Ten students and two teachers from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Spanish program recently participated in the second annual American Chilean Cultural Exchange. The group spent two weeks of their summer vacation south of the equator immersing themselves in the language and culture of Chile.
The group included Lindsay Garcia, Lee’s Summit North High School; Josh Hill, Lee’s Summit High School; David Treece, Lee’s Summit West High School; Darrin Cottini, LSHS; Adelaine Brison, LSN; Konnor Walts, LSHS; Dalton Rowe, LSN; Kayla Uhl, LSW; Micaela Dickerson, LSN; Collin Schlegel, LSN. Teachers making the trip were Kara Farren of LSHS and Robin Villa of LSN.
The group traveled to Lee’s Summit’s sister school, Colegio Weston Academy in Quilicura, Santiago, Chile from June 23 through July 8. Colegio Weston Academy welcomed the Lee’s Summit group with excitement and a Chilean-style barbeque called an asado where they were treated to Chilean choripan.
While in Santiago, the local students lived with host families and attended classes with their Chilean host siblings. In the capital city of Santiago the group cheered to Chilean soccer team towards a victory in the Copa America Centenario. The group went to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal, the second highest point in the city, and toured the National Police History Museum. A bus tour took the group two hours west to the port city of Valparaiso where they took a boat tour in the Pacific Ocean, toured to Maritime Museum and enjoyed a walk along the beach. Some students also visited sites such as Isla Negra to tour the home of Pablo Neruda, Pomaire to learn how artisans create beautiful pottery with clay, and the restaurants and shops at Patio Bellavista with their host families.
The Lee’s Summit student group also traveled south by overnight bus to Puerto Varas. While in southern Chile, the LS group enjoyed a hotel view of the Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano, visited to waterfalls of Petrohue, and traveled by catamaran to the remote city of Peulla. In Peulla the group took a four-by-four tour across the fields and rivers to a region deep within the Andes Mountains.
“The nine-hour plane ride is definitely worth it! From the thrilling first minute in Chile as we passed through customs to the fond farewells, every moment was a learning experience,” commented Josh Hill, LSHS senior.
Colegio Weston Academy students, teachers and the school principal will visit Lee’s Summit in January 2017. Travel for the exchange is organized by Greenheart International. Expenses for this exchange trip were paid by the students and their families.