For over twenty years, Upper Dublin’s British Exchange Program has operated as a unique, cross-cultural opportunity for high school seniors. In partnership with Sir John Lawes School, 22 students from Upper Dublin and and 22 students from Harpenden (a suburb of London) are appropriately selected and paired. Tonight (October 20th), at 9:00, the students from Harpenden will be met by their host families at Upper Dublin High School. For the next ten days, the 44 students will go on a variety of field trips, partake in a series of bonding activities, and experience several October UDHS traditions.
Last spring, juniors interested in the program went through an extensive selection process. They were chosen based on an interview, a resumé, an essay, and staff feedback. This year’s group is composed of 6 boys and 16 girls.
Since being admitted into the program, UD students have spent time getting to know their British counterparts. Jesse Weiner, an exchange participant, explained, “We’ve kept in touch through WhatsApp. I’ve learned about my exchange partner’s passions and some of his preconceived notions about America. He’s said that he’s most looking forward to going to an American diner and experiencing American football.”
Additionally, the UD participants have forged stronger friendships with one another. Violet Flynn, another exchange participant, remarked, “It’s cool becoming friends with all the Americans on the exchange too, like we’ve all become close over the past few months.”
During their stay, the British Exchange Students will travel with their American partners to New York City and Washington D.C. Following these day trips, the program participants will have the opportunity to experience Spirit Week, the Homecoming football game, and Upper Dublin’s Coronation dance.
Although the next week is an opportunity for the British exchange students to get a taste of going to school in America, it’s also an opportunity for them to understand the importance of tradition in Upper Dublin. Ellie Landau, on what she’s most looking forward to, explained, “I’m excited to have my partner at the pep rally, I really hope to show them the spirit of Upper Dublin High School.”
The British Exchange students will be departing from Philadelphia at 7:30 PM on October 30th. In five months from now, Upper Dublin students will depart from the same airport on their journey to the United Kingdom.