Just days after school ended, an excited group of AACS students, faculty and staff, left for the annual exchange trip to the Netherlands. In the spring, a group of students came to AACS and our students then go visit the Dutch students once school ends.
The annual tour gives students the chance to explore while still attached to the AACS community, and to forge relationships with their host families. AACS students must step outside of their habits and engage with others who need their help and who can also offer something our students probably didn't know their lives were lacking. Because the students are with host families, each of them have a unique experience.
Eric Nebbia, Upper School faculty, and his wife were two of the chaperones on the trip. Eric said “I think my favorite memory from the trips is when I walk into the ancient churches we visit and realize that believers have been worshiping on this spot for centuries.” He described it as both humbling and encouraging. “This year, while I went up to explore a church tower” described Eric. “My wife stayed down under a tree in the Hilvarenbeek town square, so that while she heard the church bells playing a lovely melody down below, I was twelve stories up talking to a world famous carillon player and getting a personal look at his craft and technique.”
One of the most enriching parts of this exchange program is having the Dutch students visit AACS. Hospitality has been a Christian virtue since our Lord turned water into wine, and taking a bewildered student into the homes of AACS students, caring for him, and helping him to explore our country is unexpectedly (but often) the part of the trip the students remember best.
Brett Schulte, an AACS junior, was one of the students who participated in the Netherlands exchange program this year. He said “The Netherlands Exchange was an amazing experience. I enjoyed not only visiting but living the culture in another country. My favorite was touring Aachen and seeing the oldest stone church in Northern Europe, spending a day at Efleling amusement park, and visiting the Anne Frank house. Pancakes are like pizza and the Stroopwafels were delicious!”
After ten days, the students and chaperones headed back to the United States. They brought back some valuable life lessons as well as beautiful photos to help remember the beautiful country and new friends in The Netherlands.
Want to see more pictures from this years trip and past trips?