People skills, confidence and a new-found love of dance were just some of the things Caitlin Nicholson got out of her Secondary School Exchange
Caitlin Nicholson travelled from Langley School, Norfolk to Culver Academy, Indiana for her Secondary School Exchange.
‘I thought it would be quite hard to go in as a new senior when everyone else had already been there for four years, but in fact it was so easy to make friends. At Langley, we tended to stick just with our friends but at Culver, everybody wanted to talk to you. Walking around campus, everyone would say hello, even if they’d never seen you before, so I had no choice but to do likewise. And I found that because I had to introduce myself and because I had to live with people, I gained so many people skills and my confidence really grew.
I’d just finished my A levels in psychology, philosophy and ethics, and sport but I didn’t know what to do at university which is why I wanted to take a gap year. I took AP psychology to learn things from an American perspective, alongside subjects that I’d never done before. I’ve never been a dancer, but I took a dance class and it was just so much fun. Photography as well. And then things like entrepreneurship and political economics, which I would never have thought I’d enjoy but which actually turned out to be really interesting and something that I’d want to study. It helped me clarify what I want to do and now I’m going to Loughborough to study sports psychology.
My other real highlight was the spring break trip which Culver organised. About 15 of us went hiking and exploring in California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. We went to the desert, and we hiked down the Grand Canyon, which if I’d travelled with friends, is not something we would have thought about doing. We also went to Vegas, which had never really appealed to me but because we went in a big group was really fun to experience. I’m just so grateful for all of it.’