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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Students Express Gratitude for Study Abroad

Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

In addition to summer programs, School Year Abroad (SYA) offers year-long and semester-long options.

Last school year, senior Lila Hutchins spent two months in Patagonia, Chile and two months in Cascade, Idaho with 43 other students. She went on the trip to “stretch beyond [her] comfort zone and experience a different lifestyle than what [she] had at Sidwell.” She felt that this specific program gave her the chance to be adventurous and “see the world.”

Her schedule varied day-to-day, but she typically attended classes in the morning and afternoon and had the rest of the day to study, enjoy nature and participate in outdoor activities. Specifically, Hutchins and her classmates white-water kayaked or hiked every day. 

SYA is definitely for you. It’s an incredible opportunity that will change your life.

— Leia Neilson '25

  “I wouldn’t have changed anything about my experience,” Hutchins said. For approximately four weeks of the semester, Hutchins and her classmates went on camping expeditions where they did not have academic classes. Her favorite memory of the trip was when she, along with some of her classmates and teachers, backpacked to the top of a mountain in Patagonia National Park in Chile. They celebrated together and “saw the most beautiful shooting stars.”

This year, several Sidwell students plan to study abroad in Zaragoza, Spain; Rennes, France; or Viterbo, Italy. 

For junior Isabela Alves, who will study in Zaragoza in the upcoming school year, the trip will be an opportunity to improve her Spanish and gain more independence. Additionally, she is excited to explore the city’s “interesting culture and architecture” while “meeting new people.” 

Similar to Alves, junior Nadia Wheelock decided to study abroad this year because she loves “the idea of being able to study and live in another country” while practicing her Spanish. 

In Zaragoza, students like Alves and Wheelock will have the opportunity to visit cultural landmarks such as La Seo Cathedral, La Aljafería Palace and La Basilica Del Pilar. They will also be able to explore the city and learn its history during breaks, lunch or after school. 

A typical school day in Zaragoza will include traditional core classes as well as classes on Spanish civilization, culture and theater. 

In addition to attending scheduled classes, students will develop a new personalized day-to-day routine. For example, Alves expects to shift her mealtime schedule because Spain has its own customs.

Similarly, Wheelock stated that she anticipates many differences in culture, food and language.

Junior Leia Nelson, who will be studying in Rennes, France, will adapt to a new school schedule, as the French school system operates differently from schools in the United States.  

“We start school later (9am), have half days on Wednesdays, and have a two-week break every six weeks!” said Nelson. 

Nelson is looking forward to meeting her host family and immersing herself in their way of life, saying “I’ve always been fascinated with the French culture and language, and SYA seemed like the best opportunity for me to improve my French and experience a new culture!”

Wheelock encourages students who are considering SYA to take the opportunity.

 Nelson agrees, saying, “[if] you’re an independent and open-minded person” then “SYA is definitely for you. It’s an incredible opportunity that will change your life.”

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Maya Jones '24
Maya Jones '24, Features Editor
Maya Jones is currently a Features Editor for Horizon. Prior to this, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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