Exchanging school places across the world

30 Jul 2023

Unlocking opportunities for students to connect internationally, Christ’s College has welcomed four students from Australia, Germany, and the United States this term.

Americans William Barnard and Conner Looney restart a long-standing exchange with Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee while Australian Jack Duncan is the third Scotch Oakburn student to visit College – under the Round Square Exchange – from Tasmania this year. Julius Dittmar has arrived at College on a German student exchange from his school, Gymnasium am (at) Moltkeplatz, in Krefeld, north-west of Düsseldorf.

William and Jack have found a home in Harper House, in tandem with their exchange partners, Bede Hamilton and Max McNulty, respectively, while Conner joins College student Jake Leck as a boarder in Flower’s House. Julius has become a member of Jacobs House, alongside his exchange partner, Josh Durant.

For William and Conner, the student exchange offers a wealth of experiences and opportunities as they travel to a country very different to their own.

“I wanted to experience the culture of New Zealand, and different cultures around the world,” William explains. “It’s thousands of miles away, so it’s a bit different from America and I also get a better world perspective by going on this exchange.”

He also notes the different educational approach at Christ’s College, with a “more project-based, hands-on learning” experience.

Conner believes “it is important to do the exchange to see how other boys of my age are going through life and going through school” and “gain a broader cultural perspective”.

He likes that learning is “a lot more hands-on” and notes the school passion for rugby.

Julius has found the focus on sport at school to be a big point of difference.

He thinks that “it is important for the students here to be good at a sport and represent their school”, which is very different to Germany, where “sport is not school related at all”.

Julius appreciates the exchange experience, explaining that it is important “to learn what it is like to go to a college” and “everything you do with your school”.

Jack adds that “a lot more is packed into one day at College, with six classes” but he enjoys the fun of the exchange and the chance for new adventures.

For the four College students, each exchange opens the door to greater understanding of other cultures.

“I think it is important to do school exchanges to get different understandings of people’s backgrounds and what they have to go through,” Josh says.

Jake is relishing the chance to discover “a new culture and the US school system” while Bede believes “it is a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

“It is important to take the things that are put in front of you and take the opportunity to go out and do an exchange,” he says.