Spanish Exchange with Santa María del Pilar in Zaragoza, Spain
Mount Notre Dame has partnered with Colegio Santa María del Pilar, a Marianist co-ed high school in Zaragoza, Spain since 2005. There are approximately 1400 students who attend Colegio Santa María del Pilar, and class size is similar to Mount Notre Dame.
MND participants spend approximately five weeks in Zaragoza, leaving in mid-January and returning in mid-February. Students live with Spanish families that have children attending Santa Maria del Pilar High School. While in Spain, our students attend classes and take a supplemental Spanish language class. In September of that same year, the students from Spain travel to Cincinnati to live and study at MND. At that time, our students reciprocate the hospitality they enjoyed in Europe by including their Spanish sisters in all school and family activities.
Zaragoza is located in northeast Spain, about 200 miles from Madrid. The weather in January and February is similar to that of Cincinnati. You may visit the school website at www.marianistas.net.
French Exchange with Institution Sainte-Marie in Belfort, France
The MND French Exchange was launched in the Spring of 2014 with our partner school Institution Sainte-Marie in Belfort, France. The program’s typical timeline has MND students traveling in November and hosting their French sisters in March or April. This exchange involves a commitment of three weeks for the home stay in Belfort and three weeks for hosting. Students experience the language and culture of France first hand by living with host families and attending classes.
Belfort is a small town, close to the German and Swiss borders. While each student’s experiences in France are different, past participants have been able to tour French cities such as Belfort, Mulhouse, Strasbourg, and Paris, in addition to visiting towns in Germany and Switzerland.
Institution Sainte-Marie is a co-ed Catholic Marianist school, serving students in PreK through graduation. You may find more information at the school’s website: https://www.sainte-marie-belfort.fr/.
Spanish Exchange with Villa María Academy in Santiago, Chile
MND’s relationship with Villa María Academy began in November of 2016 when we welcomed a student from VMA to take classes at MND during her summer break. The Spanish Exchange Program in Santiago, Chile began the following year. This program allows MND students to experience their home stay during our Summer months and not miss MND classes. Our students attend classes at Villa María in June and July. Hosting takes place in January and February when Chilean students are on their summer break. The home stay in Santiago is more flexible than MND’s other programs, allowing students to work with program coordinators on the length of their time in Chile.
Villa María Academy is a Catholic all-girls school in Las Condes suburb of Santiago. The Andes Mountains serve as a backdrop to the school and visitors find snow skiing to the North and beachcombing to the South a short car ride away. You may visit the school website at https://www.vma.cl/.
Japanese Exchange with Seishin Girls’ School in Niigata, Japan
The MND Japanese Exchange Program began as a pen pal exchange with students at Seishin Girls’ School during the Fall semester of the 2018-2019 school year. The exchange was launched the next school year, with MND students traveling to Niigata, Japan for a two-week stay. The experience included a weekend home stay with a school family and the rest of the stay boarding at the school’s dormitory. Students attended classes and participated in extracurriculars, including the Japanese Tea Club and Flower Arranging Club.
As MND’s only cultural exchange without a language requirement, this program is open to students who commit to the Japanese Culture Club at Mount Notre Dame.
Program Content for MND Exchanges
Exchange programs are selective at MND and at our partner schools. The students are chosen to participate in programs based on the following criteria— good target language skills (for language exchanges), strong academic skills, and Christian behavior and attitudes. Program selection process includes written application, interview, grade and conduct record review, and faculty evaluation before the selection committee extends invitations to participate. We are pleased to have empowered students participating in the MND exchange programs.
Keeping up with class work
Students are responsible for the work they miss while away from school during the school-year exchanges. Students formulate an individual plan with each teacher prior to the trip. Students can expect to access class resources via PowerSchool while abroad. Some teachers may opt to assign alternative work that relates the subject matter to the exchange experience (i.e. requiring a PowerPoint on religious practices in that country).
Benefits of participating in an exchange program include:
• Increased cultural understanding
• Improved language skills
• Expanded world view
• International friendships
• Personal growth
• Increased independence and self-esteem
• Impressive experience to include on college applications
Please contact MND’s International Programs Coordinator, Ms. Julie Yorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about MND’s exchange programs.