Cambel Shepherd

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Saint John’s Prep collaborates with a Guatemalan education program called Faces and Our Cultures. Faces and Our Cultures gives students, from 30 different states, the opportunity to go to Guatemala for a month as an exchange student during the months of June and July. I went there this past summer through this program and stayed with a host family. The Faces coordinator set me up with a family to stay with and a school to attend. Stepping into a foreign country by myself was very nerve-wracking but I was instantly relieved when I saw that my host family was so welcoming and generous. It was a little difficult at first for me because out of four people in their family, only my host sister spoke English but I managed. One thing I remember the most and something that I would definitely recommend for others, is being exposed to the Guatemalan school system. Faces sent me to Suizo Americano in Acatán. In Suizo, I really enjoyed the classes although I was placed in 11th grade, but I improved on my Spanish immensely. After school, we would go to someone’s house and do “homework” and laugh together. One thing that was vastly different about Suizo was that for each class, they do not move to another classroom, the teacher moves. Another major thing for me is that in Guatemala they have four different lunch breaks.

My host family also took me to many different places such as Antigua and Lake Atitlán in Panajachel. It is also one of the most beautiful places in Latin America. Overall as an experience, it was very beneficial for my Spanish and I met many new people. During the months of October, November, and December, Faces sends about 130 Guatemalan students from the same 30 states with a trip to Washington D.C. Hosting them here is also a great opportunity for them to work on their English. Prep usually hosts about four or five students every year along with many other private schools in Minnesota who do the same. This year on October 21st, Prep will welcome two students through Faces and Our Cultures.

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