During Enterprise Week, eleven Year 13 students had a chance to participate in the annual exchange trip to Thayer Academy, Boston. Each of us was allocated to a Thayer student and their family, with whom we stayed for the ten days.
After a long flight, we arrived at the Logan International Airport. To our surprise we were greeted by Mr Pickle and a huge yellow school bus. The journey to Thayer Academy was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Luckily, the initial worry was overcome by the friendliness of the billets.
To see a web gallery of images from the trip please: Click Here
After the first evening spent getting to know our American families, we woke up ready to explore the history of Boston. We met at the school and were lucky enough to experience a real High School lesson. After a 30-minute journey, the city welcomed us. The majority of Friday was spent following the red brick lane, also known as the Freedom Trail, with a tour guide dressed as one of the first Bostonians. He presented the city’s history and talked about its notable residents. We stopped for a quick lunch at the Quincy Market, a place full of fast-food choices. Before returning to school, we continued the trail to the very top of the Bunker Hill Monument, concluding that the view was definitely worth climbing 294 steps.
The idea of not seeing each other for the weekend seemed frightening but we couldn’t be more wrong. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, our families showed us the typical American lifestyle. Activities ranged from watching school sports games, shopping, and driving around the local beaches to attending the famous New England Patriots game.
Probably for the first time in our lives, we were happy to wake up on a Monday morning. Mr Bryant took us to Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, where we were given a tour of the stadium. The trip had something for everyone, even artists like Mr Stanforth, who enabled us to appreciate the works at the Museum of Fine Arts including Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Picasso and O'Keeffe. There were also many examples of iconic designs and it made Mr Stanforth's day viewing many of Charles Eames' interesting chairs.
Tuesday was the day everyone was waiting for – we went to see the whales! Initially we paid a visit to the other sea creatures at the New England Aquarium. The large variety of turtles and fish (even the ones we’ve touched) couldn’t stop the penguins from stealing our hearts. Finally the time had come! After a rough journey (probably not as tough as the one on the Mayflower) the first whales were spotted. A few hours on sea resulted in the appearance of twenty whales! Everyone was so overwhelmed by seeing the creatures in their natural habitat that we all napped on the way back to the city. One student and his family invited all the ‘‘British kids’’, as we became known as, to a very tasty BBQ, where we talked about our school life.
History Wednesday left us all shattered, or maybe it was the jet lag? Plimoth Plantation was a fantastic place to learn about the history of the United States. We were taken back in time by actors, who pretended to be the establishers of the American nation. Surprisingly, despite our accents, no one mistook us for the first British settlers. Later on, we headed to the Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that would have taken us to the States in the 17th Century. If it wasn’t for modern day plane travel, the lovely weather would have made the 7-week journey on board of the ship very appealing. The very last stop for the day was the Plymouth Rock – the marking spot of settlers’ first steps on American land.
Thursday was the busiest day of all: the Museum of Science, the University of Harvard, and the ice hockey game. The interactive museum made science very enjoyable. Exhibitions included newly hatched chicks, and a Van de Graaff generator used by the physicist himself. Our lunch consisted of spaghetti and dinosaur-shaped nuggets, with a view of the Charles River. A short journey took us to the University of Harvard, where we touched the golden shoe of the founder in the hope of good luck. No longer being able to hold in our excitement, we headed to the TD Garden for the Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils match. Some of us even appeared on the big screen. All the goals were scored in the last 15 minutes of the game, and brought about a wonderful win for the hosts, making us believe that we were the good luck charm. We would like to give a massive thank you to our host families for picking us up at 11.00pm.
On the Friday we visited the Wrentham Outlet Mall. This was an enjoyable break after a busy week. We all managed to spend our dollars on great offers, even Mr Pickle himself. We only needed a few hours to pack the minibus with bags. Some of us went to a school volleyball match in the evening, hopefully surprising Thayer Tigers and their parents with our NSB spirit.
Saturday was our last full day in Boston. Once again we got to spend the time with our host families, making the day very enjoyable. In the evening, many of us were invited to a gathering to say goodbye to all our American friends.
Sunday was spent reminiscing about the wonderful past ten days. After multiple goodbyes, we met at Thayer Academy at 5.00pm, said a final farewell to our host families and many students whom we befriended, and took the yellow bus home (not literally home, just to the airport).
On behalf of us all: THANK YOU to Mr Bryant and Mr Stanforth for organising the activity packed trip and keeping us safe. Also, a massive THANK YOU to all the American hosts, who happily welcomed us in their homes and made us feel like part of their families. We are looking forward to seeing our ‘‘American kids’’ again!
Karolina and Kinga Glasek