Marist High School has been sponsoring international travel opportunities and exchanges for more than a decade, but in the last few years meaningful partnerships with Marist schools from around the world have offered students the chance to experience new cultures within a shared Marist family.
This past October, Marist Chicago welcomed fourteen students from Colegio Marista La Inmaculada in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just two weeks later, nine students from the Marist school l’Istituto Champagnat in Genova, Italy, arrived along with their chaperones, including the school’s president, Br. Massimo Banaudi.
While in Chicago, the students attended classes and stayed with Marist families. They also explored the City, visiting museums and other cultural sites. Together, the Chicago students and visitors shared social experiences by competing in soccer games, attending a Chicago Bulls game, participating in scavenger hunts, and more. All the students were able to test their language skills and talk about their shared Marist identity.
The students became fast friends as seen in the hugs and tears when the visitors departed.
“These exchanges enrich the learning experiences of all the students,” explained Erica Nathan-Gamauf, curriculum coordinator for the World Language Department. “Language learning is more than memorization of vocabulary. Cultural awareness and appreciation is a key component of the curriculum.”
Marist also manages an exchange program with fellow Marist schools Sainte Marie-Lyon in France, San Leone Magno in Rome, Italy, and Colegi Maristes in Barcelona, Spain. Marist Chicago students travel to these sites in the spring. There is also a summer program with Centro Mundo Lengua in Seville, Spain.