_Andover in France_
In the span of 17 days, students on the Piette program traversed France, visiting landmarks such as Paris and the Loire Valley. The main goal of the Piette program, however, was the participation in several archaeological digs.
The foundations of the Piette program were set in 2009 when Claire Gallou, Instructor in French, had her classes translate French documents about Édouard Piette’s archeological collection. The documents were a request from the French National Archaeological Museum to return objects from his collection. Their exchange launched a partnership between Andover and the Archeological Museum that led to this summer’s Piette program, according to the Andover Institute’s website.
“Even though I had been to France many times prior, seeing that country and its history through the eyes of nine very bright and intellectually curious students allowed me to experience the history and culture of that country in a totally new way,” wrote Nile Blunt, Instructor in History and chaperone on the trip.
Indiana Sobol ’17, who participated in the program, said the program gave her a deeper understanding of French archeology and history.
“We visited a few caves and before long, we only had one left…there was an American woman who kept asking random questions that she thought were very advanced, but everyone from the Piette program…practically mouthed the answers along with the guide. We learned a lot very quickly, since we were all like that woman in the beginning,” Sobol said.
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BASK in ASK
_Andover in Kunming, China_
Andover’s Beijing Andover Shanghai Kunming in Andover Summer Kunming (BASK in ASK) program combines interdisciplinary studies with cultural immersion to add a multicultural, multifaceted understanding of water issues facing the world.
Currently in its second year, BASK in ASK brought 11 students to China this summer and hosted a total of 12 local Chinese students from public schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Kunming. While on the three-and-a-half-week program, the students stayed in Kunming, a city in southern China.
Throughout the program, students investigated issues of water scarcity, pollution and damming in both China and the United States through the lenses of economics, philosophy and biology. Students saw firsthand issues of water pollution, usage and treatment in field trips to local lakes, water treatment plants and a rose nursery, the largest exporter of roses in China.
Simultaneously, the program emphasized cultural exchange by pairing each American student with a Chinese partner, with whom they eventually shared a room. Students and teachers formed close bonds through playing sports, including Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, basketball and tai chi, on a daily basis.
“The American kids, whether they were fluent in Chinese or had no experience at all, learned a lot more about China, about these kids’ lives and about the language than they knew before. They learned a lot about the world environmental situation and the challenges of freshwater in the US and in China,” said Thomas Hodgson, Instructor and Chair in Philosophy and Religious Studies and Program Director and teacher at BASK in ASK.
BASK in ASK allowed Alphonse Le ’15 to explore aspects of his heritage he had not understood in the past. “For the first time, I could see my mother’s stories from her childhood in Asia come to life around me… BASK really helped me to view current events and issues in a more multidisciplinary lens than I had before. By taking classes each with a different approach to the same subject, I could recognize the multidimensional aspects of topics such as water quality, especially examining the similar challenges facing both the USA and China,”
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_Andover in Brazil_
Five Andover students explored sustainable development in a three-week trip to Brazil by studying the country through biology, literature and architecture. The program, Brazil PLACES, promoted the investigation and comparison of problems in Brazil to similar issues around the world.
In Rio de Janeiro, the students and faculty examined the methods in which the city expanded from its humble beginnings 500 years ago to the large metropolis it now is.
“We were asking: what were the factors that prompted this development, the political, economic, social, artistic and cultural, etc., factors? Who benefited [from the expansion]? Who did not benefit?” said Flavia Vidal, Instructor in English and organizer of PLACES.
The program also visited a sustainable coffee farm near the city of Piracicaba and stayed with environmentally-conscious rubber tree tappers in the Amazon. While touring, students were exposed to the concept that sustainable business could still be profitable. This notion, Vidal said, is applicable to the entirety of the world.
“My favorite aspect [of PLACES] was the sense of feeling at home. There was this all-around sense that I don’t feel different in this country, even though it’s a foreign place… I feel as if I’m at home,” said Madison Pettaway ’17, a participant on the trip.
“Even if you aren’t interested in architecture, agriculture or sustainability—those aren’t my favorite topics—you should still go; they are presented in a way that is so interesting and available for everyone,” she continued.
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South African Arts Trip
_Andover Artists in South Africa_
Music, dance and visual arts melded together in a fusion of South African and American culture during the “South Africa & Arts” trip to the South African cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Grahamstown.
The Andover community got a preview of their tour during April’s “Rhythms of Hope” dance show.
“We wanted to combine the arts departments into a multi-disciplinary performance project examining themes of cultural and artistic fusion,” said Peter Cirelli, Instructor and Chair in Music and one of the faculty organizers for the trip.
The “South Africa & Arts” trip focused on the exploration of issues of personal identity and social justice. The students who attended the program were encouraged to interact with and better understand the post-apartheid culture of South Africa and the significance of arts during that era.
Jacob Peffer ’17, a jazz musician who attended the trip, said, “The themes in the [Rhythms of Hope] included the tension between the blacks and the whites in the townships of South Africa, the unfair stereotypes that come along with race and the imprisonment of blacks.”
The musicians, dancers and artists on the trip visited Nelson Mandela’s House, performed for the Cafca music program, watched a performance from the Kliptown youth program and visited several museums including the Apartheid Museum, the District 6 Museum and the Ibiza art museum.
“The Kliptown Youth Program in Soweto, Johannesburg is located in a shantytown with many challenges, including access to clean water, sanitation, education [and] unemployment… Feeling the stark contrast between that environment and Andover, while we simultaneously witnessed the extreme happiness and the warm welcome we received from the Kliptown residents, was overwhelming,” said Cirelli.
The students also visited the Oprah Winfrey School for Girls, where they spoke with Becky Sykes, former Associate Head of School at Andover, and had the chance to dance and create music with some of the girls at the school.
“Everyone was so humble, caring and grateful for what they had no matter what their situation happened to be. Overall the trip was incredible and a big part of this was the amazing people we met along the way,” said Katie Graber ’16, a member of the Andover Dance Group who attended the trip.
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_Andover in Ahmedabad, India_
The word “Niswarth” means “Non Sibi” in Hindi. Andover’s Niswarth program looks to create a valuable, effective, “Non Sibi” experience for every participant.
In its ten-year existence, Niswarth has taken eight trips to India. During each three-week trip, students have explored the concepts behind service and learned about social entrepreneurship in India.
While at the Chandalodia School and Gandhi Ashram School in Ahbedabad, students designed and implemented projects using a Design for Change (DFC) model, according to Arzu Singh ’16, who participated in Niswarththis summer.
“[The DFC model] is when you step into a community, and instead of assuming you know everything they need and as an outsider you understand how their community functions, you spend a lot time trying to learn about the community… and see where your efforts can best be placed,” said Singh.
Rajesh Mundra, one of the faculty organizers of Niswarth, described the importance of the DFC framework in an email to The Phillipian.
“The process of understanding needs, designing a response, going back to get more information, working as a team with other students and organizations, opened our minds for how to approach any work in any community,” he wrote.
For Singh, Niswarth served as a way of observing the practical uses of “Non Sibi” first hand. “[Andover] always talks about ‘Non Sibi,’ but personally on campus I have never felt that. The community service program is big and it is expansive, but I still feel that it doesn’t necessarily support our huge embodiment of ‘Non Sibi.’ I guess I wanted to see how one could actually be ‘Non Sibi’ and see how people are making changes around the world,” said Singh.
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Russian Language Trip
_Andover in Russia_
For the 35th year, Victor Svec, Instructor in Russia, took 12 Andover students to Petrozavodsk, Russia for three weeks to improve their knowledge of Russian language and culture.
“The hopes and the expectations are always the same: first and foremost, to get people outside of their personal comfort zone. Second is to get people to start realizing that there are other ways of doing things in the world, and third is [to] improve their Russian,” said Svec.
Students on the trip had the opportunity to experience Russian culture firsthand by staying with host families, visiting a Russian school and taking a trip to Kizhi Island in the middle of Lake Onega to visit the open-air museum of history and architecture.
Ryan Simard ’16, who went on the Russian Language trip, said, “I definitely felt a culture shock. On the first day, my host’s nephew took me on a trip around the city in his car. The entire ride, I was amazed as to how different the city looked from anything in America.”
In addition to taking Russian language class for two hours each day, students interacted with native Russian students who were learning to speak English.
“[The Russian students’] assignment was to video interview us, and some of the questions were really interesting. I was beyond pleased and shocked at how composed, thoughtful and diplomatic [the American students’] responses were,” said Svec.
On the Russian Language trip, Andover students were encouraged to embrace the differences and recognize the similarities between the American and Russian cultures.
“One specific memory that stuck with me was when a few of the Russian kids we met were talking about American culture. Although they were halfway around the world, they still listened to the same music and watched the same movies,” said Simard.