Northampton School for Boys


Boston Exchange 2014

Boston 2014 thbs

During enterprise week twelve very lucky Year 12 and 13 students went on the annual exchange to Boston. We were allocated a host family and were lucky enough to stay with them for the ten day duration.

Although tired, we arrived in Boston filled with anticipation and excitement. We were greeted by an infamous, very American, yellow school bus and the legend that is Mr Pickel. He was the person associated with Thayer Academy and the organiser stateside. He was very easy going, knowledgeable and helpful and without his services the trip would not have been as successful as it was.

The first day involved visiting the scenic Boston Common to participate on the USS freedom trail and constitution walk. This was enjoyable as it was presented to us via actors all in period costume. We gained a lot of knowledge on the history of the city including the Boston tea party and massacre. Later they visited Faneuil Hall where there was a myriad of different food stalls, enjoyed by all, and still talked about today. The variety of food eaten during the visit was incredible and a lot of money was spent as it was so good! From Dunkin' Donuts in the morning before school to the Cheesecake Factory in the evening, American food is “simply the best.”

The weekend was spent with our host families and everyone did different activities. Some visited the JFK museum and others went shopping. Trips varied from visiting the Gillette Stadium (which is home to the New England Patriots) in the day to watching ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ in the evening. All the activities provided by the American families were enjoyed all.

We all went to 1 or 2 lessons each morning with our exchange students to get a flavour of what it was like to go to Thayer Academy. Some students even got involved in the lessons, however with lessons like Astronomy or Chinese it must be said students sometimes struggled to answer questions! However this was forgiven by the American students as they more fascinated to hear our different accents! There were also some subtle differences; from the classroom layout, the desks to bigger differences such as the start time and the small number of students in each class. Thayer Academy and the students were brilliant throughout the trip, and they really made NSB feel at home.

We participated in some remarkable activities during the trip. Visiting the New England Aquarium as well as going on a four hour whale watch.  This provided incredible sea views of Boston and in total over 10 whales were seen, including a full breach by one notable whale - the experience was jaw dropping and truly amazing! We also went to Fenway Park: the home of the most decorated baseball team the Boston Red Sox. In addition to seeing almost every part of the stadium we also learnt all about the stadium and the club’s history.

A trip to the Plimoth Plantation in the latter part of the week provided an historical insight into the life of the early settlers. Walking around this exhibition was very cold and windy but we were not as cold as the exceptional characters who acted out what life was like for the first settlers wearing a very little. It was fascinating to discover that there were three people from Northampton who made this first voyage on the Mayflower to Boston.

Another day was spent visiting the Science Museum and the famous University of Harvard. The final day was spent shopping at the highly anticipated Wrentham Village Premium Outlets where some absolute bargains were picked up. Our final day was spent at the Thayer Academy experiencing what an American homecoming event was like. This incredible celebration involved everyone and had plenty of sporting events going on. It was a thoroughly entertaining and gratifying way for us to end the trip.

However it must be said that a highlight of the trip for the majority of the students was watching the Boston Celtics v Nets at the TD garden on the Wednesday evening. I had my birthday that day and Mrs O’Neill and everyone on the trip managed to get my name and birthday message onto the big board - it was an amazing surprise, which I loved! All students were seen on the main screen by throwing some shapes (4 times in total) and it was great to see so many people getting involved in the event. It seems all the activities surrounding the game: dancing, cheerleading, and acrobatics were just as enjoyable and important as the main event.

Overall the trip was an unforgettable experience, a trip of a life time. This all wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible exchange students, everyone on the trip and most certainly Mr and Mrs O’Neill who were brilliant - thank you.

Everyone has felt sombre since returning and so indicating how much of a good time all students had on the trip. Many students are already planning to return again, proving the strength of the relationships created with the exchange and the resounding success of the trip. Everyone has become closer as a result and all would quite happily do the exchange again!

Edward Felton
NSB Year 12 Student