On January 8, 2015, a group of sixteen ASV high school students travelled to Naples, Florida to participate in a student exchange program between the Community School of Naples (CSN) and the American School of Valencia. For over two weeks, they attended school in the United States and lived with host families from the CSN school community. “They faced a lot of challenges: living with different families, going through different routines, attending different types of classes, and not having their families and friends close by”, ASV Director Michael L. Smith declared, “but I think it was a great experience for our students to see a different side of education and American life.”
Depending on their grade level, students attended a variety of classes at CSN and they also had a study hall in order to complete some of their ASV classwork. “Our students acclimated quite easily to life at CSN and they were soon making presentations, taking quizzes and tests, just like any other CSN student”, Mr. Smith commented. They also had frequent meetings with ASV teacher Ms. Susan Belmonte, who accompanied and supervised the students. Additionally, ASV students practiced sports with CSN teams in the afternoons, as well as attended various activities with their host CSN student.
CSN organized visits to various attractions throughout Naples and the surrounding area. During their first week, ASV students went to the Florida Everglades and during their second week they visited Florida Gulf Coast University, a nearby university in Fort Myers. A multitude of other activities and trips were planned by the CSN host families. “I know that a lot of them had the opportunity to travel to other cities like Miami, Orlando, or Tampa”, Mr. Smith tells us, “and I am very grateful to the CSN host families for accepting our students into their homes and making them feel so welcome. I also believe our students were simply outstanding ambassadors of ASV and its philosophy, and we can be very proud of them and their accomplishments.”
CSN students will be visiting Valencia and will reside with ASV host families in mid-March 2015 in order to have the opportunity to experience the traditional Valencian holiday of Fallas. Afterwards, the students from CSN will attend classes at ASV. According to Mr. Smith, “It is an amazing global experience for ASV and CSN students, and I am confident that some wonderful lifelong friendships have started as a result of this student exchange program.”