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James Hargest students in the USA!

James Hargest students in the USA!

Citizens of the World

After months of fundraising and preparation, the day had finally arrived when, 14 excited Year 8 ambassadors, two chaperones and two teachers gathered at Invercargill Airport for the trip of a lifetime. After a rousing kapa haka performance from the New Zealand ambassadors and lots of tears from parents, we boarded our first flight bound for Tacoma, Washington State, USA. This group of ambassadors travelled on the 25th anniversary of the exchange. Exciting times awaited us in the USA!

We stopped off in Los Angeles for six nights to bond together as a group and hit the theme parks, experiencing as many of the extreme rides as our time would allow. We visited Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, Medieval Times, Disneyland and California Adventure Park. We also spent a fabulous day touring LA, Hollywood and Beverley Hills where we certainly saw some very interesting sights. The overall group favourite was Universal Studios, where we were treated to a Studio Tour and came up close and personal with King Kong himself! The worst part about our time in Los Angeles was the weather – we arrived in the middle on an unseasonal heatwave! Fortunately, we had plenty of time for swimming at our hotel pool to cool down.

Bidding farewell to California, we headed to Tacoma where we were met by a very loud group of host families, who had designed amazing welcome posters for each of us. After the initial introductions, it was off home to get acquainted with our host families. During the first weekend we had the welcome dinner, where we were treated to a traditional American style BBQ.  Our daily field trips were educational and always packed with fun. Some of the trips included Ride the Ducks – an amphibious vehicle with a very humorous driver who took us sightseeing around Seattle, Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma Glassblowing Studio (where we made our own glass art), and the ultimate for many of the ambassadors – indoor skydiving!

During our time in the USA we grew very close to our host families and Tacoma began to feel like home. When it came time to leave it was difficult to say goodbye and we had an emotional farewell at the airport.  However, after four weeks away we were excited to return to our families and share our adventures.

A big thank you to Mrs Bradshaw, Ms Henery, Jo Flett and Steve Freeborn for chaperoning the trip and returning all Kiwi ambassadors safely!

The Citizens of the World American exchange is an amazing trip. We have a new set of American friends and memories of a wonderful trip to treasure forever! We are looking forward to the exchange continuing in February, when our American friends come to Invercargill for three weeks.

category News
24 October 2014