Students host exchange students

by Ian Stephenson, Staff Writer

The Glen Rock High School Cultural Exchange Club recently hosted its semi-annual exchange with students from Gymnázium Jiřího Ortena in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic.

Fourteen Czech students and 11 Glen Rock students participated in the exchange, with the Glen Rock students visiting in September, and the Czech students visiting the first week of June. The exchange was run by Glen Rock teachers, Justin Ecochard and Tom Lyon, as well as Czech teacher, Ladislav Douša.

“It was really busy,” Lyon said. “There was a lot to do, just a lot of making sure that they get where they need to go on time, that they get to the train station, that they get fed, that they’re taken care of and just also making sure that they have a good time.”

The Czech students arrived in Glen Rock on Thursday night and spent Friday in school with their host students before ten of them attended the junior prom. Then, the students spent Saturday with their host families before traveling to New York City on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

While in the city, they saw sights including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and Rockefeller Center. However, many of the students also wanted to experience the life in New Jersey.

They took a city break on Tuesday and accompanied their hosts to the Point Pleasant Beach. The students returned to school on Friday before traveling back to the Czech that night.

“I took my student to the Woodbury Commons and also to Walmart because she wanted to see a superstore like that,” Meghan Kane, a sophomore, who was participating in her first exchange, said.

Malls were a common theme, as they are not very common in the Czech Republic, and all of the Czech students spent at least some time at Garden State Plaza. Also, some of the students, such as Erica Matsui and Jenna Hendrickx, took their students to New York City during their free time for additional activities that they would not have had time to do with their strict schedule.

“Me, my Japanese school friends, and two of them [Czech students], all went to New York City and went to the Scooper Bowl, which is where you get to eat ice cream forever, so we did that and we walked around Bryant Park,” Matsui said.

“I took her to the city and she met my sister, we hung out for a little while, and then we went to the Natural History Museum planetarium,” Hendrickx, a sophomore who was also participating in her first exchange, said.

However, despite the different backgrounds, language was not an issue. Matsui joked that most of the Czech students spoke better English than her. Kane said that she liked when the Czech students were unsure of how to say a word and would have to describe the word for them.

Most of the Glen Rock students agreed that their favorite part of the trip was spending time with the students and teachers as many of them developed close friendships during Glen Rock’s trip to Kutná Hora in September.