As Andover’s student leaders returned to campus earlier on September 1, many celebrated their first night back by going to the Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Student leaders included prefects, proctors, day student mentors, EBI seniors, cluster co-presidents, and the student body co-presidents. Sponsored by an anonymous donor, many student leaders appreciated the trip as a class bonding event.
Ishan Patel ’23, an international student leader from Japan, was excited to watch an American baseball game for the first time. As an international student, he viewed the game as a gateway to learn more about American sports culture.
“My experience was pretty exciting because as an international student that came to America solely based on attending Phillips Academy, this is my first ever baseball game. And the Red Sox, I would say, is an internationally well-known team. I [found] that Americans are very passionate about baseball. I think because of the way this game is structured, nobody had to know anything about baseball to understand what was happening,” said Patel.
Ysabella Vargas ’23, a day student mentor, agreed with Patel, indicating that the trip brought a refreshing spirit to the group of students. Despite knowing little about baseball, Vargas found that herself and others could still enjoy the game.
“I don’t really know much about baseball, [but] everything was great. I liked the energy of the game. Just being with my friends made this a memorable trip regardless of whether we were paying attention to the game,” wrote Vargas in an email to The Phillipian.
Upon the opening of school, many students find it difficult to connect with peers, especially new students. Nigel Savage ’23, 2022-23 Student Body Co-President, appreciated the opportunity to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
“[My] major takeaway is that it was a great way for student leaders to bond and come together as a community. I went with my friends who are also student leaders and had a lot of fun…. The bus ride was really fun. It almost felt like summer camp, just having no stress and hanging with friends when school hasn’t started yet,” wrote Savage in an email to The Phillipian.
Similar to Savage, Patel enjoyed getting to know his classmates better through exploring Fenway Park. Patel appreciated the stress-free nature of the event without the hustle of schoolwork.
“I think [the Red Sox game] is a great bonding event, because more than the game itself, meeting everyone earlier and just having a relaxing time was honestly just relaxing. And I think, like me and my friends, we kind of visited around or walked around the park. We played a couple of the games that are available, went into the merch store that they have there, and just had a good time in general,” said Patel.
However, some student leaders felt that the transportation, seating, and accommodations for international students could have been improved. Specifically, Patel expressed how due to the lack of rest from traveling, the bus trips were somewhat exhausting for many international students.
Patel said, “I would say that the transportation was actually done quite poorly in my opinion. I think that the trip from school to Fenway Park, in general, was quite good. But the return journey was fairly rough. I think we were delayed by a very good margin, and on top of that, the bus [was], besides being late, very cold. I explicitly remember this because the majority of international students [in the] leadership training were jet-lagged, and I was on four hours of sleep the next day because the transportation was kind of messed up. I think if it was possibly handled better, I could have probably gone into the next day and experienced leadership training in a more invigorated and relaxed state.