The benefits were numerous – academically, socially, and athletically, when 26 students from Denmark came to Locust Valley High School through an exchange program earlier this month. The students, along with two teachers, participated in in-depth discussions in the high school’s International Baccalaureate program, providing Locust Valley students with a unique perspective, an opportunity for intense discussion, and a lesson in culture that could not be learned from books.
The Danish students stayed in the homes of the Locust Valley students, immersing themselves in the American culture, and sharing facts about the cultural differences along the way.

“Our students learn about different cultures in their classes. However, next to traveling to a foreign country, meeting people from another country is the best way to learn about how other people live,” explained Dr. Kieran McGuire, Locust Valley High School Principal. Dr. McGuire and International Baccalaureate Coordinator Bob Buonaspina coordinated the exchange program.

Locust Valley High School and Danish students worked together on academic projects including a comparative cultural analysis, studying the effects of immigration, multiculturalism, and economic globalization, and dissecting expressions of culture and manners in English and American literature. Both sets of students prepared for the experience by reading works such as The Great Gatsby. The Danish group and their Locust Valley hosts spent a day in New York City visiting the 9-11 Memorial, and seeing a Broadway play that related to their studies.

“Seeing these things with their counterparts from Denmark afforded Locust Valley students a unique opportunity to share their perspectives and see those of other students. They will think about the event and the process as they move forward in their studies,” said Dr. McGuire.

The visitors also attended their hosts’ football game, dressed in Locust Valley jerseys, and cheered their new friends on to an exciting last-second victory. The roles will be reversed in the spring, when Locust Valley students visit Denmark, where they will attend school for a week with their partners and experience the Danish culture first-hand – an experience that will benefit them greatly.