Six Students to Spend SYA in India, France, Spain, China and Italy

Six Phillips Academy students will enter the new school year next September in five different countries around the world. Hannah Bardo ’10, Sophia Bernazzani ’10, Hannah Hall ’10, Victoria Sanchez ’09 and Morgan Trigg ’10 will spend the year abroad with the SYA (School Year Abroad) program. Will Brooke ’10 received a provisional acceptance, but has not committed to the program. Each student will take courses, all of which, except for Math and English, are taught in the country’s native language at an SYA-designated school with other program participants from around the world. There is no language prerequisite for the Italian, Indian and Chinese programs. However, to study abroad in Spain or France, a student must have taken at least two years of that country’s language. Sanchez is participating in the first-ever SYA trip to Visakhapatnam, India. Unlike the other students, Sanchez will spend only her fall-term abroad. Catherine Carter, Classics Instructor and SYA director, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, that the India program will focus on economics and the environment. According to Sanchez, her obsession with India since eighth grade was a driving factor in her decision to spend the year abroad. Sanchez, the only rising Senior going abroad, will have to complete part of the college application process in India. Bardo is one of two students who will be staying in Zaragoza, Spain. A faculty child, Bardo is excited to spend time outside the campus boundaries. “One of the things I am looking forward to most is dreaming in Spanish,” she said. However, Bardo admitted that she is a little worried about the ethnic Spanish food. She recalled traveling to visit her brother in Spain and eating both worms and rabbit on the trip. Bernazzani will also be traveling to Zaragoza. She said that she has always wanted to be able to speak Spanish, because her aunt and uncle live in South America. Bernazzani said she is looking forward to living with her host family and being around new and different people. Hall, currently taking her second year of Chinese, will spend next year in Beijing, China. Her stay in Beijing will include 45 days of travel, 10 days spent in a rural section of China and three weeks exploring India. Hall said that she has never been out of the United States and is very excited to embrace the Chinese culture and to live with her host family. While in China, Hall also plans to continue running cross-country. Trigg will spend her year abroad in Rennes, in northwestern France. Trigg said that she was excited about becoming fluent in a different language. However, one of her fears is that she will initially be nervous and not be able to speak with the native French speakers. Trigg also hopes to continue sports in the local area. Finally Brooke received a provisional acceptance to the SYA program to travel to Viterbo, Italy. Carter wrote in the email that the focus of the Italy program is on the Classics. Thus, along with the core classes, Brooke will study Latin and Art History. Brooke said that one of the main reasons he wanted to travel to Italy was his strong interest in art, and that so far his schedule at PA has not been able to accommodate this interest. Brooke was introduced to the SYA program by his father, who also spent a year abroad. According to the SYA website, the program was created in 1964, with funding from Phillips Academy to send students and faculty to Spain. At the time of its founding, the program was called “School Boys Abroad.” According to the website, Phillips Exeter Academy became a co-sponsor in 1965, and St. Paul’s School became another sponsor in 1968. Carter wrote in the email that students who come back from SYA are very pleased with their experience and gain fluency along with independence and confidence. “I think most SYA alums would tell you that they became part of the fabric of the community rather than observing it as tourists, another opportunity afforded by living abroad for 9 months with a host family,” Carter wrote.