Mathew Taylor, returning Youth Exchange student

January 4, 2008

Mathew Taylor Mathew Taylor Candy, Mathew, Cliff Taylor
Mathew Taylor, an outbound student in Bolivia last year, presented to the Club at yesterday’s lunch. Click photos to enlarge. Right photo: Mathew with parents Candy Taylor and Cliff Taylor.

Update 01/10: From this week’s Cogwheel:

Mathew Taylor had his travails during his year in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. But he emerged intact and grateful for the exchange experience.

The first three months were difficult. He struggled with his Spanish, had far too much alone time with his first host family and found his school experience uninspiring. On top of that, the drivers scared him to death, and he was mugged on Christmas Eve.

Not the best start, but with the turn of the calendar and a move to his second host family — remember Geri who spent a year in Northfield a couple of years ago? Her family — things turned around.

“Once I got past that, it was so much fun,” he said. “Everything went so fast and pretty soon, I was home again.”

Matt was able to travel throughout Bolivia with other exchange students and found that to be the highlight of his trip. He also observed, sometimes first hand — an extremely dynamic, bordering on incendiary, political scene.

Matt is now back at Northfield High School and looking forward to a return trip to Bolivia.