Ohio Exchange 2014/2015

Ohio - March 2015

Between the 7th and the 15th of March, 16 pupils from Madras College were joined by their exchange partners from Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio, for the second leg of what was a truly memorable exchange programme. Having enjoyed their trip to Ohio in October of 2014, this time the Scottish pupils had a chance to introduce their partners to Scottish culture and day to day life.


The group of Scots spent time preceding the exchange fundraising by selling candy canes and organising a fundraiser for the fantastically busy week. They managed to fill the Americans’ agenda with trips to St Andrews, Edinburgh, Peebles and Stirling, and - alongside multiple pizza nights - introduced them to the Scottish experience of a ceilidh and haggis for tea.

This was all well worth the planning, as the American students seemed very impressed with Scotland’s wealth of interesting culture, history, and in particular our stunning scenery; they all loved looking through the looking glass into what life is like in Scotland. Most importantly for everyone on the exchange, friendships which seemed impossibly strong for such a short trip were made and developed. The trip ended with countless promises made and plans hatched to stay in touch meet up again in the future.

by Eilidh Northridge

Ohio - October 2014

Several Madras College pupils recently took part in the first leg of a school exchange with Ohio USA. The trip took 16 pupils and 2 teachers to Upper Arlington: a town based in central Ohio, where they would stay with a host family. The objective of the trip was to introduce to the Scottish pupils the way of life that our friends across the pond live. As this was the case, the students visited some of the most iconic attractions Ohio had to offer, including the world renowned thrill seeking destination, Cedar Point Amusement Park. The pupils were able to spend a full school day at Upper Arlington High School, where they felt immersed in an environment, “not unlike the set of high school musical” as described by one of the Scots. Whilst there, the Madrasians were asked to speak at the school assembly about the recent independence referendum, explaining the importance of their role in the debate as over-16s and the ways in which the vote affects our country.


UA High School takes great pride in its sports and as a result has spawned Olympic diving silver medallist Abigail Johnson and The legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus; the latter sharing his nickname with the school mascot, ‘The Golden Bear’. Nicklaus, of course, is no stranger to St. Andrews having won the Open Championship here in 1970 and 1978.


Jessica Rough, Jack Mclean, Calum Stewart and Phil Hamilton seen forming the letters O-H-I-O

Gordon Smith
seen at Cedar Point

The pupils, throughout the ten days they spent there, did a considerable range of fun and culturally unique activities such as traditional trick-or-treating in an American suburb, and seeing a NHL ice hockey game live in the nearby city of Columbus where the city’s ‘Blue Jackets’ played the Dallas ‘Stars’, in the Nationwide Arena where they were lucky enough to witness a world famous hockey fight on the rink. “It’s such a fast paced and thrilling game, and then at one point two players faced off, threw down their gloves and sticks and just beat each other in the middle of the rink. It was awesome!” said Jack Mclean when asked about the game.


As if this wasn’t exciting enough, the pupils then got to see an American College Football game at the Ohio State University’s stadium where the local ‘Buckeyes’ played Rutgers ‘Scarlet Knights’ American Football team. The impressive OSU stadium boasts a record capacity of almost 109,000, matched on impressiveness only by Ohio’s colossal victory that day of 56-17 against Rutgers. In addition to this, the students were stunned by the skill presented by the Ohio State marching band at the half-time show where they performed a tribute to classic rock, covering songs by The Rolling Stones, The Who and Van Halen.


A link to the performance can be seen below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UFW72NeTgg#t=39


Group of pupils at ice hockey game

One of the most talked about things from the trip, was of course, the fast food. The students visited scores of America-exclusive fast food restaurants and diners, falling in love with the deliciously unhealthy array of eateries in the US. Calum Stewart, a Madras student, against all advice from the American hosts, made a mission of visiting as many fast food chains as possible throughout the week, “The food was amazing, I don’t remember a time on the trip that I wasn’t eating.”


The general consensus of the trip was that however incredible the activities were, it was the people there that made it what it was. People became closer to their exchange partners and everyone else on the trip than they thought possible in the short space of ten days. Close friendships were made by the end and tears were shed when the goodbyes were said. “All in all, it was a fantastic adventure for all of us and we await the arrival of the American students to Scotland next March with excited anticipation.” – Phil Hamilton


by Phil Hamilton