ROUND SQUARE DIRECTOR, HISTORY FACULTY
Fountain Valley strives to promote international understanding, democracy, environmental stewardship, adventure, leadership, and service among its students via extraordinary opportunities that develop a global perspective and embrace cultural immersion. Through Round Square–composed of a diverse network of 220 like-minded schools across six continents–FVS offers world-class exchanges and experiences for its students.
It was difficult for me to leave and come back to reality, but I will never forget my time in Adelaide because it taught me so much about myself and allowed me to trust that I can handle being thrust into the unknown. I experienced incredible things, like surfing in freezing water, camping among kangaroos and emus, learning new subjects in school, and eating delicious food.
Round Square enables students to attend school for up to eight weeks in a different country. Prior to their time abroad, each participant plays host to a student representing the school they plan on attending. And, that same student then hosts the FVS participant during their visit abroad. This unique partnership allows students to obtain rich cultural experiences and forge deep connections with individuals from around the world.
Round Square Learning
Current sophomores and juniors are eligible for participation in the Round Square Exchange program. Sophomores typically participate in Round Square for eight weeks in the spring, traveling abroad in March and finishing off the school year at their host school. Meanwhile, juniors travel in the summer months so as not to detract from important work that must be completed as part of their college admission process. This is made possible due to school being in session at Southern Hemisphere institutions during the summer.
For several days each year, Round Square students represent Fountain Valley at both international and regional conferences, where they join nearly 1,000 students committed to sharing, learning, and making positive changes in the world. Together with their Baraza [Swahili for “meeting”], students form groups to collaborate on an essential global problem such as solutions for water sustainability. Students likewise have opportunities to embark on adventurous expeditions including zip-lining and rock-climbing, and to complete service-learning projects.
Round Square’s Service-Learning projects aim to support rural communities in desperate need of infrastructure–such as classrooms, accommodations for teachers, bridges, and clean-water systems–around the world. Participants learn about citizenship and community engagement while experiencing new cultures and developing a deeper understanding of global issues. For example, in Peru, students worked side-by-side with families as part of a Markham College community project designed to build homes for individuals displaced in 2008 by the Chincha earthquake.
Our extensive campus, location in the West–including ample outdoor recreational activities–and challenging academic offerings make FVS a prized Round Square destination school. Exchange students quickly find themselves fully integrated into the Fountain Valley community, with options to map their own course of study, participate in a sport or some other afternoon activity, live with a roommate in the dorms, and more. They also benefit from a one-of-a-kind cultural experience defined both by FVS traditions as well as by the many unique opportunities available in the great American West, ranging from skiing and snowboarding to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and weekend excursions.
Benjie W. '19 spent a year teaching abroad at St. Constantine's International School in Arusha, Tanzania. His teaching assistant role included instructing junior-school classes, living in a student dorm where he helped supervise students, directing a play, and coaching soccer. He also attended upper-level chemistry classes to remain sharp for his upcoming freshman year of college.
FVS seniors can also connect with Round Square for gap year opportunities following graduation. Several have taught at Round Square Schools in Bogotá, Colombia; Victoria, Australia; and Arusha, Tanzania.