One of the goals of the Houston Academy for International Studies (HAIS) is to develop cultural awareness in students that will make them empathetic, informed citizens of the world. HAIS students have had a busy year, traveling far and wide to practice their linguistic skills and become better global citizens.
Senior Amy Vina, junior Lester Rodriguez, and recent graduate Angel Garcia visited Leipizig, Germany, on a partial scholarship to live with students from the HAIS exchange school, Deutsche Samstaggschule (Germany Saturday School). In association with Houston Sister City Leipizig, they spent two weeks honing their German-speaking skills.
World geography and Model United Nations teacher Treasure Almaraz led a group of six students to Australia and New Zealand for two weeks. This was the first time HAIS students had the opportunity to travel to the land down under.
Juniors Angus Niziol and Isis Cantu spent a month in China learning about Chinese culture on a full scholarship from Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA).
After spending the previous summer in China on an APSA scholarship as well, senior Erik Herrera returned to China, thanks to a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship.
Junior Secily Jimenez also went to China on a British Petroleum (BP) AFS Global Citizens of Tomorrow scholarship. Another BP AFS Global Citizens of Tomorrow scholarship sent twins Jackie and Stephanie Delcid, who are seniors, in different directions. Jackie went to Malaysia, and Stephanie went to Brazil for a year of study.
Other HAIS students who spent last year in Brazil on BP AFS scholarships were 2013 graduate Sierra Wood, senior Jaielon Fowler, and junior Emma McHone.
Senior Luis Hernandez spent three weeks traveling through Israel as part of the Mickey Leland Kibbutzim scholarship, and senior Rainey Massei, recipient of a BP AFS scholarship, spent last year in South Africa.
In addition to traveling abroad, HAIS students attended debate camps at Dartmouth, the University of Texas, and the University of North Texas.
“Becoming a responsible global citizen means staying informed and being able to express yourself clearly, no matter where you happen to be,” noted Principal Melissa Jacobs-Thibault.