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SYA: Learners Without Borders

Deerfield’s School Year Abroad program will send a total of nine students overseas for the 2011-2012 school year.

According to Associate Academic Dean and SYA coordinator Lydia Hemphill, it was “an unprecedented year for applications.”

Victoria Buckman ’13, Abby Cacho ’13, and Flora Donovan ’12 will spend the year in France; Ashley Cortez ’13, Chris Hamlin ’12, Elizabeth Perez ’13, Lazel Pineda ’13, and Sabrina Zaldana ’13 are going to live in Spain; Katya Yudin ’12 will experience her senior year in China.

A total-immersion experience, SYA sends students to foreign countries and enrolls them in a local high school while they live with a host family for the duration of the school year.

Ms. Hemphill believes that students are interested in participating in the SYA program because they “have more independence than at Deerfield and achieve various degrees of fluency by the time they come home.” She also feels that creating SYA alumni allows for “a more international student body at Deerfield.”

The language department supports the SYA program for the same reasons. The opportunity for practical application of a language enhances both oral skills and general comprehension.

Cacho explained, “I wanted to go to SYA because it would give me a global perspective. By going to France, I’m allowing myself to experience life from another point of view.

“Taking a year away from everything is a big risk and a scary one,” she continued, “but it allows me to learn a lot about myself as a person and grow significantly.”

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