Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Exchange Students Meet with Principal

Oct. 11, 2017 -- Heights High principal Dr. Brian Williams recently met with nine of the school’s ten AFS foreign exchange students.

The lunch meeting included an American favorite - pizza.

“It’s important to welcome our AFS students and thank them for sharing their culture and perspective with us,” he said. “I wanted them to know that they are a valuable part of our school community."

The meeting took place in a school conference room and included an American favorite - pizza.

“I also told the students that I admire them for their courage and leadership,” he continued. “I know that going to another county can be stressful at first, but so rewarding,’

He asked them about their adjustment to their new school and host families and about their experiences since arriving in August.

The students talked about being grateful for this experience, about their kind host families and a few said that Heights High looks like a castle. One student had recently visited Chicago with his host family and loved seeing another American city.

As a world traveler and learner, Dr. Williams understands the joy, challenges and learning that happens when people open themselves to a new culture and experience.

Much of his travel has been to visit schools, meet teachers, school leaders and students. He travels with a mission to learn.

He has traveled to six countries and visited nearly forty schools as an adult learner, Argentina, South Korea, England, China, South Africa and to Brazil as a J. William Fulbright Award-Winning Principal Recipient.

He has traveled independently to Mexico, France, Italy and Vatican City, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Canada.

As the leader of the Options Program, he formed the Global Ambassadors student group and led the students on a trip to England and South Africa the two years before he come to Heights High.

“One of the things that I have learned from my travels, is that when we venture beyond our comfort zones and travel internationally, we gain confidence. Part of that is because we make human connections and see that people are the same all over the world,” he said. “We all want a home, an education and we are all concerned about the same basic things.”

The AFS student foreign exchange program has been active at Heights High for nearly 60 years. The exchange students are hosted by Heights High families and Heights High students go abroad with AFS for a semester, summer or school year.

For information about hosting a student or becoming an exchange student and traveling to another country, contact local AFS representative Carla Bailey.

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