It has been a wonderful start to the school year, and one — or should I say two — of the reasons this year has felt so special is the addition of our two AFS students: Jasmine Brown from Ghana, hosted by the Taylor family, and Moritz Haberman from Germany, hosted by the Doty family.
In September, Jasmine and Moritz spoke to the student body in assembly and did a wonderful job of dispelling stereotypes about their home countries by sharing some of the subtle cultural realities and differences they bring with them. What I love about our exchange program is that it is so mutually beneficial. While the visiting students indeed grow from the experience and learn from their year at Burroughs and in St. Louis, they also bring so many opportunities for us to broaden our perspectives and develop our ability to adapt our behavior to cultural differences and commonalities in values, beliefs, expectations and practices.
Over the last 20 years, we've hosted 16 students, and each has brought something different to Burroughs. With the development of our Community & Equity Partnership committee and programming, we have more families than ever willing to support exchange students and their host families. Our hope moving forward is to be able to host two or three students each year. To that end, I'm hoping that every family at Burroughs will consider hosting an AFS student.
Host families are vital to the program's success and we want to develop a good host pipeline. There is no "typical" family, and it can be done by a grandparent, a parent of a student in any grade, an alum or even a past parent or faculty member.
Cultural and global competency serve as one of the pillars of our school's program.
We hope that every student will learn another language, as well as learn a great deal about world cultures in our curriculum. Through a grade 7-10 sequence of seminars that focus on diversity, equity and inclusivity, we believe students' understanding deepens year-by-year. But some of the greatest parts of our program are beyond the classroom, where we engage in the global world — through the International Model United Nations program in The Hague and Qatar, through the Global Youth Leadership Institute each summer, and through travel to Italy, France, Spain, Guatemala, Germany, Costa Rica, China, Greece and other countries. Our AFS program is an even deeper extension of this work, and I hope that you and your families will consider hosting in the future.
Please contact Tammy Taylor, Director of Community and Equity Programming, to learn more about this meaningful opportunity.