SC Middle School Exchange Program

Students spend two weeks crossing state regions, class structures, and cultures by spending time in a new home, close to home, for 2 weeks.

Photo of Ellen Fox
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Ideally, all American students would have a mandatory two-week exchange program across the country. A new region, with new customs will force a new perspective. New perspectives are the seeds of empathy.

To begin, we start on a smaller-scale. Students apply and are matched with a region, family, and community that is different from there own. The students exchange for two weeks and are challenged to adapt, to learn, and to reflect. 

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Photo of Nathan O'Neill
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I love this idea and feel that it doesn't take going across the globe or even the country to experience other cultures. I wonder how a project like this could build support, knowing that it's a very intensive time and life commitment. Maybe there's even a way of doing something like this with students in their home schools?!?

Photo of Ellen Fox
Team

Thanks Nathan! I was speaking to another person at our ideate meeting and they said the same thing: Columbia alone has such a vast array of experiences that we could all utilize to help us empathize. It would be powerful on a whole-other-level if students could see the vast differences that were just miles away.

I also posted another idea, the idea I think I'd really like to develop and have even spoken to my principal about, if you wouldn't mind checking it out too! Thanks again for the feedback and reflection.

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