Eight Whittier students will seize the summer and spend four weeks overseas absorbing a foreign language and culture as CIEE Global Navigator High School Study Abroad scholarship recipients.
The Santa Fe and La Serna high school students will travel to Europe, Asia and Mexico to boost their language skills, participate in global outreach, explore service and leadership opportunities and bond with their host families.
The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) scholarships – which range from $1,000 to more than $6,000 – cover all or part of their tuition and travel expenses. All students will attend and complete one of two sessions offered this summer.
Santa Fe High junior Daniel Torres will travel to Toulouse, France, while sophomore Lydia Smith will study in Rennes, France. Anahi Garcia, a junior, will study children’s health issues in Mexico. Santa Fe sophomore Vanessa Pimentel will spend a month in Amsterdam, where she will study LGBT rights and activism in the Netherlands, as well as fulfill a childhood dream.
“I have wanted to go to Amsterdam ever since I read the Anne Frank diary when I was 8 years old,” Pimentel said. “Visiting the Anne Frank house and museum has been my dream for years.”
From La Serna High, sophomore Kaylie Ching will travel to Berlin, Germany; junior Samantha Padilla will study in Shanghai, China; and sophomores Monserrat Perez and Isabella Bracamonte will spend the summer in Toulouse, France.
“I’m really excited,” Bracamonte said. “It’s been my dream to travel the world.”
Students who demonstrate proficiency in a second language may earn the Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma.
“Through cultural exchange programs, Whittier Union students are able to bridge the language gap while making connections and memories that will last a lifetime,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said.