Y13 Boston Exchange Trip 2015
During Enterprise Week twelve very fortunate Year 13 students went on the annual exchange to Thayer Academy, Braintree in Boston USA. We were allocated a host family and were lucky enough to stay with them for the ten day duration.
We arrived at Logan airport tired but excited for the trip ahead. Much to our surprise we were to be transferred to the school via a white stretch limo which was in the airport car park. Unfortunately, we were also greeted by the infamous Boston rush hour traffic which did not help our nervousness about meeting our billets. What if they hated us? What if they were vegan? What if they supported Donald Trump? We soon came to realise after arriving at Thayer Academy that our host families and partners could not have been more friendly and welcoming. We received an impromptu tour of the school and then spent the evenings with our respective families, attempting to battle the already apparent effects of jet lag.
We all went to one or two lessons on Friday 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! This was forgiven by the American students as they were more fascinated to hear our English accents! There were also some subtle differences; from the classroom layout, the desks, school start time and the small number of students in each class. Thayer Academy and the students were brilliant throughout the trip; they really made our NSB group feel at home. In the afternoon we visited the scenic Boston Common to tour the Freedom Trail and the USS Constitution. This was enjoyable as it was presented to us by an actor in period costume – our tour leader was named William, he was an excellent guide to Boston and made its history fun and relevant. We gained a lot of knowledge regarding the history of the city, including the Boston tea party and massacre.
We spent the weekends with our families, with different students participating in a variety of activities over the two days. Some watched American Football, some went to gigs and others just explored Boston and the state of Massachusetts. What we were all immediately taken back by was the food. The sheer size and quality meant we were never hungry and it also explained US obesity levels.
For a web gallery of images from the trip please Click Here
On Monday morning we hopped onto the T (Subway) to get into the centre of Boston. The day was going really well, after food at Quincy Market we walked across Boston Common and down Newbury Street to look at all the upmarket shops. We made our way to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The tour was excellent, with our group visiting the Green Monster, Media centre and then walking on the actual field. Following this we visited the Boston Museum of Fine Art for a bit of cultural enlightenment, courtesy our very own NSB Art teacher on the trip - Tim Stanforth.
Tuesday we visited the Boston Aquarium and went whale watching (this was the day the jet lag really kicked in!) We saw lots of whales; one humpback even breached the water and leapt completely into the air. The long journey out to the whale watching spot was a good time for a lot of us to catch up on our sleep.
Wednesday was our busiest day, but it was my favourite. We started the day at Boston Science Museum, taking part in a demonstration with the world’s largest Van der Graaf generator followed by a trip to Harvard University and the Natural History Museum. We had time for dinner with a large section of the group going to an organic, locally sourced, fast food chain – b.good. It was pretty cool and fuelled us up for the evening’s entertainment. The Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League. The atmosphere was brilliant and certain members of the party got on the Jumbotron (big screen). The game went down to a last minute over-time goal from The Flyers to win the game.
Thursday was more relaxed when we visited the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth which was the settlement of the first British Colonists. Actors portrayed what life was like for the settlers in really bad English accents and carried out tasks typical of the 17th century population. On Friday we took some retail therapy and made the most of the American bargains at Wrentham outlet village getting presents for our families and ourselves.
Overall the trip was an unforgettable experience - a trip of a lifetime. This would not have been possible without our incredible exchange students, everyone on the trip and most certainly Mr Bryant and Mr Stanforth who were brilliant - thank you.
Everyone has felt sombre since returning, which indicates how much of a good time all the students had on the trip. Many of us are already thinking of returning to renew the friendships we have made, proving the strength of the relationships created and the resounding success of the trip. Everyone has become closer as a result and all would quite happily do the exchange again!
By Y13 NSB student: J. Scoles