Semester in Chile Helps Student to Break Down Borders

Isabela returned from her semester in Chile!

Summer Epps

Isabela returned from her semester in Chile!

Established in 2004, the Alzar School is an outdoor semester-school for high school students. In Spanish, the word “Alzar” is a verb that means “to rise” or “to elevate.” The school is dedicated to creating leaders in our generation who will one day change the world.

Students start the semester in Idaho, participating in outdoor activities like kayaking and backpacking in order to facilitate learning about leadership. For six weeks, the students travel through Chile, staying with host families, camping, or renting cabanas by the beach. They become completely immersed in the culture by speaking Spanish, interacting with the Chilean people and shopping in Chilean markets.

Sophomore Isabela Dobbs spent last semester studying at Alzar. “It was really challenging, between learning how to live alone and being completely separated from pop culture,” said Dobbs. “But the new things I experienced and the activities I participated in made it worthwhile.”

After leaving the school, students must organize their own CLP, or Culminating Leadership Project. Dobbs’ project is a mentor-mentee program through Agape called “Breaking Down Borders.” The mission is to create relationships between kids with the hopes that it will tear down the boundary caused by different socioeconomic neighborhoods in Atlanta.

Dobb’s program needs volunteers in order for it to be effective. It will take place during the next school year and every volunteer will be a mentor to a specific child. Anyone can participate and should talk to Dobbs if they are interested in earning community service hours.

If you are interested in attending the Alzar School, Dobbs said it’s something you should pursue. “Just take your shot and go for it,” she said. “I keep looking back at the videos and thinking about how it was a once in a lifetime chance.”

Spend the next semester doing the run of the mill or spend it seeing the world. The Alzar School could be your pathway to your most exciting school semester ever.