Student Exchange to Guatemala!


By: Mila Mabhongo, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For many years, Thornton-Donovan has engaged in international exchanges with its various sister schools all over the world where we often send our Student Ambassadors on remarkable trips to represent the school. In December of 2019, London Bouhlev ‘20, Besim Mehovic ‘20, Jaylin Charan ‘21 went to Evelyn Rogers High School in Guatemala City, Guatemala. They stayed with high school students, the same students we hosted during their exchange trip to New York.

Our Student Ambassadors departed on Thursday, December 5, 2019, and arrived in Guatemala City, where their host families were excitedly waiting. Jaylin stayed with the family of Inez Mendez, London stayed with Gabriel Bermudez’s family, and Besim stayed with Fabio de la Roca’s family. They started off the trip by visiting Evelyn Rogers School, where they met with the staff and headmaster.

Jaylin described his experience saying, “The whole experience was just surreal, especially since I’ve never been out of the country. My family was so nice and generous, and I appreciated them welcoming me into their home.”

While in Guatemala, they enjoyed the beautiful landscape, waters and the warm Guatemalan weather. They got to hike up the beautiful and infamous Pacaya volcano, seeing a beautiful view of the country. They enjoyed boat ride across the Guatemala lake, where they got to see cities along the lake. During their stay, they also visited the grounds and temples of the ancient Mayan civilization in a town called Tecpan. Finally, they saw Antigua, an old capital that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption but eventually restored and turned into a famous tourist attraction. 

After an action packed two weeks, the students departed from their host families and new friends, coming back to New York on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. Jaylin, Besim and London genuinely enjoyed the trip, as it was the experience of a lifetime. Upon his arrival back home, London said, “The whole trip was amazing, everybody there was so nice.” Besim enjoyed the hospitality, saying that, “My family treated me like I was a part of their family, my host parents were even willing to take time off work to make my trip a great experience. I didn’t expect that it would go the way it did, and I would definitely recommend for everyone else to take part in these opportunities.” 

Thornton-Donovan’s ambassadorial trips are always, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience. Each student involved in these trips not only sees a different side of the world, but they are fortunate enough to forge new friendships and ties to each corner of the world. We are very glad that our students got to enjoy the beauty that is Guatemala.