Irish exchange students charm the Upper School

Irish+exchange+students+Rachel+Lee%2C+Eimear+Scanlan%2C+Naoise+Kelly+and+Niamh+O%27Hare+join+their+host+families%2C+sophomores+Caroline+Roche%2C+Kelly+Heinzerling%2C+Alexis+Karas+and+Lauren+Monahan%2C+and+Head+of+School+Ms.+Pamela+Juan+Hayes%2C+in+time+for+the+fall.%0ACourtesy+of+Mrs.+Jennifer+Bensen+

Irish exchange students Rachel Lee, Eimear Scanlan, Naoise Kelly and Niamh O’Hare join their host families, sophomores Caroline Roche, Kelly Heinzerling, Alexis Karas and Lauren Monahan, and Head of School Ms. Pamela Juan Hayes, in time for the fall. Courtesy of Mrs. Jennifer Bensen

Irish exchange students Rachel Lee, Eimear Scanlan, Naoise Kelly and Niamh O'Hare join their host families, sophomores Caroline Roche, Kelly Heinzerling, Alexis Karas and Lauren Monahan, and Head of School Ms. Pamela Juan Hayes, in time for the fall.  Courtesy of Mrs. Jennifer Bensen
Irish exchange students Rachel Lee, Eimear Scanlan, Naoise Kelly and Niamh O’Hare join their host families, sophomores Caroline Roche, Kelly Heinzerling, Alexis Karas and Lauren Monahan, and Head of School Ms. Pamela Juan Hayes, in time for the fall.
Courtesy of Mrs. Jennifer Bensen

This fall, the first wave of Irish exchange students charmed the halls of the Convent of the Sacred Heart Upper School.  Niamh O’Hare, Naoise Kelly, Eimear Scanlan and Rachel Lee joined the homes of sophomores Caroline Roche, Alexis Karas, Lauren Monahan and Kelly Heinzerling at the beginning of October.
“I wanted to host someone from Ireland because I’m very interested in Irish culture and I wanted to make new friends in a different country,” Lauren said.
The four girls are fourth year students at Mount Anville Secondary School in Dublin, Ireland. They have noticed many differences between Mount Anville and Sacred Heart, including the size of the campus as well as the number of students per class. 
“The school is very different; there are less people but the school is much bigger,” Niamh said. “Sacred Heart also uses computers in class, but Mount Anville doesn’t which makes classes very different. I really enjoy both schools though.” 
Another difference between Mount Anville and Sacred Heart is that all students in Ireland are required to study Gaelic through both Primary and Secondary school.

“Eimear speaks, writes and reads Gaelic fluently,” Kelly said.

A major difference between the two cultures is how holidays are celebrated differently.Although Sacred Heart allows a day for students to wear their Halloween costumes to school, Mount Anville gives its students a week of vacation. Eimear commented on the national festivities for the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day.

“Every family celebrates in different ways, whether it’s attending the parade in the city, wearing green to celebrate or attending a party with family or friends,” Eimear said.
Eimear has also noticed that there are some disparities between the English and Irish locutions. For example, a word such as “sweater” in America would be called “jumper” in Ireland. Alexis has also commented on Naoise’s Irish brogue and phrases.
“She has told me all about Ireland and how much fun and nice everyone is. My favorite thing about her being Irish is when she speaks,” Alexis said. “A saying she has taught me was ‘mind yourself’ which means ‘take care’.”
The Sacred Heart students have enjoyed introducing their Irish peers to New York City. The girls have spent time exploring the variety of culture in New York and enjoying the shopping opportunities that the city has to offer. Upon Naoise’s arrival in the States, the fashion and excitement of American shopping amazed her.
“My favorite part about being in America is all the shopping and spending time with Alexis’ family. The shopping is much better than in Ireland,” Naoise said.
Niamh and Lauren have also exchanging other American and Irish customs and traditions. For example, Lauren introduced Niamh to Mexican food in New York City, and Niamh taught Lauren how to properly cook a potato.
Although they have only been here for a few weeks, the exchange students have bonded with Sacred Heart’s sophomores, and enchanted their traditional American homes with the luck of the Irish. The Sacred Heart Community is thankful for the opportunity to expand its heart to the Emerald Isle.
– Molly Geisinger, News Editor