This summer, five adventurous Tempe Prep Juniors will participate in the foreign exchange program sponsored by Tempe Sister Cities. The award-winning Tempe Sister Cities Student Exchange Program raises funds throughout the year to send Tempe teens on a cross-cultural exchange each summer to sister cities around the world, including Skopje, Macedonia; Regensburg, Germany; Lower Hutt, New Zealand; Zhenjiang, China; Timbuktu, Mali; Beaulieu sur Mer, France; Carlow, Ireland; Cuenca, Ecuador; Cusco, Peru; Trollhättan, Sweden; and new this year, Agra, India.
In the Sister Cities program, the Tempe student goes to live with their host family for about a month and then returns to Tempe with their foreign “sibling” who stays with the Tempe student’s family for a month. Then all 32 Tempe delegates and their 32 foreign siblings have a full month of trips and activities, from visiting the Grand Canyon and Disneyland, to hosting an “American prom,” an annual favorite for all the exchange students.
The first to depart abroad is Tempe Prep Junior, Katherine Camberg, who will be going to Agra, India. This city is home to the beautiful Taj Mahal and other beautiful and historic sites. Kat has the unique experience to be able to host two girls this summer: her exchange student from India, and another delegate from Timbuktu, Mali. “I am excited to show the two girls I’m hosting what I love about America,” she says, “[especially] the freedoms enjoyed by everyone.” She learned that women in India are very restricted. Kat also looks forward to new experiences and making new friends.
Another Sister Cities delegate from Tempe Prep is Caden Van Dahm. He will be seeing the foreign land of Carlow, Ireland. Caden looks forward to spending time in the laid back community, enjoying the beauty. To him, the relaxed attitude “is looking great right now while we power through the rest of our junior year at TPA.” Caden is also excited to explore the beauty of the island through hiking and fishing.
Junior Gabriela Urias will be traveling to Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Gabriela is enthusiastic to go bungee jumping and take awesome photos to add to her portfolio. She says, “New Zealand is going to be full of high adventure activities and I am super excited!” Gabriela’s host family lives at the base of a hill in a town named Wainuiomata. She cannot wait to see landscapes that differ from cacti and shrubs. She adds, “To get anywhere in Lower Hutt or Wellington, we have to drive up and around the mountain, which is so cool!”
Tempe Prep Junior Makenna Colton will also be venturing to Lower Hutt, New Zealand. New Zealand is home to a stunningly beautiful landscape that anyone can get enthralled in, and Makenna can hardly wait. She is also looking forward to bungee jumping. Her sister’s name is Lauren and Makenna will get to see a sport not being played here, because Lauren is a club team cricket player!
Tempe Prep’s fifth Sister Cities representative this year is Carter Sampson who will be embarking to Trollhatten, Sweden. Carter wants to know how Sweden is different from his daily experiences in Arizona. He is anxious to learn about school life and political ideas from another perspective. Carter says, “I am so excited to experience life in a foreign country, especially since Sweden is so different from Arizona.”
We at Tempe Prep are extremely proud to have such a large number of our Juniors selected to go abroad as Tempe Sister Cities delegates. These students had to study current events and go through several rigorous interviews involving professionalism and public speaking. We are confident that these five students will succeed in representing their school as well as the city of Tempe. We look forward to their exciting stories and meeting their new international siblings when they come to visit our classes at Tempe Prep in August!
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. With students attending from all over the Valley, Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.
Article by Clara Moffitt, a student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.