Ohana Project – Foreign Exchange Program

Ohana Project - Foreign Exchange Program

Mrs. Bynum and Mireia
“Exchange students are ‘Heroes’. They don’t fight against anybody and they don’t go through any kind of magical world, but somehow the exchange student cycle is the same as a heroic cycle. It all starts with a call to the adventure, a refusal to that call, and a final decision of doing it. Crossing the threshold, we travel long ways and get somewhere new. In that new place, we meet new people, we lose, but we also get new things. And when our battle is over, when we have won the battle against our fears, it’s time for us to go back. … I only have one thing to say, don’t let such an opportunity as this go because of your fears, what can happen while you are far away.” – Exchange student Mireia Esteban Garcia pictured with Mrs. Bynum.
The ‘Ohana Project’ began as an experiment really and grew into something magnificent. During the 2013/14 school year Sequoia Secondary invited 22 foreign exchange students to our Mesa campus. These students, from ten countries, brought a richness of culture to our resident students not often equaled. Through the year our experience grew exponentially as the cultures of Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Spain and Viet Nam integrated our already culturally diverse student body. Our world was made smaller by their interactions and lasting friendships were created country to country.

Foreign exchange students are not excluded from participation in any school activities, clubs and sports. Each new foreign student is assigned an “Ambassador”, an immediate friend, who will show them around, introduce them to other students and teachers and stay by their side as their Sequoia School experience begins.

Students who are seniors and would like to receive a Sequoia High School Diploma must meet specific State of Arizona and Sequoia Secondary requirements. These students must arrive at the beginning of the fall semester and attend for two full semesters. Academic counselors will be happy to review transcripts and make sure that students are on track.

If you are interested in being a part of this great school program, please join us. We invite you to be a part of our family.

Paula M. Bynum, DSO
Ohana Project Director