Swiss Exchange Program to Return

Dylan Wolter ('22), Orbit Contributor

With the lessening of COVID-19 protocols surrounding travel, foreign exchange trips are now allowed to occur once again with the next RMHS exchange happening next fall with students from Basel, Switzerland.  

Only recently, November 8, 2021, did the White House, in conjunction with the CDC, pass a restriction that allowed all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to travel to the United States under the stipulation that they are fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination status prior to boarding a plane. With the change, it will allow Swiss students to travel to the United States and participate in the long-standing exchange program once again. 

With planning for the trip already underway, teacher Ms. Cory, the trip organizer, is excited about the return of the program.  “It changes you for the better, for forever. You are never quite the same person again once you have lived with someone from another country.” After participating in the trip three other times, she understands and conveyed how the trip is truly special. 

Ms.Cory described how the teachers that they work with are extremely generous with their time and are so friendly and excited to learn about whatever the RMHS students and families have to offer. 

“The group that comes is part of an English immersion program, and so they are studying all of their lessons in English even though their first language is usually German. They learn and study American literature, British literature, and American history,” Ms. Cory stated. During their stay they will visit all sorts of locations that they have been learning about such as the Freedom Trail and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House. The students will be “great English speakers, intellectual, and be interested in the RMHS students’ lives and hobbies,” Ms. Cory added. 

At the same time, the exchange will be exhilarating for the RMHS students. The Swiss government has always encouraged this exchange and has backed the trip for many years. What is so special about this location is that Bassel-Stadt is actually a sister state to Massachusetts. In June 20, 2002 the two states signed a cooperation agreement which fortifies their focused partnership in the field of science and education, which is one of the many reasons why they participate in exchanges. 

“When we go there it feels as if we receive really special treatment. The students go visit the schools and see the state house, where in the past there has been a U.S Ambassador or someone from the embassy; they support the trip by paying for the trip to the Alps during their stay,” Ms. Cory said in a follow up statement. 

In terms of being a part of the exchange, while the group already had one meeting, Ms. Cory stated that interested students should reach out to her or Mr.McIntire, the other trip advisor.  Despite the rather limited space within the program itself (as it is dependent upon the number of Swiss students within the English immersion group) Ms. Cory conveyed that there is always movement on the waiting list and any student interested should definitely reach out as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.