GAIL Exchange to Kimball Union Academy
Over the summer holidays, I had the privilege of being the first GAIL exchange student from Kristin to experience life at Kimball Union Academy (KUA) in America. Founded in 1813, KUA’s thirteen hundred acre campus is tucked away in a rural city in New Hampshire. 325 students, including Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, attend KUA as either a boarder or a day student.
Over my two months I experienced so many new things that was everyday lifestyle for KUA’s students. The sun setting around 4 o’clock, Snow during the Christmas season, no school uniform, living in a dormitory, classes on a Saturday and the brutal temperature of -18 degrees.
My average school day included waking up in Kilton dorm, eating breakfast in the cafeteria and attending my interesting classes such as constitutional law, ceramics, US history and anthropology. Classes ended at 12, enabling students to each lunch then participate in their after school sport or activity.
I chose to be part of the recreational ski team and I would head to the mountains most days, making it home just in time to support the KUA Wildcats at a varsity basketball or ice hockey game. This was one of my highlights, as the ice hockey games atmospheres were full of loud cheering and chanting. After the evening's exciting events, students have a compulsory study session from 8pm-10pm, with lights out at 11.30pm.
During the winter break I lived a vibrant life of a New Yorker, with my host sister Kelsey in her home in Manhattan. I visited so many beautiful monuments and museums, along with a road trip to Washington DC.
The thing that stood out for me at KUA was their tight knit community. I really admired how age wasn’t a dividing factor, as all grades would interact during meals and downtime, even including faculty members. Each dormitory had faculty parents who were not only teachers, but also mentors and friends that were invested in all aspects of students life.
Another thing I loved about KUA was its diversity. The boarding facilities enabled students to attend from all over the world. Not only did I meeting students from numerous American states, but I also have made friends to visit in Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Canada.
I would encourage any Kristin student to take up an opportunity to step away from the familiar and experience something new like an exchange. This experience will be with me forever.
By Lily Wigglesworth