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Study Abroad Programs Available for Ritenour High School Students

Many high school students choose to enroll in study abroad programs to learn more about other cultures and about themselves. Academic and needs-based scholarships ensure that any Ritenour student interested in studying abroad can participate and gain the benefits of foreign language skills, greater self confidence, career opportunities and a greater likelihood of attending college.

The Quest Scholarship Fund at the St. Louis Community Foundation makes the study abroad process more accessible for high-achieving, low-income students. The fund subsidizes 50 percent of the cost of traveling abroad, while the AFS-USA Faces of America Program provides the other 50 percent. Ritenour High School senior Catalina Mundin took advantage of the program and studied abroad in Argentina for eight weeks this summer on a full scholarship.

“I chose Argentina because it was one of the countries that offered a summer high school program, and I’ve always thought Latin American culture was beautiful,” said Mundin.

Mundin says she overcame the language barrier through a combination of her two years of Spanish classes and Google Translate. She also used her fluency in the Filipino language Tagalog to help identify similarities between the two languages. She compares her experience abroad to her own upbringing in a Filipino household.

“The culture is much like Filipino culture, where my host mom stayed at home and cooked a lot. Education is encouraged and very important, and weekends are meant for family and fun,” she said.

Mundin says her time in Argentina was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that helped her appreciate and embrace another culture. She encourages her classmates to look into the program as a way to connect with people around the world.

Ritenour High School also hosts students from other countries. This semester, RHS welcomed 12th grade student Luca Beccacece from Rome. He says that while at first it was difficult adapting to a new school and way of life, he loves American culture and food (Chick-fil-A is his favorite) and even joined the swim team. He highly recommends the program because it “forces you to discover new parts of yourself.”

Ritenour students interested in studying abroad can contact RHS teacher Tavonda Palmer for help with starting the process by emailing palmert@ritenourschools.org.