International Exchange Club
The International Exchange Club is comprised of students from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to make connections with visiting exchange students.
Members of the club not only provide hospitality for exchange students from all corners of the globe, but travel on exchange programs as well. During the course of the school year, club members host a series of Dialog Nights featuring adults and students who have traveled abroad, as well as information nights for students who want to take part in exchanges or hosting. Membership is open to all RUHS students.
For more information about the wide range of international opportunities offered at RUHS club, contact Club Advisor Deb Lary.
Shizukuisi Exchange Program Turns 28
In 1992, ten students and their chaperones from a small city in Japan found their way to Randolph, Vermont, largely due to the efforts of Carolyn Covalt, an RUHS graduate. Their mission was to learn first hand about American culture by staying with host families and touring the Vermont countryside. That was 28 years ago, and since that time, students from Shizukuishi, Japan have come to Randolph in 25 of the last 28 Januarys; and more than 320 families have participated in the exchange.
This year, our Japanese guests - 10 students and one teacher - visited the elementary and middle schools to share their culture a present a program of music and dance. They also visited a number of Vermont attractions, including Ben and Jerry’s, the Billings Farm, the Cabot Annex, Silloway Farm, Beidler Farm, Cold Hollow Cider, and Gillingham’s Store in Woodstock (the owner of which grew up in Morioka, Japan, which is the next town over from Shizukuishi). Sumio Inoue was also along on the trip. Sumio is the father of a student who traveled to Randolph about 10 years ago and hosted by Charlie and Suzie Zani of Brookfield. Sumio continues to guided Randolph travelers throughout Japan.
In the spirit of a true exchange, Randolph students have visited Shizukuishi nine times since the start of the exchange. While in Japan, RUHS students share a performance of song, dance, poetry, and a slideshow about Vermont. Typically between seven and twelve students travel every other year to Japan. The trip includes 2 days in Tokyo, seven days of home stay in Shizukuishi, and two days visiting the town of Nikko. Nikko is a National Park registered as a World Heritage site, containing sixteenth century shrines and temples. In order to participate in the traveling part of the program, Randolph students must go through a selection process which includes a written application, reference, and an interview. Since the first trip in 2000, the planners have been dedicated to the concept that student participation should not be based on the ability to pay. Intense fundraising and grant writing efforts by both parents and students builds strong bonds and helps the students get to know one another prior to the trip.
Randolph students will travel once again to Japan this June (2020).
How did that song go when we were kids?
“It’s a Small World After All.”
Written by the Disney organization* in the early 1960s, the song was about promoting peace and brotherhood among the people – especially the children – of the world. Today, more than 50 years after the song’s message circled the globe in scores of languages, students at RUHS are finding out just how true those words are.
In April of 2018, a group of students from the “Service Learning” Project-Based Learning (PBL) class traveled to the city of San Ramon, Nicaragua to spend 10 days teaching elementary school students about North America; about the importance of learning to read; how to solve problems and puzzles; and even a little about American soccer.
“Our goal,” said Senior Amanda Rosalbo, “is to help address the illiteracy problem facing Nicaraguan kids in some of the poorer parts of the country. We’ve all been writing, illustrating, and translating short stories to teach kids about our part of the planet, plus they have built in activities designed to help kids expand their thinking and learning.”
The students will stay at the homes of various host families in the city during their stay, giving them an even closer look at life in a Latin American country.
“We worked with seven different elementary schools,” said RU Spanish (and PBL) teacher Simona Talos, “as well as a night school, where a number of adults go, after work, to learn reading and literacy skills. The essential goal of the trip is to help students, both young and old, break out of the cycle of illiteracy that keeps then trapped in poverty.”
According to Talos, a generous gift from the Dorothy Byrne Foundation helped students tremendously in their fundraising efforts!
German Exchange Program – BBS Cuxhaven
Ten students from the port city of Cuxhaven, located in the Lower Saxony region of Germany at the edge of the North Sea, spent ten days this September exploring Vermont, attending classes at RUHS and RTCC, and renewing ties with friends in the Randolph area.
The exchange, initiated by Vermont Technical College over a decae ago, has become an annual tradition with students from both countries taking turns visiting each other’s schools and learning about the educational and career opportunities both provide. When VTC eliminated the program in 2012, RUHS saw it as a chance not only to continue a longstanding relationship, but also as an opportunity to broaden its students’ knowledge of and interest in European cultures.
“This year,” according to teachers Deb Lary and Dot Goulet who coordinated the trip, “the German students visited the Vermont State House, took a tour of Vermont Technical College, and visitd various tourist and cultural sites around Central Vermont, including Ben and Jerrys, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, the Green Mountain National Forest, as well as a number of local attractions, such as Eaton’s Sugar House, Quechee Gorge, and VINS. When they were not on the road, the studentsspent time with their host families and shadowing RUHS and RTCC students.”
According to their chaperones, the German students were also very excited to be able to spend time in Boston and New York City on either end of their trip. A closing pot luck dinner and ceremony was held on Tuesday evening, October 2 at the Brookfield Town Hall.
French Foreign Exchange to Guadeloupe
In the spring of 2017, fifteen French students traveled to the French overseas department of Guadeloupe in the Eastern Caribbean. The most advanced French students did a good deal of fundraising and grant writing in order to participate in this unique opportunity. They sold over 500 crêpes during lunch hour, made around 2000 French chocolate truffles, and baked 300 pies in order to help cover their expenses for a 10-day adventure. In addition to this, they also received gifts from foundations and support from the school.
For the first half of the trip, students stayed in the remote village of Sainte Rose, adjacent to the island's largest rainforest and volcano, where they visited a primary school, hiked along various trails, and learned to shop and cook dinner in French. For the second part of their stay, local students at Hyacinthe-Bastardaud High School hosted students in their homes for five days. Randolph students joined in everyday activities with their host families, and attended classes at the school for a day to experience the French school system first hand.
Upon their return, a Guadeloupean group of 26 students and three teachers came to Vermont to get a taste of mud season! The French-speaking students were eager to practice the English they've been learning in class, and to discover what maple sugaring is all about. They spent one day shadowing our students at school, and a few days visiting Burlington and other attractions.