingham School in England, the first time a student from Greenwich will be on exchange to the school since 2004. Mrs. Bensen said that a current goal of the exchange program is to continue to expand to other countries and increase contacts internationally, including Ireland.
“Students develop confidence in their own ability to travel, learn how to navigate a new city and mesh with a family that is not their own. The global experience is not something that can be taught in the classroom and the opportunity to go on exchange gives every young woman a chance to step outside her comfort zone”, Mrs. Bensen said.  “Anyone who wants to go on exchange has the opportunity to do it.”
 
– Alison Brett, Photo Editor
Network Exchange Program Brochure: http://www.cshgreenwich.org/podium/default.aspx?t=145790&rc=0
Network of Sacred Heart School: http://sofie.org/