Colegio Seminario - The Bear Creek School (Seattle-Usa)
Colegio Seminario - The Overlake School (Seattle-Usa)

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To: 4th and 5th grade high school students that have certified a B2 level of English.
Length of exchange: Approximately 1 month in January.
Destination: Redmond city, Washington state (west coast), United States.


  • 3 weeks (approximately) of total immersion, being hosted by an American family and attending classes.
  • Activities: ski day, visits to the city of Seattle, basketball match at school, homecoming formal dance. (It’s important to take into account that the activities are subject to changes and could vary for many reasons, e.g.: weather conditions).

Host schools:
The Bear Creek School. Christian school. (
The Overlake School. Secular school. (


  1. To have an Exchange educational experience abroad, sharing everyday life with a local family and taking part in school life.
  2. To improve their command of the English language and level of English.
  3. To get to know new places and cultures.



The exchange program to Seattle was definitely a trip to remember. From all aspects, something new was learnt and appreciated. Social cues, education models, ways of spending time, the food, religious attitudes; although there were similarities, there were also many things that weren't similar to the way Uruguayans do it.
From what I figured out, Americans tend to be more open to outsiders, not "outsiders" only as in foreigners, but as strangers too, accepting them more easily. Nevertheless,  personal matters are not spoken as often as Uruguayans do.
The education model there was particularly different. From a superficial standpoint, each class was of only one subject, with the students having to move around after each period, contrary to Uruguayan classes where, generally speaking, one class is of only one group, and teachers are the ones moving around. In a deeper layer, the model is more accepting of students who do not excel as much as others, allowing them to be on a less-advanced class than others who do excel (there still is a limit to the lowest class one can be in). One example is maths class, which consists of several levels (Calculus 2, Calculus 1, pre-Calculus, Algebra, pre-Algebra, in no particular order). Furthermore, America is still a fertile place for technicians to live a comfortable life, as it is highly possible to achieve a high social-economic stratum, meaning a college title is not strictly necessary.
I cannot affirm my experience of how time was spent there to be true, since we experienced a specific American style of spending time commonly related to higher social classes. But still. Parties are really really different, finishing and ending much earlier, somewhere from 9 to 11-12 pm. All music is pop and electro, good for breakdancing. There were actual breakdancing battles! Afterparties depend on each group of friends, but in my case, were just about hanging around at somebody's house, lightly eating, playing board or card games, watching a movie; in others words, blowing off steam.
One thing of the eating habits really amused me, and it was that plenty of students went to classes with water thermoses, something which I never saw here in Seminario, at least in that amount and regularity. There is so much food at the grocery stores, which really is not that weird if we take America's population. There are no quioscos or small stores if you ignore those found in gas stations, and all brands are well-known, with no cheaper Brazilian-type imports. Also, contrary to the American stereotype of fat guys, people are really average in their weight, and many carry out several sports activities. I may be mistaken though; I've been told by those who live in Seattle that their homecity is "sort of hipster-ish, with our clothing and food we eat".
America is a mixed bag when talking about religious affiliations. One thing is common nonetheless: when an American believes in something, he sticks to it and will not let go. Atheists, Catholics, Christians, they will all strongly defend their beliefs. In Seattle, the predominant religion is the Protestant branch of Christianism, with several independent churches. One thing I noticed with Protestants is that they really study what they believe and always investigate and analyze and pray, sometimes with others, before coming to a conclusion about a religious claim.

Francisco Rizzo

The exchange program experience had a great impact on myself, not only opened my mind and made me see the world from a different and new perspective but also helped me on my personal growth. From the cultural point of view, I was able to see that families there are not so different from ours; as our families do, they really enjoy spending time together, however they give more importance and appreciate more the activities they do together. In the case of my host family, they usually tried to find a moment to get out of the routine and talk about how their day was. After this experience I personally believe that sometimes we do not realize how special is to spend time with our family. Moreover, I found that their society works different from ours; even though everyone is very busy and concerned about their problems, people is aware of what the person next to them needs. I think that we should take this as an example of how our society should work, if everyone worried about the other and not only themselves, our society could work better.
Besides, from the personal point of view, this program helped me overcoming my own challenges and fears, and also I could improve my English skills. I feel very strongly that this experience was very rewarding and positive in every aspect.

Florencia Caro

My trip to Seattle was an unforgettable experience. I had a really good time with my host family, which made me feel like I was back home, they took me to visit every popular place in Seattle and Redmond, even the outstanding flight museum. Patrick, which was my host brother, was a very friendly guy who I shared the ambition of becoming an engineer, allowing us to have lots of things to talk about even though we were living in two separated hemispheres.
Overlake had no more than 75 students per grade but still had a huge campus, you could waste your hole brake time by moving to one building to another. I found all the teachers very helpful and friendly and I could notice they loved teaching.
I cherished the activities which were planned beforehand. We went to every tourist place in Seattle, one being the Melinda Gates Foundation, whose objective is to find new ways of eradicating poverty and finding easier ways of giving water or food to those that don´t have access to it, which taught me lots of new things. One of the activities which I enjoyed most was skiing. As many of the Uruguayans, this was my first time in that sport, but only after falling more than six times I finally became good at it and it started to be one of my favorite sports.
Something that caught my eye was the variety of food, we had everything from Mexican food to Japanese. Needless to say that I had enjoyed every single food I tried.
This exchange helped in a outstanding way in improving my level of English, also it was good to get to know an American culture which differed from most of the stereotypes of that country. Moreover, I made friends not only with the Uruguayans of the group but also some Americans from Overlake and Bearcreek.
If I were asked to go back, I would not think it twice.
It was a pleasure to be part of this experience.

Valentín Vanerio

The experience of the 2016 exchange program was one of the most challenging and wonderful things I have ever done in my life. At the beginning I felt a bit nervous but then when I met my host family all those feelings dissapeared. They were amazing with me and did everything to make me feel like home.
I went to school each moring at 7.30 a.m and sometimes we did small trips to Seattle to do some tourism. I was a student at Overlake school. The school itself is a very nice campus and I had the chance to met amazing people. As my hosting sister didn´t assist to that school they asigned me one person at Overlake that guided me among the institution. Classes are so different in comparison with Uruguay! It´s incredible to see the differences and share them with the students in RedMond. Its an experience I would reccomend to everyone due to the fact that is very useful for your english and you get to live a completely different culture.

Paula Bachino

Courtesy of Juan Martín González


24 Mayo 2016



Acerca del Colegio

El Colegio Seminario forma parte de la red de instituciones educativas católicas de la Compañía de Jesús (Jesuitas), presente en 127 países. Inspirado en la Iglesia y los valores del Evangelio, el Seminario procura una educación según la visión que la espiritualidad ignaciana ofrece de Dios, la persona y el mundo.



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