Falcons Conquer the World


Delegates on the trip to Nîmes, France pose atop the Roman Arena.

Gigi Schueneman, Reporter

Bonjour, Helló, こんにちは! This is what four students from Fort Worth Country Day heard — and will hear — as soon as they step into the airports of France, Hungary, and Japan.

Gigi Schueneman ‘26, Ginny Caceres ‘24, Andrew Booth ‘24, and Nara Acuña Guba ‘25 were each selected as delegates on Fort Worth Sister Cities’ 2023 exchanges. Schueneman went on a reciprocal exchange to Nîmes, France, and Caceres traveled to Budapest, Hungary. Both of these trips took place during Spring Break. Booth and Acuña Guba will voyage to Nagaoka, Japan during the summer, and Acuña Guba is going with the Harashin Scholar Program.

I’m really excited to go to Japan because it’s been a longtime dream of mine. It’s a huge honor to be able to represent Fort Worth and experience firsthand its rich culture and lifestyle,” Booth said.

Each year, an organization called Fort Worth Sister Cities hosts seven trips for high schoolers in the North Texas area. Some trips, like the ones to Japan, Germany, and France, are reciprocal exchanges, which means that students from these countries come to Texas as well. 

Delegates from Trier, Germany came to Fort Worth Country Day in October 2022, and students from Nîmes, France came to FWCD in February 2023. 

“I think that there are so many things to gain by hosting someone in your home. You have to really consider all the different cultural differences,” Chelsy Beninate, Director of the Center for International Studies, said.

During Schueneman’s trip to Nîmes, her delegation visited many historical sites and museums, such as the Maison Carée, or “Square House” (which is neither a square, nor a house, but a Roman temple). Her group also visited the Roman arena, the Musée de la Romanité, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the Palais des Papes in Avignon, Aigues-Mortes, and Montpellier. 

Caceres’ delegation went to the Hungarian Parliament, the Danube River, and the beautiful Hungarian countryside. They also traveled to nearby towns like Szentendre, and finished with a dinner cruise on the Danube River. 

During Booth’s trip to Japan, he will visit a Japanese school with his host brother or sister, learn about the history of the Samurai, visit the Aoshi Shrine, tour the Museum of History, and maybe even spend the night in a Buddhist temple. His delegation will also stay overnight in Tokyo and visit the Sea of Japan.

Acuña Guba’s group will embark on a trip to Japan that is funded by the Harashin Corporation of Nagaoka. They will stay with a host family, and then welcome their host brother or sister to Fort Worth, Texas in August of 2023. During the trip, the delegates will be lucky enough to see the three-day-long Hanabi, which is the largest fireworks festival in the world.

Sister Cities’ annual exchanges are open to all 8th through 12th graders, except for the Harashin scholar program which is for students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade only. Information about all of these trips, and any other volunteer programs are available on the FW Sister Cities website.

“Walking through the city and enjoying all the sights and being able to be with teachers and colleagues was really enjoyable. And then when we brought the German teachers and students here just being able to share our culture with them and our school, which was really interesting,” Beninate said.

Exchanges like these are a wonderful opportunity for students to experience other cultures first-hand and make new friends across the globe. Travel is an integral part of creating a broadened view of the world and the people in it.

Au revoir, viszontlátásra, さようなら!