Article By: Mayako K.

As the Bearcats dive into the new school year and (hopefully) get back into their studious mindsets, many may reminisce upon their time spent away from the books. While many seized upon the opportunity to indulge in relaxing, fun-filled activities such as traveling around the world and unwinding at the beach, some of their more industrious counterparts took advantage of their vacant schedules to participate in more “productive” ventures like cultural immersion camps, university programs, internships, and external test-preparation programs.

One of the options undertaken by the ISM students was the Rustic Pathways trip to Fiji. Sophomore Lexi W. thoroughly enjoyed her volunteering in local communities on the coasts of different islands. She shares, “My favorite part of the trip to Fiji was on the fifth night we were about the leave the second island we were staying at and the locals performed a traditional dance for us and later brought us all up to dance with them.” In addition to indulging in the local culture, a big part of the trip was the service aspect. “I felt very relaxed most of the time because the service/work we did was something I am genuinely passionate about which made it feel less like a job,” Lexi enthused.

Another way the Bearcats engaged with another country’s culture was through various immersion camps. Sophomore Jasmine R. participated in a Spanish language immersion camp in Seville, Andalucia in the heart of Spain. She truly felt the impact of the course when she came back to her Spanish class at ISM. “I think my Spanish skills improved because I was forced to speak in only Spanish. When I came back to Spanish class I felt more comfortable in the environment compared to last year.” As exemplified by Jasmine, participating in a immersion camps is a great way to get a head start on language classes at school and better connect with foreign cultures– valuable skills in today’s globalized world.

While some students are getting a head start on language classes, others are getting an early start on college preparations. As the seniors begin their final year before graduation, many are deliberating on potential college majors and career options. Case in point, Alexa S. spent her summer working as an intern for the US Embassy. Alexa stated that she “was able to understand how the American embassy protects American citizens in a foreign country and the ways in which they do it.” She added how the program allowed her to “learn so much and keep busy over the summer.” With her newfound experience, Alexa hopes to work for the US Foreign service and work in embassies around the world in the future.

With students such as Lexi, Jasmine, and Alexa taking advantage of the endless summer possibilities being offered or waiting to be discovered, ISM can look forward to an even more exciting and diverse student community!

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