Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.
Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/506487
Global Education Through Real-world Experiences AFS students choose between a year, semester, or summer in one of 90 host countries. Julian Volken from German-speaking Bern, Switzerland decided to spend the 2014/2015 school year in the US. "I had visited San Francisco and the West Coast on vacation with my family. I wondered what it would be like to live in the US and wanted to have that experience," explains Julian of his decision to apply and enroll. Julian spent his junior year at Wellesley High School as one of 12 AFS students in MetroWest Boston. "We are fortunate to live in a community with schools that recognize the value cultural diversity offers its students," explains local AFS chapter coordinator, Astrid Lamparter-Nowak. While life in the US may not be as different from life in Switzerland as it is in other AFS destinations such as Ghana, Jordan, Thailand, or Turkey, Julian notes fundamental distinctions. "In Switzerland, school is all about academics. We go to school for classes only. We even go home or into town for lunch. There are no sports teams, we play on club teams instead, and no extracurricular activities," he explains. "Students do not wear gear with the name of their school. School spirit doesn't exist." Julian points to broader societal differences as well: "The US is a more friendly, open cul- ture. When you pass someone you don't know in Switzerland, you don't say 'hi' as people do in the US; that would be considered weird." Julian also comments that he enjoys a wider array of food selections here, with his personal favorites being Mexican cuisine, American ice cream, and the quintessential American ham- burger at Five Guys Burgers. 116 AFS Intercultural Programs W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 5 Enjoying family time in the Stolle/Andrews household