The story of Neuqua Valley students’ trip to our sister city actually begins in fall 2017 – when students from Nitra, Slovakia stayed with students in town for 11 days.
This is when students made their first connections with their new friends from abroad. Several Neuqua students stayed with the same students they hosted at home.
“He stayed with me and I stayed with him,” said Neuqua Valley senior Brady Beck. “Obviously we stayed in touch through the year. We’re close friends now and it was really awesome to see how he lived after he saw how I lived and I had a really enjoyable experience.”
The 25 Neuqua students were taken on tours of Slovakia by their host families, and even attended a day of school at Gymnazium Parovska – where their host students go.
After exploring Slovakia, they left the country to tour the surrounding area, including stops in Budapest and Vienna.
They visited places that were under Soviet control during the Cold War, the echoes of which can be felt today.
“It was very interesting to see and hear about these things we learn in the classroom 5,000 miles away from these places, and getting to see the stuff in person,” said Neuqua Valley senior Remle Herzberg.
Whether their favorite part of the trip was living with their foreign peers, seeing history up close, or experiencing the beauty of the country, they all had one thing to say:
“I definitely recommend everyone not just to go to Europe but to push yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone because it will make you a better person in the end,” said Annalese Munn, a 2018 graduate of Neuqua.
“One student said to me it got him out of his Naperville bubble and that was really the intent of this school-to-school exchange,” said Bob McBride, Neuqua’s principal.
McBride hopes to take another group of students to Nitra again soon.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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