Winchester College student Alex Cheung visited GFS in October along with three others. This article was published in the Winchester College publication.
The average American man consumes 2640 calories per day. Within twenty-four hours of arriving, the four Wykehamists who travelled to Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia managed to put this statistic to shame with the assistance of the fabled Philly Cheesesteak and its colleague, the donut. Aside from succumbing to the culinary temptations, George Berry, Henry Websdale, Alex Cheung and George Tall enjoyed both a culturally and educationally enriching exchange over the Half Term Break.
The first couple days were about settling in and becoming familiar with the city of Philadelphia. We were fortunate enough to watch two of our amazing hosts place in the top ten of their respective races at the State Cross Country Meet. Similar to the races, the rest of the trip was at a very high pace. During the first weekend, we journeyed to New York, where we visited the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the new World Trade Centre. Some of us felt so comfortable in New York that we feel that it is now our hometown. The trip to MOMA instilled in us a true appreciation for art. Consequently, we ended up visiting five museums over the space of four days, including the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the National Gallery in Washington D.C. After this cultural marathon, I don’t think the four of us will be seen in a museum for a little while.
After experiencing lessons at GFS for a few days, we were struck by the informal student-teacher dynamic; students addressed their teachers by their first names. However, this casual relationship was conducive towards a more comfortable atmosphere and did not mar the pupils’ intellectual curiosity and rigour. During our free periods (bookies), we were able to share experiences of Winchester with others while at the same time grasp the lifestyle of an American high school student.
Ten amazing days went by too quickly. None of us were ready to leave GFS and travel back across the pond, but as it turned out, Philadelphia wasn’t ready to let us go either. US Airways, after an exceptionally long wait, decided to delay our flight by one day. We once again roamed the streets of Philadelphia and continued to capitalise on any opportunity to eat.
Unfortunately that night, the dream really did end. The four of us are all in agreement that this was by far the best holiday in our Winchester College careers and it would not have been possible without Dr Webster, our wonderful hosts and the entire GFS community. We hope to be back in Philadelphia soon.