The orientation in Pomfret was an unforgettable experience. In three days, I have some wonderful memories of my time with so many different people from around the world. I made friends with Germans, Austrians, Croatians, Bulgarians, Swedish, Moldovans, Vietnamese, Hungarians, Slovakians, Spaniards, Lithuanians, Polish, Palestinians, Somalilanders, Chinese and Italians (just to name a few!) I also became very close with the 6 other Aussies: Laura, Alana, Jade, Will, Alex and Eamonn who are an amazing bunch of people. It was incredibly sad on the last day, leaving behind all of those new friendships, however I’m sure I’ll see some of them in the future, when we visit each other’s countries!
On the first day, we all met each other in the dining hall. Mr Stanley gave his first speech. It was about being prompt! We learnt that in the US, people value being prompt and it is considered rude to be late! For most of the day, we stayed outside getting to know each other through activities. For lunch, we had a family style meal, where we had allocated seating. In the afternoon, we had a soccer game- Germany against the World (because half of the scholars are German!) And we ended up tying, a good result for everyone 🙂
We spent the whole of the second day in Boston. In the morning, we split up into groups and went on the Freedom Trail Tour around Boston city. We followed a 2.5 mile red brick-lined path through many historical sights. Our tour guide was very engaging- he told us all about the major events that occurred in Boston, including the Boston massacre. After the tour, we were given a little under two hours to get lunch at Quincy Market and go shopping! This was when I discovered how great shopping is in America! Next stop was Harvard University. We had another interesting tour around the campus where I learnt that the famous statue of John Harvard actually isn’t John Harvard! Turns out they lost all photos of Harvard in a fire, so they used Sherman Hoar as a model instead! After the tour, the scholars went to ‘the Coop’ and stocked up on Harvard merchandise. We got back to the Pomfret School in time for dinner and spent most of the night practicing for the Traditions of our Cultures evening.
The last day was spent mainly in the classroom. We learnt about expectations of American schools, host families, how to cope with stress and life after the ASSIST year. After our classes, we had an ASSIST photo, then photos with scholars from our own countries. Then it was the Traditions of our Cultures show. Each country did a performance that reflected their culture in some way. The Australians sung a mix of popular Aussie songs (‘Give me a home among the gum trees’, ‘down under’, ‘scar’ and ‘nosebleed section’) with Eamonn on the piano and Will on the saxophone. It was an awesome night that everyone really enjoyed! ASSIST’s class of 2013/14 are a very talented bunch of people! At the end of the performances, we all hugged, took pictures and said farewell to each other.
Thank you to everyone for making those three days as amazing as they were, and thanks also to the fantastic staff who made it all happen for us.