Impressions from across the pond

Courtesy+of+Melinda+Smith
Courtesy of Melinda Smith

Courtesy of Melinda Smith

Hannah Ni'Shuilleabhain

Hannah Ni'Shuilleabhain

Courtesy of Melinda Smith

Journalism I, Period 5

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This year’s British delegation from Ursuline High School in Wimbledon, England brought 21 students and three faculty chaperones to Dallas for ten exciting days.

In addition to visiting classes with their host sisters, the Wimbledon girls went on excursions to places such as the Sixth Floor Museum, the Bush Library, the State Fair, Cowboys Stadium, and the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Toward the end of their stay, the English girls sat down with their American sisters in one of the Journalism I classes where each guest was paired with a Dallas student to get a more individual view of her thoughts.

Overall, the girls loved trying new things in America, including a general enthusiasm for the fried food at the State Fair. They enjoyed visiting the school here, which they said was more spread out and had much smaller class sizes than the Ursuline in Wimbledon. All agree that although our cultural practices may be different, it’s global relations like this that help bring our two schools together.

Niamh Moss said one thing that surprised her was how big our meal servings are in the US, because in Britain they’re definitely smaller. She was also confused by the American stereotypes of British people, and told us that they all don’t drink tea and love the queen.

Some girls talked about their expectations of Dallas, including Laura Alfe who said her initial conception was that Dallas would be basically a desert. She said she thought there would just be sand everywhere, but obviously her expectations were proven very wrong. She also said she was surprised by the amount of fast food in America.

Ciara Lucas said that although there are many differences between England and the U.S., television is one universal pastime. “Most of the things we watch are American,” she remarked. She said that the state fair and Jesuit football games were some of her favorite parts of her visit, but homecoming was the best experience during her time in Dallas. Before the day of the big dance, Ciara was excited, saying that “there’s nothing quite like it in the U.K.” As her time here ended, she said that she was sad to be leaving and that she had a great time as a temporary Texan!

Lillie Langford said our eating habits are quite different. While the cuisine she experienced while she was here was enjoyable for her, she exclaimed, “Your portion sizing is quite huge compared to ours!” Lillie was excited that she had could experience the Texas State Fair on one of her first days in Dallas. She said that one of her favorite parts of the fair was funnel cake, which she hadn’t had before. She giggled at some of the stereotypes of British people, saying, “We don’t all have afternoon tea every day!” She also said that everyone here in Dallas was very friendly and welcoming, both Ursuline girls and even complete strangers. She said that, overall, Texas had been incredibly fun.

How do you spend your week-end was an often asked question and the responses were interesting.
Like many of the girls, Emily Conrad spends her time on the weekends with friends. After school, she makes her way over to their brother school or goes to a friend’s house for a sleepover. In Texas, she enjoyed visiting the state fair and getting frozen yogurt, with her host family.

On the week-end Isabelle “Izzy” Moore either spends time with her dad, on the country side, or with her mom in the city, where she works at her park’s café. When asked what was the main difference between Ursuline Dallas and Ursuline Wimbledon, she said that the class sizes were much smaller here, which offered more intimacy, which she preferred to larger class size.

Niamh Laing had an opportunity to visit the Dallas Symphony Orchestra which she said she really enjoyed since she is in the orchestra at Ursuline Wimbledon. Saying that she also really enjoyed the Texas State Fair and trying the delicious chocolate covered bacon, she also noted that Dallas is more spread out and there are more people driving than there are in England.

Visiting the Dallas Arts District since she is really interested in art was a favourite of Karina Alvares. She also mentioned that Six Flags, Sprinkles Cupcakes, the Sixth Floor Museum, the Bush Library, Cowboys Stadium and the stockyards were very memorable.

Eivile Klingaite said that she had been anxiously awaiting an opportunity for this exchange, as her older sister took the trip six years prior. Amongst stadium tours, shopping trips, and endless amounts of driving, one aspect of Texas shocked her the most: “How much [we] love to fry things!” While in Texas, Eivile got the chance to visit the state fair, where she tried chocolate covered bacon; “It was very weird,” she said. “I would try it again, I guess.”

After spending your life in a city full of rapid public transit and places actually within walking distance, the Texan lifestyle can be a bit shocking. Martha Robinson spoke about how much time we spend in the car, recalling how she and her host sister drove from one side of a shopping center to another, rather than just walking. Martha decided to apply for the exchange for two major reasons: her amazing time hosting an Ursuline Dallas student a few weeks prior, and her intrigue with the American lifestyle as expressed within popular movies. The biggest difference between the two Ursuline schools, that she noticed, was the attitudes within the classrooms. “The teachers are nicer, you all are better behaved here.”

India McDowell was very excited for an opportunity to visit America, as it’s not such an easily organized vacation. While in town, India went on a private tour of the famous Cowboy’s stadium, spent a day at the State Fair of Texas, and got to try a couple of Texas favorites, like Chik-fil-a and Pei Wei, although her favorite food of all was a funnel cake from the fair.

When Abbie Mihalic interviewed sophomore Stephanie Colairo, she was thrilled to discover that they both have pet Bichon Frise dogs. Stephanie’s dog is named Louis after Louisiana, and she confessed to a slight obsession with America. She has a big family that seems to get together every weekend to celebrate someone’s birthday or anniversary. Stephanie also loves to travel and her pet peeve is getting sand in her swimsuit at the beach.

“Cowboys!” said sophomore Hannah Kapfunde when asked what comes to mind when she thinks of Texas. Hannah said she loved the deep-fried delicacies at the State Fair, but missed the two dishes special to the UK, fish and chips and bangers and mash which she said was a plate of sausage and mashed potatoes. Hannah has two younger brothers and, given the chance to travel to anywhere in the world, would escape to a Caribbean beach.

When asked about their favorite things in Dallas, the first thing Naomi Sullivan and Sofia Tohux-Baratto mentioned was food! Not only did they enjoy the fried state fair food, the common favorite of these two girls was fried cookie dough, but they also agreed that traditional Texas BBQ was another favorite. They said Texas bbq reminded them of summer picnics in England which did not happen very often because sunny weather is rare there and most girls carry umbrellas all the time. If they don’t, she explained with a laugh, they just put bags on their heads if it rains.”

Olivia Rees and Sarah Berrevoets changed the pace a little as they talked about things they enjoyed at home in Wimbledon. Olivia said she absolutely loves ice skating, and she is actively involved in Girl Scouts. She is already thinking ahead to her days at college and wants to study British literature. Sarah‘s favorite sport is cycling. She, too, is a Girl Scout and proudly claims math to be her “strong suit.”

Jessica Ponchi-Pacheco said one of the best parts of Dallas is the food. She was lucky enough to eat at Chick-ril-a and experience the famous fried food ot Texas. Even the food in Haggar was good, she said.

Mary- Kate Mcloughlin said that shopping was one of her favorite things to do in London on the week-ends with friends. She loved being able to go to Northpark and the Galleria and to do something that was new, but familiar at the same time.

Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick Spacey, junior, commented on how different travel was in the two countries. She said that she takes a 45-minute walk to school, then takes public transportation home. Lonalisa Okwera, a sophomore, said how she celebrates Halloween by carrying a pumpkin. She said they don’t go out trick-or-treating unless you are a child in your neighbourhood. Kaitlyn, however, said most people went to one of the many scary mazes around town.

As the visit drew to a close and promises were made to stay in touch, host students and their families exchanged good byes with British students and teachers, all grateful for the many memories each had made.

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Impressions from across the pond”

  1. Karina Alvares on November 24th, 2016 8:32 AM

    Ahh! This brought back memories! Thank you so much for such a great trip! This was truly an unforgettable time.

    [Reply]

  2. jessica panchi on November 24th, 2016 1:43 PM

    this is such a great article! visiting america was so exciting

    [Reply]

  3. olivia on November 24th, 2016 1:52 PM

    Thank you so much Ursuline Academy for having us! It was an experience I will never forget. Your school was so welcoming and I enjoyed every minute of my stay. I’m happy to say I keep in contact with a lot of the girls I met and I hope to see them again in summer.

    [Reply]

  4. Stephanie Colairo on November 25th, 2016 5:51 AM

    My trip to Dallas was a trip that I will never forget because of the wonderful experiences that we had and the life-long friendships that I made. Thank you all so much for making me feel so welcomed into the community and for teaching me about your culture. It was fantastic!

    [Reply]

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