The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

Through cultural immersion, Argentinian exchange students explore Lab, Chicago

Olin Nafziger
A group of Argentinian exchange students eat dinner at a farewell party hosted by Lab senior Hannah Shubin. During their two week visit to Chicago, twenty exchange students experienced Lab and explored Chicago’s unique culture, through excursions such as museum visits and an architecture tour.

In the pastel orange afternoon glow of the Judd Hall coffee shop, Bianca Allevato says goodbye to barista Ariel Williams, her eyes teary with emotion. Over the past two weeks of visiting Chicago, Bianca, an exchange student from Argentina, spent a lot of time getting coffee and created a strong relationship with Ms. Williams over her stay.

She said, “We said goodbye to Ariel, and we ended up crying because we enjoyed the trip very much, and we love her.”

Bianca is one of the 20 Argentinian exchange students who made the voyage to Chicago taking place from Oct. 19 to Nov. 4. They experienced Chicago culture from food to architecture, which is different from the culture of Buenos Aires, where the students are from. Cultural exploration and immersion is one of the goals of the trip.

Exchange student Julian Dodds got to experience the difference between the school systems in the United States and Argentina. In Argentina, students don’t move from classroom to classroom for different subjects. Rigid schedules don’t include things such as free and lab periods, and students have fewer options for classes. 

“The school system is really different from what we have in Argentina,” Julian said, “so I tried to absorb everything I could, like, everything from the English language to things I could have learned in class too… It was a really enriching experience.”

Lila Rodriguez, another exchange student, enjoyed her experience with U-High classes. She was also surprised with the tiniest details such as the colorful fall trees. 

“You have a lot of subjects that we don’t have, like journalism, and we’ve been surprised by the minute details,” Lila said.

During the stay, the exchange students got to experience Halloween, which is not recognized as a national holiday in Argentina. Students enjoyed costumes, trick-or-treating and other activities with their host families in addition to the activities that were included in the exchange program. 

This past summer, 20 U-High students visited Argentina, meeting their exchange students for the first time and experiencing life with them. In Argentina, U-High students lived with their exchange student’s family and participated in school, museum visits and different cultural visits.

Dina D’Antoni, a Spanish teacher who organizes the exchange program, worked with a partner school in Buenos Aires, Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas, Juan Ramón Fernández, for months to plan the exchange trip. 

“For two weeks, we do tons of different cultural visits at the same time. So we visit, we visit museums, we do city tours, we participate in cultural events, we go to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to visit the ranches and see the cowboys,” Dr. D’Antoni said.

This exchange program returned after COVID-19. Dr. D’Antoni feels the program is back in full swing after the three-year break, and everything is back to what it was before. In addition to partaking in the school day, exchange students traveled around Chicago where they participated in tours and visited historic sites such as some of Chicago’s famous museums.

“Everything was fully back, so we’re excited,” Dr. D’Antoni said.

Nov. 2, the 20 exchange students spent their last day at U-High saying goodbye to their friends and leaving the school for the last time. On Nov. 4 the students departed for the airport with lifetime memories and experiences.

Sophomore Camila Bravo enjoyed the experiences the exchange program provided. She learned important life lessons such as adapting to a different type of lifestyle, as well as having fun by spending time with friends during the program.

“I think I learned patience, and flexibility,” Camila said. “It was immersing yourself into the culture and going with the family’s flow of things.”

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About the Contributors
Kabir Joshi
Kabir Joshi, Assistant Editor
Kabir Joshi is a member of the Class of 2026 and is an assistant editor. As a ninth grader, he joined the U-High Midway during the 2022-23 school year. His favorite story that he has written is "Movie differentiates itself from others." Outside of the Midway, he runs cross country and loves spending time with his dog. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Excellent, review writing
Olin Nafziger
Olin Nafziger, Photographer
Olin Nafziger is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of school activities and sports, and his favorite sport to photograph is golf. Outside of class, Olin enjoys biking, watching TV and participating in various school clubs. Awards: 2023 Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Contest, sports reaction, third place 2023 Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Contest, still life, honorable mention

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