Ohio Exchange 2012/2013
October 2012 (Ohio)
After a dramatic early morning rescue on a storm flooded road, the Madras College Upper Arlington exchange set off on October 12th hoping for better weather in the United States of America. There was huge excitement over the trip, for some members this was their first time across the pond. After an enjoyable if long flight, the students landed in Columbus Ohio. The host families were met at the airport, and the group split to get some much needed rest.
The next day provided a great opportunity to get to know the exchange partners and see some of the states. The huge scale of America, even the fire hydrants on every street and Mexican food were just some of the interesting differences discovered. Over the next few days the group visited Cedar Point considered the roller-coaster capital of the world; an all-American high school which proved to be just like the movies right down to the rows of lockers; and the Ohio State University, which despite being located in the city of Columbus, seemed to be a city in itself. The University’s football stadium could fit the entire population of St Andrews into its end stand. As well as sightseeing, the students immersed themselves in American culture, including traditional sports. Of particular note was the Scots victory over the Americans at basketball, a short lived achievement when the American’s came back to win the soccer.

As well as participating in sports, the pupils watched two American football games, one at the High School, entertained greatly by the brilliant performance of the school’s marching band, and a very tense game at the OSU stadium, alongside one-hundred-thousand other fans. Many close friendships were forged over the course of the trip, highlighted by the emotional goodbye at the airport and how eager both sides of the exchange are for the Americans to return in March. The group would like to sincerely thank the teachers and staff who made the it all possible ensuring it was such a memorable experience.

by Theo Upton

March 2013 (St. Andrews)
A busy week was to be had for the 6th years partaking in the Ohio exchange. With a similar stormy day the scots experienced at the start of their journey, the American students landed in Edinburgh on Saturday morning. It was the first face-to-face meeting of the group since October and soon the airport was full of shouting and cheering. Only a few hours after this, the pupils found themselves shouting and cheering again as they were thrilled by Scotland against Wales at Murrayfield. Despite the cold weather, everyone enjoyed the experience. The next day was spent sampling more Scottish culture in the form of a welcome Ceilidh. Although they didn't know all the dances, everyone got involved and their enthusiasm made it a great night.

Edinburgh was the choice of destination for the next day, with the Americans getting the stunning view from Edinburgh castle, visiting the spooky Mary King's Close and browsing the shops on Princes Street. Then it was time to get to know St Andrews. The pupils were treated to a town tour followed by land yachting on the west sands and then ice cream making at Janettas in the evening, a fun action packed day. On Wednesday, Stirling and the Wallace monument were the focus, the tradition and history theme completed by a Scottish themed dinner in the evening, haggis and all. Fittingly, given the Ohio State University colours, the pupils visited the school on the 'Wear Red for Comic Relief' day. They followed their exchange partners’ timetables, getting a real feel for what school life is like in Scotland.

Come Sunday, it’ll be time to wave teary goodbyes and reflect on the great experience provided by the exchange. Great fun was had on both sides of the Atlantic, and memories of the trip will stay with those involved forever. Finally, a huge thank you to the teachers and staff who made it all possible, and allowed the students to have such a wonderful time.

by Theo Upton