The PWS Foreign Exchange Program is a unique opportunity for high-school students and families to learn and share language and culture within an international Waldorf context. The program encourages the direct exchange of PWS students with foreign students for part of an academic year, preferably Sophomore year, occasionally in the Junior year. During that time, students from both countries exchange living and academic situations. Their primary focus is immersion in intensive language training through academic practice and daily interaction with family, school, and local community.
Initially, at inception in 2001, the program focused on exchanges in Germany and Austria; more recently students have been traveling to Peru and Argentina. Exchange has proved a popular component of the curriculum.
Every week, PWHS receives letters of inquiry from foreign students seeking an exchange. The Foreign Exchange Coordinator periodically announces these opportunities; alternativly, PWHS students may initiate an exchange by requesting a Foreign Exchange application. Placement process can take 4-12 months. Occasionally not all applications can be filled.
Students and families participating in the program exchange comparable living situations. PWHS students are hosted by their German or Spanish-speaking counterparts, and in return host them here. The exchange includes room and board, family oversight of medical health and safety, and regular correspondence with family and school.
Students must have passports and required visas as well as health insurance, and be responsible for round-trip airfare and spending and travel money. No additional tuition is required from either party beyond what they pay at their own schools.
Each student signs a statement of commitment that states expectations related to behavior as a PWHS ambassador, school and family etiquette, and the non-use of alcohol and illegal substances.
Students spend 6-12 weeks abroad, usually during the Sophomore year. Each student is expected to participate in classes comparable in academic content to those required in PWHS's 10th-grade curriculum. A letter from the foreign school which describes the courses taken and the level of student participation serves as documentation of student performance. In addition, each student is expected to build a portfolio of school work to present to PWHS faculty and make a well-prepared, thorough presentation to his/her advisors and the Foreign Exchange faculty group upon return. Transcript credit will be determined based on the students' portfolio and report from the school.
Amalia Parecki, Foreign Exchange Coordinator