In my daughter's senior year she had a wonderful opportunity to take a trip to Spain. Being a single mom I was not able to [financially] make that happen for her. Then, my daughter's teacher sent her home with a financial aid packet that we immediately filled out. The NICE program awarded her $2000.00!! We could not believe it!
My daughter has very fond memories of her experience in Spain and lots of beautiful pictures. She stayed with a lovely family whose daughter stayed with us she visited the United States. The two girls continue to have a relationship to this day. We can't express in words how much we appreciated the gift from the NICE program, she would not have been able to experience Spain. It was the icing on the cake senior year!!
~ Mother of a scholarship recipient
“I think this type of trip has a much bigger impact than any “tourist” type trip because I was able to experience the daily lives of kids my age in Spain. Living in another family’s house where they do not speak English was very difficult and stressful at first, but it didn’t take long for me to get used to the culture shock. In fact, I even started thinking in Spanish! It was so crazy and I wasn’t used to it, but I loved it. My Spanish has improved so much because I actually got to speak Spanish in real life situations.”
~ Spain Participant
“My [host] family and I have stayed in touch and I really hope that [will] continue for life. The people I met changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the good experience that I had.”
As a Senior in high school I had the opportunity to travel and host within the NICE program. The entire experience is one I will never forget, and continues to have an impact on my everyday life.
Having the student stay with me was an amazing opportunity being that she was able to understand my everyday life and practice speaking in English. We built a strong connection in that short period of time and found it hard to say goodbye, even though we would see each other again within the next two weeks.
When I traveled to stay with her, I had a similar experience. I was able to enhance my Spanish-speaking abilities by spending a lot of time with her parents one-on-one. I adapted to her everyday schedule and compared it to how I run my own. I met amazing people and toured a lot of the country with the other students, but also with her family. I have kept in contact with the student, helping her with her English in school, and calling to keep up on each others lives. I know that I have found a friend that I will have for many years.
Without the [having received a scholarship], I would not have had this amazing experience. This was the first time I traveled out of the country and without my family, which was the perfect way to prepare myself for college. There is so much to learn from this program because it offers something that cannot be found by traveling with a company and is something that would not have been possible without the [scholarship] I received.
~ Scholarship recipient 2017
“Our family has hosted a student from Spain and two students from China. It has been an amazing experience for us. Through the exchanges we learned so much about other cultures and about our own. I recommend hosting a NICE exchange student, you will make a lifelong friend and have an experience you will never forget!”
~ The Filiato family
“The NICE exchange program has been one of the best experiences for our family at [Newtown High School]. The world is now so global, that it is imperative to experience and understand other cultures. So far we have hosted Chinese students for 4 years. It has enabled us to learn about our differences but more importantly, to learn about our similarities.
One of our [Chinese] students told us that her visit was the highlight of her high school years and that it has helped shape her dreams; she is at university in China now. Our family still stays in touch with our Chinese friends and [the experience of hosting] really helped my kids open their eyes to our diverse world.”
~ The Dubois family
“It is a truly rewarding experience to host a student from another country and then stay with that student in their country, but words cannot describe how lucky I feel that I have a lifelong friend in China because of the NICE program. I was able to travel to Liaocheng[, China] for a second time and reconnect with him because of my interest in Chinese language, which was fueled by my trip to China under the NICE program. NICE has had an immeasurable impact on my life...Thank you for providing Newtown with such an influential and life-changing program.”
~ China participant
“When I heard about the NICE program and its trip to France, I leaped for joy at this wonderful opportunity. However, upon hearing the trip’s cost, I was very worried I wouldn’t be able to participate. This scholarship has made the trip to France possible for me. I’ve fostered a close friendship with my host sister that I am very grateful for. She’s taught me so much about life in France and Le Vésinet, while also asking me about life in America. Although the trip has ended, I still remain close with my host sister. It would be true to say that what I’ve gained from this trip transcends its end. I am forever grateful for the NICE program and its scholarship for allowing me to go on a trip that has enriched me with more knowledge about language, culture, and traditions that I would normally not be able to experience in my five years worth of French class.
~ Scholarship recipient 2018
Before I traveled to India, I was fairly terrified for many reasons...When I arrived at Vatsalya Gram [in India], I felt like I never left home; my maas (mothers) treated me like one of their own and the girls at Samvid acted like we had been friends forever. I immediately felt a sense of security and safety as soon as I set foot on campus...I connected with my friends through our passion to empower ourselves and others. When I was saying goodbye to my maas, they told me, When you come visit us, you stay with us because you are a part of our family.” My trip to India has forever changed me, and I cannot wait to visit Vatsalya Gram again in the future! ~ India participant
Staying in Vatsalya-Gram, India has been the most rewarding, fruitful, and advantageous experience of my life. From learning Hindi, to working with disabled and less fortunate students, I would not trade my experience for anything. It has taught me to see the world and others in a new light. I wish that everybody could experience the love and knowledge that India provided me with.