Orientation in Pomfret

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!

This blog is a way for me to remember the great times I’ve had this year, so this is what I did for the three days in Pomfret:

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.





Hi everybody! It’s already been 10 days since I left home and got on the plane headed to Boston, and lots of things have happened during this time.

Sin títuloOn my way, I met some of the ASSIST scholars and we joined the rest of them in Pomfret, CT, where the Orientation was held. During 4 days, 161 students from all over the world got to know each other and shared new experiences together – it was almost magic. It wasn’t much time, but we took advantage of all of it: we visited Boston and “Hahvahd”, made a human chair, played our own world soccer championship, knew the traditions of different cultures, learned some useful tips for our year in the US and meanwhile, made tons of new friends!! Some of them we might never see again but, despite knowing Facebook’s the devil, I hope to keep in touch with all of them by Facebook 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday arrived, and after four amazing days we had to say goodbye to our new friends. Some were lucky and reached their destinations in a few hours, but as you know I had to go to Utah, and that meant 3 flights, 18 hours of travelling and hoping my suitcases wouldn’t get lost. Finally I arrived, and although it was late in the night, my host family already made me feel like home (as you can imagine at this point first night questions were rather useless, and they turned out to be first-well-rested day questions). 

Next morning I could see better where I was, and to my surprise the landscape was pretty much like the area I live in – dry lands surrounded by mountains. However, this was the only similar thing, because everything else was completely different, just like in films! 

These last days have been great. My new family is so nice and with them I’ve visited my school and Salt Lake City; I’ve attended for the first time a talent show thanks to my host sister and her cousins who participated (and won!); I’ve been to the Aquarium and  I’ve seen The Mortal Instruments movie which I’d been looking forward to. Definitely, it seems like this is going to be an amazing year!

Andrea =)

“Time comes slowly, time goes fast…”

“Time will come, time will go

Time shall reap, that time has sown

Time comes slowly, time goes fast

Time will linger, time outlasts

Time sees all, time knows best

Time remembers, time never forgets

Time will hide, time will reveal

Time will open, time will seal

Time brings hope, time brings fear

Time brings distance, time draws near

Time will help, time will hinder

Time will shine, time turns to cinder

We forget about time, yet it’s all we would know

In time, there is everything, and time will show.”

Nate Hawk


Slowly but also quickly passed the four-day-orientation in Pomfret.



“Time comes slowly…”

Time came slowly when we waited for others to arrive and decided to take a walk in the middle of the lovely forest that seemed to stretch into eternity.

Time came slowly when thirteen-hour difference between Hanoi and Pomfret tired me to the point of insomnia.

But time seemed to stop when scholars of twenty-two countries held hands and danced their heart out at the Tradition of Our Culture night. Students from all over the globe, each has their own background and belief, yet at that moment and forever on, all shared the same passion, the same love and the same yearning for a bright future. Hands held hands. Hearts beat the same heartbeat. The feeling was so overwhelming and heartwarming that it went straight into my heart and there it will continue to stay forever…

“time goes fast…”

Time went fast inside the car that took the very first arrived scholars from the airport to the beautiful Pomfret school.

Time went fast when we joyfully and vigorously ran back and forth between school buildings in order to be on time.

But time raced when we spent our last night at Pomfret. Although we all had to get up early the next morning for departure, we tried to stay up longer to talk even just a little more with our friends whom we might not be able to see in years. The fun we had seemed to call upon the sun, and so the morning came when there were still so many things to say and so many feelings to share…

Time goes by, my heart stays.

A reflection of the Orientation

Hi fellow ASSIST scholars,

First of all I want to thank every one of you for the amazing Orientation – and the fact that we all did it to such a memorable event. As many have commented and described in the ASSIST Facebook group, I personally thought that it was one of the best moments in my entire life. Although, now when it is over, I feel that it could have been a bit longer. There were many people that could have become great friends, only if we had a bit more time. Even so – when I left Pomfret School to the airport I felt that I was very sad. It was peculiar though, since I was not really longing for my parents or friends at home. I knew that I would meet them once again when I come back to Sweden. The reason of my sadness was that I was leaving Pomfret School, and with it an almost nonexistent chance of meeting the ASSIST scholars of 2012-2013 ever again. In other words, I was not home sick – but ASSIST community sick.

As I scrolled through the messages on Facebook today I did however notice that people were feeling the same thing as me. It was great. It showed that people cared a lot of this past event, and that there were people wanting to meet once again after this exchange year (which of course did not surprise me, but the confirmation was a great relief!).

Therefore I would like to summon all of us sometime after this year. Maybe before we go home to our respective countries? The logistics is the problem and we will have to see what everybody wants to do. However I am very open to these kinds of ideas and would love to further pursue a meeting or doing something fun together.

Good luck to you all in your different places all over America and all the best from Indian Springs School, AL.

Alexander H.

The orientation

Orientation. The beginning of everything. The time everyone had been waiting for. I can tell you one thing: it was worth waiting.

Since I had stayed in Boston with my parents, they decided to drive me there, spending the last hours together. I won’t be able to say anything about the flight, airport and bus drive that day, but I vividly remember dinner, seeing the dorm, meeting the roommates arriving at 1 am. I didn’t really see people that evening… I was highly confused and not able to actually communicate; at least that’s what it felt like.

The next day was great – full of plays. We had to form circles in various orders – not one of them would have been acceptable in a Maths class (we would have been better in forming a rectangle I guess). We ate, had some introductory “classes” and, I believe, really enjoyed ourselves.

The next day had been awaited even more eagerly: it was Boston time. We had a tour through Harvard and Boston, and learnt a lot about American history. Between those tours we had the possibility to shop in Cambridge, MA (not to be mistaken with Cambridge, UK 😉 ) and at Quincy Market, which is impressing (crowded…). After that, we had free time, about which everyone was really happy.

The next day was filled with seven sessions about various topics. All of them were really interesting, but at some point I couldn’t help getting tired… They really helped though! That day was pretty much all planned. Sessions, pictures, barbecue and traditions of our cultures show, which was amazing! I was impressed by all those different ideas and ways to realize them!!

The next day was already departure day! We just didn’t have enough time. I would have loved to spend some more days with the people I had met and become friends with…

Some had to wake up at 4 in the morning in order to catch their bus and it was a lot of stress… I was lucky only to have to wake up at 6:30! We had to get to Boston, hop on a plane to Atlanta, wait there and get the next plane to Fort Wayne. It was going too well to be true… The co-pilot didn’t show up on time and caused a delay of 1 hour. At least we safely landed in Fort Wayne International Airport!

Pictures will probably follow soon 🙂


Traditions of our Cultures

The final evening in Pomfret School is all about traditions. It is considered the most exciting event of the orientation. Here’s why…