Students have the opportunity to travel with Bitney. If a student is in their third or higher year of studying Spanish, they are eligible to travel with a school group during spring break every other year to a Spanish-speaking country. The country chosen is based on interest. Past trips have included Mexico, Spain, Peru and Costa Rica. We travel through a licensed travel company, such as EF Tours or Worldstrides. This trip is voluntary, and students pay for this themselves.
Study abroad is an option available to all Bitney students. There are a few different ways to go about it. There are many foreign exchange programs available to students. Bitney students have used Cultural Homestay International (CHI) and AFS Intercultural Programs. Students can also design a program for themselves. However, this can be complicated and lacks the support of experienced organizations such as CHI and AFS. Here is just a sampling of what is possible:
Emia – Emia is currently a junior at Bitney, but is spending the bulk of her school year in Thailand through an organization called Yes Thailand. Emia’s first two years were great at Bitney, but she was looking to expand her worldview and round out her high school experience. What better way than to head to the far east and take her high school classes there.
Emia will be living with a host family in the Ubon Ratchathani region in northeast Thailand. She will be in a Thai school taking their courses. In order to stay on track for her diploma as well as to stay eligible and competitive for American universities, Bitney is working with Emia to complete any coursework that she will be missing in Thailand (such as U.S. History).
Indra – Indra is spending his entire junior year in Spain with a family who sent their son to Grass Valley the year prior. He is in Madrid and is having his experience through AFS. Indra, already an academically astute student–Indra’s time abroad will not only be incredibly rich culturally and socially, but he will look all that much better to universities when he goes to apply during his senior year.
Bitney is working with Indra to make sure that his Spanish courses translate correctly on his Bitney transcript.
Rosalie – Rosalie Whatley created for herself a completely home-spun experience in Costa Rica, and Bitney hosted this for her via Independent Study since, after all, this is one of the main reasons that Independent Study was “invented.” Rosalie found herself a host family through friends of hers and did not enroll in a Costa Rica high school. She completed her senior year courses via Skype, email and USPS, but then crafted a rich education that went well beyond that.
Rosalie taught English at an orphanage, earned her Yoga teacher certification, started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), founded a recycling program in her village, all the while keeping up on English 12, Government, Economics and a few other classes that she still needed to graduate. After earning her Bitney diploma, Rosalie took a gap year and then attended Prescott College in Arizona.
Shona – Shona was not in a foreign exchange/study abroad program per se, but she spent the semester with Bitney’s sister program, Finding The Good. Finding The Good is a program designed to effect actual change in the world through preparation for a 6 week journey in Mexico, journaling the experience the entire time to culminate in a movie about the experience. Of course, coming back from a life-transformational experience such as this was not easy, and so Shona’s stateside program was also unique, combing interning with FTG along with her senior year classes at Bitney. Shona also attended Prescott College after Bitney.
Foreign Exchange students – In addition to sending students abroad, Bitney also hosts students from across the world who are staying with a family here in the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. We have had students from Japan, Russia, Spain and Italy.
Please contact Dave Peterson, Dean, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.