By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer
Kokomo-Center Schools announced this week a new exchange program for its eighth-grade international students.
Central Middle School eighth-graders will have the opportunity to study next year at Colegio de los Sagrados Corazones in Vina del Mar, Chile.
This marks the third international exchange program in the district. Central seventh-graders will spend several weeks in England this summer, and ninth-graders in the international school program will spend time studying Spanish in Costa Rica.
Superintendent Jeff Hauswald has made it his goal to establish at least one exchange program at every grade level.
Board of School Trustees member Cristi Brewer-Allen recently made a brief authorization visit to the Chilean school to make sure it would be a safe place for Kokomo’s international students to study.
“The people are friendly and outgoing; yet, they maintain an air of tradition,” Brewer-Allen said. “The sights were breathtaking. [There is] a sweetness in the wind that you cannot see in a picture or a video. My hope is that Kokomo’s students will enjoy Chile as I did, while the exchange changes their perspective of our planet.”
Students will spend their days studying at the school, interacting with their Chilean peers and touring and learning about the history of the country.
Central Spanish teacher Shara Dishon said this trip will go a long way in promoting Spanish fluency among her students.
“With this trip to Chile, our students will be immersed in a language for an extended period of time,” Dishon said. “Our students’ desire to communicate with peers in another country will motivate them to develop their language skills, This immersion will expose Central students to a different culture, while they will learn lessons in tolerance and open-mindedness that cannot be taught in the American classroom.”
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