What are you doing this summer?

by Rebekah Sandefer, French teacher and director of Peddie's Study Abroad Program

A popular question these days as we wrap up the school year, put our books away and get out our sun screen and new sandals. In my experience, people love to impress other people with their grandiose summer plans. It doesn’t change when you become an adult. Last summer, I was all too eager to share my road trip plans with anyone who would listen. You could call it “Bragging”, or you could call it “Pure Excitement for Plans That Up Until Now You’ve Only Dreamed About Becoming Reality”.

Yep, that’s it.

I’m happy to say that we have 5 Falcons traveling to 3 different countries this summer with School Year Abroad. Let me introduce them to you:

To Spain:

Heather ’14 has been studying the language since middle school but has yet to set foot in a Spanish-speaking country. She is eager to practice and improve her speaking skills so that she can connect with the locals. She also dreams about visiting Barcelona so that she can compare notes with her Dad who studied abroad there in college. Heather knows the classes will be challenging but “worth it”.

To France:

Leah ’14 has been studying French since middle school and has not yet visited the country! She is very eager to experience life in Rennes, but also to travel to Paris and see some famous monuments, especially the Eiffel Tower. Leah is motivated to improve her language skills and meet her host family, even though that tends to be one aspect that many are nervous about...

To China:
Justin ’14 knows the value of learning a foreign language through immersion. That’s how he learned English in the 5th grade and he’s looking forward to that moment when Chinese “clicks” and his progress is noticeable. Luckily for him, he’s been to China twice before, but it will be different to live with a host family. Justin will also be completing his Summer Signature Program on house structures called “Hutongs” that encourage a more communal living experience.

Jenny ’14 has been studying Chinese since level 1 here at Peddie. She plans on enrolling in AP this fall so her motivation is in getting a language boost. Jenny was also inspired by a classmate (Emma Robinson) who participated in the summer program the year before. Jenny has been to China with her family and looks forward to connecting with Chinese teens to find out how they live and what they enjoy doing in their free time. One thing she's dreading is getting used to a different style toilet.... 

Steven ’15 had his first experience with the language during a family vacation in Beijing one summer. He saw his sister (then in level 1) speaking with the natives and he really wanted to do the same. Steven assures me that sharing this experience with his sister is “no big deal”. He also looks forward to traveling to Shanghai and experiencing the culture through his host family.

Remember to check back on this blog to hear directly from our fellow Falcons later this summer.