I have recently returned from the International Exchange to Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The exchange was almost two weeks long and it was an amazing experience for myself and the nine other UK cadets that attended. We stayed at a Naval Base with cadets from 7 other countries including Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, Hong Kong and South Africa. Meeting cadets from around the world was one of the best parts of this exchange; learning all about their lifestyles, and the similarities and differences between the cadet organisations were extremely interesting and an eye-opening experience.
This exchange was many of our first trips to America and for one of the UK cadets, it was her first time on a plane. Having known that we were attending this trip for six months beforehand we were all extremely excited and were counting down the days before our plane took off!
We visited many cities throughout our time in the US ranging from the harbour town of Newport, the historic site of Boston and the Big Apple, New York City. These visits were definitely highlights of the exchange. The trip touring Boston was particularly memorable as all the cadets took part in a scavenger hunt finding different sites along the Freedom Trail. Our two day trip to New York, occurring over Independence Day, was so much fun as we all felt like we were walking through a movie set due to the sites that we saw.
Our two weeks in America was jam-packed and we didn’t stop. Along with visiting the tourist sites that the East Coast has to offer, we visited the US coastguard academy, kayaked down a beautiful river and even received a tour of an active nuclear submarine.
The International Exchange Programme has now been running for 20 years and to celebrate this anniversary everyone attend a beautiful BBQ on base one evening. We played games and toasted marshmallows as the sun set over the bridge in Newport.
To end our amazing trip, every cadet and staff member attend the Farewell Dinner at the Newport Officers Club where a fantastic spread of food was provided for us as well as music to dance to.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience in America and did not want it to end! I want to say thank you to all the staff in America and the United Kingdom for making possible and I hope I will be back in the US soon!
Cpl Chloe - United Kingdom