Hilltown Snowmobile Club Welcomes Exchange Students (by Missy Rustemeyer)
Published on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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The Hilltown Snowmobile Club entertained twenty students from Mexico last February during the club’s Winter Day Activities held at Peppermint Park Resort in Plainfield. The visitors were part of an exchange program between Sanderson Academy and Escuela Lomas Altas in Mexico, a private bilingual school located in Mexico City. It was the 39th year of the educational exchange. The boys and girls were exposed to completely different life styles, as Ashfield and Plainfield are rural farm communities with provincial New England touches, while Mexico City is an urban area with Latin and European influences.

Exchange students from Mexico try cross-country skiing at Peppermint Park.

A great experience for the students and parents alike is the lesson learned in human relations. Our children and parents, as well as the Lomas Altas children and parents, have discovered that even though there are multiple differences, people are basically the same, with same fundamental emotional needs and fears. American and Mexican children can get homesick and can get frightened by new situations. American and Mexican parents worry about their children-will they be all right, will they get along? The host parents, American and Mexican alike, worry about their “adopted” children and are all anxious to make them feel at home and happy.

Rare souvenir from the north: Mike Dufresne poses with the Mexican chaperone Miss Sylvia on his sled.

For many of the children, the visit to Massachusetts was their first experience away from home without their families. Playing in the snow was a new experience and snowmobiles were something they had never even seen before! The excitement level was high. The day also featured horse drawn hayrides, cross-country skiing and shoe shoeing. Kudos to the club for their role in international relations.

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