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Exploring new culture

St. Croix Central student selected for foreign exchange program

For 15-year-old Rachel Phillips, this year's summer vacation will be like none she has ever experienced before.

The St. Croix Central sophomore is preparing to spend a month oversees - possibly in Spain or England - as a foreign exchange student.

"I want to explore new life, meet a new family and explore a new country," Phillips said. "In England, I could explore my heritage and there is so much to see there. And there is Spanish in Spain, so I could work on my Spanish and it's very tropical. I haven't decided which one to go to yet."

Phillips was selected for the trip as part of the Roberts Lion's club foreign exchange student program, which selects a student annually to make a trip abroad.

"This was the hardest year for us to select a candidate because all the girls we interviewed were great," said Sandy Goulette of the Roberts Lion's Club.

Candidates were interviewed earlier this month at St. Croix Central High School.

As the newly selected foreign exchange student, Rachel will receive $1,000 to cover her air fare and other expenses on the month long trip, which she plans to take in June.

"I'm hoping this trip might give me independence. I'll travel by myself overseas and I want to learn how to adjust to a new environment and to change," Rachel said. "I want to do it and I am excited, but I am terrified too. This will be the longest I have ever been away from my family and I've never been overseas before. I've been to Canada and Mexico before, but never to a far away country."

Rachel enjoys swimming and participating in plays when she is not doing her school work.

She said she is hoping to gain new knowledge from the trip that she can use for the remainder of her school career and later in life.

Rachel is the daughter of Frank and Susan Phillips of Roberts. She has two sisters, Cassidy, 21 and Chelsea, 14, and one brother, Ashton, 22.

The exact dates of Rachel's trip. along with her official destination will be determined once a host family is located for her.