In October this year, 16 pupils and two teachers from Madras College undertook the long journey to Upper Arlington, Ohio, on a school exchange. Upon arriving, and after many hugs, the pupils left the airport with their exchange partners who would be their hosts for the exiting ten days ahead.
The first visit of the trip was to Upper Arlington High School, home of the mighty Golden Bears. It was a new and enjoyable experience for the Scots as they were immersed in a very different school culture and set of traditions. The following evening, they attended the high school homecoming American football game, and after great cheering from the pupils, UA achieved a well-deserved victory. The group also visited Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where pupils were given a special tour of the gorilla, polar bear and brown bear enclosures. After learning about these animals the pupils explored the different regions of the zoo and had a very enjoyable day seeing the many different species in the zoo.
Later in the week, the group took a tour of Ohio State University seeing many aspects of the large and fantastic campus. A highlight of the trip was the visit to the OSU football stadium where the Scots had the opportunity to step out onto the field. Standing in the middle, looking up at the size of the stadium was an incredible experience. The home of the Buckeyes holds over 100,000 people! The visit included a tour of the press boxes right at the top of the stadium and sitting in the practice room of the famous Ohio State marching band. As the trip was close to Halloween, a mock Halloween night was arranged for the pupils. Dressed in weird and wonderful costumes, the Scots and Americans set off for a night of ‘trick or treating’. After several houses, and many bags of candy the rest of the evening was spent carving spooky faces into pumpkins and enjoying the sweets. It was a great evening with many funny and happy memories.
On the last day, the pupils and their exchange partners journeyed to the world renowned theme park, Cedar Point. Everyone rushed through the gates immediately heading for the extreme rides. After a day of reaching high speeds in seconds and racing round corkscrews, the Scots and Americans returned home feeling thrilled if slightly dizzy! Visits to several malls were also included on the trip (including opportunities to sample delicious American food), along with a chocolate factory and much more.
It was a fantastic trip all round. The Scots are incredibly grateful for the effort and work put in by Upper Arlington High School and the American parents and pupils which ensured the trip was an outstanding experience. The friends made will be greatly missed.
Madras looks forward to welcoming the American pupils to St Andrews in March 2014.
by Lydia Upton (October)