Cultural Immersion Through Exchange Program

This spring, the Masters community welcomed the return of the School’s cultural exchange programs.

View Photo Gallery

As part of the School’s Global Studies program, high school students from Japan and Senegal experienced life and classes at Masters and learned how to “do it with thy might.”

“Masters is all about an interchange of ideas and perspectives and that’s how people learn,” Dean of Global Studies Rob Fish explained. “This program brings a different point of view to our Harkness tables and to our discussions, which really opens up conversations for our students.”

Twelve junior and senior students and two teachers from the Cours Saint Marie de Hann school in Dakar, Senegal, are staying with Masters families through April 30. A group of Masters students will be traveling to Dakar in June to learn about life in Senegal.

For the past 10 years, Abdoulaye Ngom, upper school languages teacher, has spearheaded the partnership between Masters and the school in his native Senegal. “This year is going great,” he said. “The students from Senegal are excited to be here and so are Masters students to get to know them. It is a wonderful intercultural connection.”

In addition to attending physics and international relations classes, the students participated in volleyball practice and worked on a cultural immersion project in the village of Dobbs Ferry. There are shopping trips and visits to museums planned with their host families.

“They love walking on campus and practicing their English,” Ngom shared. “And they find the food in the dining hall to be amazing. At the end of their stay, there will be a farewell party with a fashion show and Senegalese food. They also are going to perform a sketch.”

The timing of the Senegalese students’ arrival coincided with the end of four Japanese students’ visit to Masters. The high school students and their teacher from the Jiyu Gakuen school in Tokyo spent two weeks at Masters. The Japanese students presented at Morning Meeting, harmonized with Dobbs 16, participated in printmaking and forensics classes, and talked with Masters students about growing up in Japan. During their free time, they took in sights like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo and Central Park.

Fish said it was a great experience for everyone. “The group loved meeting so many Masters students and especially the chance to live with their host families,” he said. “One student enjoyed preparing okonomiyaki, a traditional savory pancake, with her host family that turned out delicious.”