Billinghurst pupils enjoy American exchange in incredible Missouri trip

Exchange students and staff from the Weald and Ste Genevieve
Exchange students and staff from the Weald and Ste Genevieve

Pupils at a Billingshurst school have built a special relationship of their own with a group of American students.

Pupils from The Weald School and Ste. Genevieve High School, Missouri, USA, have completed their exchange programme which was the first of its kind and a great success.

The exchange started in October 2017 when all the students were introduced to one another online.

After being paired up they got to know each other using video messaging.

This included tours of their homes and introductions to family members.

These regular online conversations meant that when the students from Ste. Genevieve travelled to The Weald in June the normal nervousness of an exchange soon gave way to the excitement of finally meeting up.

The American students spent ten days with their host families.

The trip included three planned day trips out to London, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Brighton beach.

Students also spent time at The Weald School where they experienced how a day in a British school compared to their own.

In October, The Weald School students ventured across the pond for a return visit.

Whilst in Missouri they spent time with their host families.

They attended high school and enjoyed volleyball and football games where the whole community comes out to support their team.

They experienced a band festival, cross country meets and also had three day trips to see the historic buildings of Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis and Memphis.

Despite the relatively short history of the USA, the students were really interested in the Dred Scott case of 1857 in St Louis, the occupation of the French and Spanish in turn and the assassination of Martin Luther King.

The pupils were especially interested in Sun Records in Memphis where some of the greatest names in music started their careers.

This exchange forged strong relationships between students, families and schools.

The Weald is looking forward to hopefully running the exchange programme again in the future.