Three students from the Northlands School in Buenos Aires, Argentina arrived Sunday as part of an exchange program.
The experience consists of three weeks of hosting, before Brimmer students experience what it’s like to live as a porteño for three weeks in June.
“The Brimmer-Northlands new International Student Exchange program is part of our 21st century skills school philosophy invested in whole-person education,” the School wrote in a letter to families last academic year. “An integral part of this is the development of each individual as a global citizen. One of its main objectives is to imbue our students with respect and care for others, embracing all national identities.”
Currently, Northlands students Felicitas Irigoyen, Angeles Bacigalupo, and Milagros Passeron are staying with Kaitlyn Anderson ’20, Anja Westhues ’20, and Chloe Cochener ’19, respectively.
Irigoyen, a rising junior, is interested in the educational aspects of the exchange, saying that she signed up “to meet new people and experience different cultures.”
Spanish teacher Mirna Goldberger, who grew up in Buenos Aires and attended Northlands, coordinates the program.
“The exchange program is a very dear project to me,” Goldberger said, adding that she enjoys working with her counterpart at Northlands. “I am able to connect my current life at Brimmer to my own experiences at Northlands.”
At its core, Goldberger said, the program is an educational experience that facilitates cross-cultural interactions.
“Students will be able to find out what other people experience and realize that we have lot of differences that are worthy of celebration,” Goldberger said. “We also have a lot in common.”
According to Hannah Ahearn ’20, who visited Argentina last summer, the experience was chalk full of educational opportunities and cultural immersion.
“Although the language aspect was difficult, my Spanish improved a lot over the three weeks I spent there,” Ahearn said. “The overall experience of hosting as well as staying in Argentina and learning about the culture is something that I will never forget.”
Anja Westhues ’20, who will attend Northlands this summer, is also enjoying the hosting experience.
“My family and I were nervous at first, but my student, Angeles, is so nice and friendly,” Westhues said. “We’ve gotten along so well so far and I can’t wait for the next few weeks.”
For her part, Angeles Bacigalupo hopes to visit different areas of Massachusetts.
“I am especially excited to explore Boston,” Bacigalupo says.
Chloe Cochener ’19, who visited Argentina last year and is hosting again currently, said that the exchange provided her with a different perspective than traveling with family.
“Students do not stay in hotels with their families, they are completely integrated into the culture. This allows students to learn more,” says Cochener.
Milagros Passeron said that she signed up to discover how a school in another country operates.
“I have noticed that the social life here is different than in Argentina,” Passeron said. “The whole school feels more like a community, like a family. Northlands is much bigger, with 67 students in my grade and there are two campuses. It’s just not the same.”
Editor’s note: If you are interested in participating in the Brimmer-Northlands Exchange Program, contact Mirna Goldberger.