Students Visit Colombia, Paris, Japan & More

May 1, 2023

After a three years hiatus, the Round Square Trip and Exchange Programme has returned to BHS and this school year, seven Year 10 students have taken advantage of an exchange opportunity, with experiences in Colombia, Paris, Colorado and Japan and two Year 9 students spent a month in the UK.

A spokesperson said, “As the only Global Round Square Member School on the island, these opportunities are unique to students at BHS, and offer a chance to experience a different culture and / or language at a fellow Round Square School.

“With over 250 Round Square Schools in 50+ countries, the destination options are endless and students have visited the US, Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Australia. Later this year, students will travel to the UK, Tanzania and Brazil for Round Square Conferences and Service Projects.

BHS Round Square Exchange Programme May 1 2023_Sophie Kulkarni at the Todai-ji Buddhist Temple, Nara


“Tessa Kearns and Sophie Kulkarni chose the option to venture 12,000 kilometers away to the Junior and Senior High School of Kogakuin University in the Hachioji prefecture of Tokyo, Japan. They spent three weeks at the School, each staying with a host family. The adjustment to Japanese life and culture was a big part of their experience, from being in an apartment with their host families and sleeping on a tatami mat to navigating life in a city, the school day and the different food in the cafeteria.

“Tessa and Sophie were enrolled in English immersion classes so were able to have conversations and form friendships with classmates and they both had incredible host families who went out of their way to share their culture and country with their guests. Two very special memories included an audience with the only English-speaking Geisha in Japan and as Tessa’s host father was an ex American military officer, he was able to arrange a flight for them both in a Cessna 750 over Tokyo and Kanagawa; an experience that normal tourists in Japan would never get to do!”

Tessa Kearns said, “To say I learned a lot would be an understatement and I could not put into words how it changed my perspective on a lot of things that I had never considered before. I came away from this experience with a lifelong connection to my host family, the Japanese culture, quite a few Japanese phrases and words, and a general understanding of my place in the world. I feel more confident in my ability to navigate places by myself, acclimate to new groups, and learn new things quickly because I was able to do so in Tokyo, the most populated city in the world!”

BHS Round Square Exchange Programme May 1 2023_GSmith_France3

Sophie Kulkarni said, “I developed a lot of confidence, especially since I was in a completely foreign country. Learning how to communicate was a little difficult but it got easier as time went on. I definitely gained an appreciation for the Japanese culture, as the temples, buildings, and lifestyle are so different to our own. I think going on an exchange helped me understand the nuances of that culture and I would absolutely recommend this experience to anyone.”

The spokesperson said, “Three students experienced life as a boarder for a month in the US and the UK. Isla Curtis spent four weeks at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs and had an amazing experience, making the most of the Colorado outdoors with lots of skiing and ice-skating and attended a US High School Winter Formal. Year 9 students, Freja and Aunika Dzurus, spent a month at the Windemere School in the Lake District, UK.

“Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the girls were able to train with a co-ed football team, enjoy cross country fell running, sailing on Lake Windermere, and explore an old copper mine as a part of the many experiences offered by the Adventure and Extra Curricular Programs at the school. They made friends with students from all over the world and said that they were ‘so grateful for this opportunity that was available to them at BHS as a Round Square School.’”

Year 10 student, Sage Benevides was lucky enough to spend a little over a month at the Colegio Grab Bretana in Bogotá, Colombia. She loved experiencing the different cultures of other students at the school. Reflecting on her trip, Sage said, “This trip was a great experience which pushed me outside my comfort zone through traveling alone and being in a country where I don’t speak the language.”

BHS Round Square Exchange Programme May 1 2023_BHS Round Square Exchange Programme May 1 2023_Sophie Kulkarni at the Todai-ji Buddhist Temple, Nara

The spokesperson said, “Two other Year 10 students, Gabrielle Smith and Annabelle Davidson, each spent time in France on their exchanges, Gabby spent her exchange in a little town called Maisons-Laffitte, in the northern suburbs of Paris.”

She attended the Ermitage International School, while living with a German host family where she was exposed to German, French and Italian in her host home and said, “Overall, I learned a lot about different cultures because I met so many people from around the world.” Annabelle attended the l’ École alsacienne in Paris for four weeks and both students were able to take in all the famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles.

“BHS has also been delighted to welcome numerous students from Colombia, Canada, the US in the last year and later this year, we will welcome students from Tokyo, Paris, and South Africa.”

Head of School, Linda Parker remarked, “Being a Global Member of Round Square, opens incredible opportunities for our students. By experiencing life in a different country, these students come home more mature and confident, with new friends, improved language skills and an appreciation for a new culture.

“There is financial aid available to ensure that all of our Secondary students can take advantage of these experiences and we are very proud that since being accepted into the Round Square organisation in 2005, over 300 students have benefitted from a Round Square Trip, Conference or Exchange.”

BHS Round Square Exchange Programme May 1 2023_Sage with Host Family

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