We asked a few of our alumni graduates to come back and share with us their thoughts after leaving HudsonWay Immersion School. Listen to what they said helped prepare them for middle and high school and how they’ve maintained their language skills over the years. . .
A Profile of Two HWIS Graduates
Matt Fallon graduated from HudsonWay Immersion School’ Mandarin track in 2014. He was accepted at The Pingry School where he is currently in grade 9. After leaving HWIS Matt continued his Mandarin studies through weekly skype sessions with a tutor in China, joined on a two-week long trip to China during spring break living with a Chinese family in a homestay, and worked towards achieving a 5 on the AP test in grade 8. He is continuing his study of Mandarin and Spanish at Pingry.
Cameron Wright graduated from HudsonWay Immersion School’s Spanish track in 2016. He was accepted at Newark Academy where his Spanish placed him at the 11th grade level. Since his parents preferred that he not be with students 6 years his senior, he opted to begin study of this third language, French. He is able to maintain his Spanish by speaking au pair from Mexico at home as well as reading Spanish novels during the summer. When his family is able to travel to Spanish speaking countries during the summer, he is able to jump right in and communicate with the locals.
Since starting our day school program our talented students have been accepted into these NJ and NY independent schools.
|Pingry||United Nations International School|
|Newark Academy||Horace Mann|
Summer Abroad—Student Perspectives
This summer, HWIS alumni Ethan and Warren Hicks, age 15 about to enter grade 10, had the opportunity to spend a summer at National Taiwan Normal University’ Mandarin summer camp. As a parent of two children who completed an immersion program through grade 5 I wanted to find a program that would challenge them, be taught in an engaging and progressive style, and offer cultural experiences to take advantage of the setting in Taiwan. To my delight, my kids really enjoyed their experience and one of them even said he “missed Taiwan” – this despite the high heat and humidity that is pervasive. They took the kids to a farm where they learned how to harvest tea, plant rice and navigate the Taiwan metro. These are photos I will treasure for a long time.
Here’s what they had to say. . .
Warren Hicks: I felt like this camp was fun because the teachers had fun activities and games daily. The teacher’s number one priority is students learning but also enjoying themselves at the same time. Class was not a high-pressure environment, the homework amount was fair, it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes each night. I learned a lot, and this class greatly improved my vocabulary and my potential to form sentences and have complex conversations with the teacher and other native speakers. I feel the environment of Taiwan really enhanced this camp experience, which made it second to none and not available anywhere else.
Ethan Hicks: I was super nervous when it came time to leave for the Taiwan trip. I had no idea what to expect, because the website did not explain much. All I knew was that we were going to class 4 days a week from 9 to 3 and on Fridays we had field trips. After going through this camp, I can confirm it is much like a camp back here in the USA. In the camp, the kids are given a "placement test" which determines what class you are put into (1-5), 5 being the highest. Almost all of the students are American. All of the students are learning Chinese and the new culture together. The classes are fun, but also very immersive, the teachers are great and ONLY speak Chinese. I left this camp with a much needed refresher and boost to my Chinese skills after leaving HWIS.
However, there are things that a parent should consider to make this the optimal experience in my opinion. . .
a. It is VERY, VERY HOT, make sure your child knows to stay hydrated.
b. It rains a lot so always carry an umbrella.
c. If your child is an only child, an experience like this can be very daunting, doing it with a friend would help the child to adapt to the new environment.
d. PACK SNACKS. This is very important. The food that the school provides might not always be the favorite of your child so have them be prepared with backup food.
e. Give them a phone / way of communicating. LINE is my recommendation since you can make free international calls and texts.