Mexican Exchange

For 51 years, PMFS has participated in an intercultural exchange program with students from Colegio Williams de Cuernavaca in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Students from both schools travel with chaperones to experience life in another culture for two weeks, forging connections through similarities and differences. An elementary school exchange program is highly unusual, especially involving such a long stay in another country, and year after year PMFS Fifth Graders and their counterparts from the Williams School have met the challenge successfully.
At the beginning of the school year, Fifth Graders and their families are matched with Mexican Buddies based on family interests, hobbies, and activities. Williams School students arrive in Philadelphia in January, ready for two weeks of immersion in the lives of our families, our school, and our community. While here, they take trips with and without their PMFS buddies to introduce them to Philadelphia’s history, arts, culture, and also recreation.

In February, PMFS Fifth Graders travel with their teachers to Cuernavaca, Mexico where they are hosted by their Buddies’ families. Students go well prepared for the enriching and transformative experience, with the Fifth Grade and PMFS curriculum rich in activities about Mexican history, geography, arts, and Spanish language instruction in all grades. Fifth Graders are similarly well equipped for the social and emotional aspects of the exchange, having learned how to understand others’ and communicate their own needs. 

Life Lessons

During the Mexican Exchange program, students experience their curriculum come to life and discover the rewards of trying something new. And they return with a new self-confidence and readiness to try different experiences as well as a deeper appreciation of Mexico and its people. Our students are tomorrow’s leaders. They take an important step in the PMFS Mexican Exchange program towards a future full of grace, curiosity, and compassion. At PMFS, we are not just learning these lessons about the world; we are living them.

Powerful Journey

There is a unique power in allowing 10- and 11- year olds to take such a journey. Their growth and development during their time there is immense, as they practice: 
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Showing appreciation and kindness 
  • Managing feelings 
  • Forging connections with buddies and their Mexican family
  • Adaptability and resilience

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