Capstone Mexico: Teacher reflection

"We just gave official closure to our Capstone trip! It was a beautiful and emotional morning. I am now in my room, shedding some tears and feeling very touched by our kids who have displayed the attributes of our learner profile that we so adamantly enforce in our kids. Here is a short video taken from my room with our kids voices while playing in the pool as a background. Our kids finally being kids. What an amazing trip."

- TIS teacher, Mercy

Capstone 2017: Parent Update 3/20

"It was so great to have the kids back from their homestay. Even more great was to hear about each of their experiences with their host families. They spoke of fun activities, special family parties, and especially the close relationships they formed with the families. The host families described feeling the same way about our kids! It was a joyful and teary evening and one we will all remember!" - TIS parent Christina Wang.

Photos from Christina:

Capstone 2017: Student Reflections (Constanza's Class)

"Hello Mom and Dad i’m having a good time sitting on the side lines of my host brothers soccer games, he’s really good and thats why I can only watch. My host Dad and Mom are really nice and the Dads name is Francisco Romero also my host brother has the same name, the Mom is named Alejandra Herrera she owns two hair salons. Today i’m going to a carnaval called parque de Americas and my host brothers cousin Alex is also coming. I can’t wait until i see you both again, PS: tell Gus i said hi." - Your son Emmett

"This has been a exiting and different experience and I am having fun. It is different here, with a different culture and traditions, but we all fit in a way. One of my favorite parts is when we went go karting with my host family and I almost spun out. I think that this experience is fun and very important for us to understand how other people live and what they do. This has been a wonderful experience and I feel privileged to be one of the TIS students." - Jack A.

" My experience with my host family has been very fun. Their really nice and it’s fun to hang out with them. The day we met we got ice cream at DQ. After that we went home and I got a tour of the house and their backyard. Their backyard is HUGE!!!! They have 5 cats, 2 dogs and a turtle. On Monday, after school Becky skipped her swimming practice to go to the movie theater with us. After the movie we ate crepes for dinner. I’ve been really happy staying with my host family. This has been an adventure that I will never forget." - Sophie L.

"On my birthday we went to school and there was two surprises one was wen the teacher announced my birthday to the entire school and wen she pulled me out of class and the class sang happy birthday wen y came back in and when my host said he had to get something so we went and then he said he had forgotten something and wen we got to the class they sang happy birthday wait that was three things." - Grant.W.   

"My parents didn’t come with me. It’s only been 1 day with my host family but they’re already really welcoming. I try not to think about them, and it’s pretty easy cause I’m having so much fun! I have already been to 2 beaches (Puerto Progreso and Chelen), they are so pretty. I met some of Sarita’s (my host sister) friends and they were really nice. I think this is going to be a great experience for all of us from Portland, Oregon.  I think our Spanish is going to get a lot better, and it’s cool that we get to go to Mexico to socialize with people that are not from our country (United States) and that don’t speak our language." - Alma

"I haven’t ever stayed with a family in witch I didn’t know at least one person. It has been 2 days since I met my host family. They are very nice and they have done a lot for me. The first day, I went to their aunt’s birthday party and met a few of their family members. The second day, we went ice skating at the mall (although I wasn’t very good), after that we ate at Carl’s Jr. it was better than in Oregon. It fascinated me because Mariana (my host sister) told me that McDonalds is one of the fast food restaurants that has better quality, it surprised me because in USA McDonalds is one of the worst fast food restaurants. Today when I woke up it took me much less time to get ready because I didn’t need to pick out my clothes. The uniforms are annoying because in my opinion you can’t really express yourself. " - Stella

"Its a fun time with my family and we do a lot of fun things. I like the school too I like the classes that we take I love to be with my friends I love that there are fun things to do at the school and I like that Edgar my host shows me everything. I am learning a lot of new things about history of Yucatan Merida. And Its fun to be at a new school. I have not gotten home sick yet because of the amount of fun Im having with my host brother and my friends at school." - Will

"I think this is a great experience for everybody to be in a new school to learn their languages and make new friends! Also I think the host families are very nice and friendly to us and care about us a lot and we care about them. The school is very clean and organized and has very friendly people!" -Samuel

"I really like my host family and it’s a lot of fun to live with them. At the beginning, I was nervous and it was awkward talking with my host sister, but then my host sister and I found out that we had a lot of things in common, and now we’re good friends. I love learning more about the culture of Mexico and tasting all the traditional food of Mexico that I never even knew existed before."  Lyra

"This trip is really pushing mine and I’m sure most of my classmate’s limits. Living with a family I have never met was a very unique experience but it’s most likely that it will be one of the things that I will remember when I’m older. In the start I was so nervous that I didn’t talk or ask questions but after a while I found out that though they weren’t anything like I had expected they were nice and my host sister and I had a lot in common. Now were having so much fun and I’m really exited for more." - Shreya

Capstone 2017: Student Reflections (Mercy's Class)

En este semana con mi hermano anfiltrion e reconosido mas sobre la cultural Mexicana en las casas. Mi familiame enseñaron mucha comida tradicional de Yucatan. Me encando la escuela y los classes son divertidos.  

This week with my host brother I have learned more about Mexican culture at home. My family has taught me a lot of traditional foods of Yucatan. I have loved the school and the classes are fun.

- Tommy

En esta semana aprendi más español que lo que conocí cuando vine. Estar en la Escuela Modelo es una experiencia diferente a estar en mi escuela. Ayer me entrevistaron para un periodico llamado Dario de Yucatán. Me hicieron preguntas acerca de mi experiencia en mi familia anfitriona. Estoy divertiendome mucho.

In this week I learned more Spanish than what I knew when I arrived. To be at Escuela Modelo is a different experience than my school. Yesterday the interviewed me for a newspaper called Diario de Yucatan. The asked me questions about my experience at the host family. I am having a lot of fun.

- Sabine

Mi experiencia con mi familia anfitriona fue muy bueno. Yo conocí muchas partes de Mexico que yo no conocí antes, y aprendi mucho vocabulario de español. La Escuela Modelo tambien ha sido muy divertidos. Estoy muy emocionado de conocer un país diferente que mio.

Mi experience with my host family was very good. I learned many parts of Mexico that I did not know before, I learned a lot of Spanish vocabulary. Escuela Modelo has also been a lot of fun. I am excited to know a country different from mine.

- Lucy

Cuando llegue a esta escuela yo era muy nerviosa, pero cuando vi como era ya sentia feliz. En escuela modelo todos son amables y tienen tantos virtudes. Siento muy bienvenida a la escuela modelo.

When I arrived at the school I was very nervous, but when I say how it was I felt happy. At Escuela Modelo all are friendly and have different virtues. I feel very welcome at Escuela Modelo.

 - Morgan

El dia del encuentro Cuando me escogieron como casi ultimo, me puse muy nervioso. Pense que David no había llegado. Cuando comenzo nuestro almuerzo, imediatamente encontramos muchas semajansas. Queriamos que el mismo equipo ganara, jugamos los mismo juegos y comemos las mismas cosas.

The day of the meeting when I was last [in the introduction ceremony], I got very nervous. I thought that David [my host] had not arrived. When our lunch started, we immediately found several similarities. We wanted the same teams to win, we play the same games, and we eat the same things.

- Ry

Cuando fue el día de conocer a mi hermana anfitriona estaba muy nerviosa y no queria irme del hotel, pero sabía que todos sentiann en la mismas forma. Cuando conocí a mi hermana anfitriona me sonreí.  Era muy amable y paciente. Fuimos a patinar y a comer helado. Después, no me sentí tan nerviosa.

When it was the day to meet my host sister I was nervous and I didn't want to leave the hotel, but I knew that everyone felt that way. When I met my host sister I smiled. She was nice and patient. We went to skate and eat ice cream. After, I didn't feel so nervous.

- Tiana

Mi viaje a Merida , Yucatan ha sido maravilloso. Cuando llegue all Hotel Fiesta de Gamma fue un poco dificil entender a los personas porque hablaban muy rapidamente. Cada vez que fui a la cuidad o Puerto Progreso habloa differentes personas pude practicar mi español mas y mas. Después de casi 6 dias en Merida mi español ha mejorado mucho. Espero que las proximas dias puedo mejorar mi español mucho mas!

My trip to Merida, Yucatan has been marvelous. When I arrived at the Hotel Fiest de Gamma it was a bit hard to understand the people because they spoke very fast. Every time that went to the city of Puerto Progreso I speak to different people and I could practice my Spanish more and more. After almost 6 days in Merida my Spanish has improved a lot. I hope that in the coming days I can improve my Spanish even more!

- Niko

El viaje a Merida ha estado maravilloso, desde cuando llegamos en avion hasta hoy en la Escuela Modelo. Esta oportunidad nunca la voy a olvidar. Es una expriencia para quedar con una familia anfitriona, para practicar el español en casos reales. Durante este viaje voy a divertirme mucho. Hasta PreK a 5 grado yo supe que un diaiba a estar en Capstone con una familia diferente, estar en una escuela en Merida y visitando lugares en el Yucatan. Ahora estoy aqui en 5 grado voy a crearexperiencias que van a quedar conmigo para siempre.

The trip to Merida has been marvelous, since we arrived by plane to today at Escuela Modelo. I will never forget this opportunity. It is an experience to stay with a host family, to practice Spanish in real scenarios. During this trip I am going to have a lot of fun. From PreK to 5th grade I knew that one day I would be on Capstone with a different family, be at a school in Merida and visiting places in the Yucatan. Now I am here in 5th grade and I am going to create experiences that will stay with me forever.

- Tatiana

Capstone 2017: Student Update

Update from TIS Student, Toby Knobbs:

My trip to Merida was (I think) the longest day of my life. It started with waking up at 3:00 am to go to the airport to take a flight to Texas, which is very early. We had a 5 hour delay in Texas, which gave some of us the time to get presents for the host family, and the kids (me included) were running around the airport doing kid games such as throwing a ball.  Finally, we were off to Merida, which was a short flight but fun! When I got to Merida I felt excited, and I told my mom “I can’t believe that our capstone has started!”

The next day we went out to fetch our uniforms from the school, Escuela Modelo. On the way to the school I noticed that there where weird white seats in the parks and Portland doesn’t have seats like that, which means that they have different ideas in their culture. When we arrived at the school, some of us met our hosts. Most of them were funny, such as my host Emiliano! I felt excited that I had someone so sporty and like me. Many of them like hot stuff and they shared their snacks. After we got our uniforms we were off to Puerto Progresso for a day at the beach! Overall my journey has been awesome!!

Capstone 2017: Send-off assembly!

capstone assembly 2017.JPG

We had a wonderful send-off assembly today, during which we came together as a school and celebrated this special moment with our 5th graders.*  Each 1st through 5th grader got a flag to carry - one color per grade to symbolize our multiculturalism - that counts down how many years they have until their Capstone.

The 5th graders performed "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor," by Irving Berlin with lyrics from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus. And then students from each track then spoke about their trips and what they hoped to learn on them.  It was truly an awesome, inspiring moment.

Thanks to all the teachers, students, and administrators - and particularly Peter Musselman - who helped to make this wonderful assembly happen!

Capstone 2016, Day 8: More Student Perspectives

Hey International School,

This is Brooks on a bus going to Chichen Itza. Yesterday, we went to the Hacienda Sotuta De Peon. We went to a cenote and learned about the history of the Hacienda and about the process of making rope. It was an incredible place and we really interesting.

- Brooks

More Student Notes:

This trip is awesome! I love it! My host family was super nice and made me feel like I actually was part of their family. They always made sure that I was comfortable and happy. So I was never left out and never felt homesick. I felt just at home. It made me really sad when I had to leave. I would do this trip again any time. - Karuna

After the week I spent I spent with my host family, I thought nothing would compare. But I was proven wrong. The amazing things I saw and the things I am learning about Mayan culture is even better. All of the things I am experiencing on Capstone have been a privilege. Now, I know how the Mayans lived, their stories, and their religion and gods. I am very lucky to be experiencing all of this, and doing it with my best friends makes it even better. - Coco

Saying goodbye to my host family was very sad. The week that I spent with them was a once in a lifetime experience and I was sad to leave it. The touring days that we have done so far have been fun, hot, and educational. In the bus rides we have learned about Mayan legends; such as the legend of the dwarf. - Tabitha

Staying with my host family was one of the most the things amazing its things ever. My host family was the best thing that could happen to me. Its the best thing ever plus you now have friends and another caring family. I was learning from them, and they learned from me. When it was time to go, everyone was sad. - Davis


Capstone 2016, Day 7: Student Perspectives on Capstone


So far on my Capstone trip, I haven't missed my parents and I have only had fun. Mi host brother is awesome, and when my host mom offered to call my mom and I could talk to her I said no. Also Sebas has taught me new vocabulary words such as, chorizo. Also I have made new friends such as Romi and Max. Finally I wish I would never have to leave.


Staying with my host family is really fun, learned new vocabulary and more about Mexican culture. Capstone is an amazing experience and I love being in Mexico, even though some times I miss my parents. I’m meeting new people, new places and having lots of fun.    


Capstone is a once in lifetime opportunity, and I am so lucky to be able to experience it. My host family is so, so nice, and they feel like real family to me, and my host sister is awesome.  I’m learning new vocabulary, meeting new people, going to new places, eating new food in Mexico. I wish I could stay here forever. Mexican culture is so interesting, and I love learning new things. 


I have had a lot of fun on my Capstone trip so far. It has been amazing learning about Mexican food and culture, and the amazing buildings and statues all around Merida. I have tried foods I had never heard of, done things that I have never done, and seen things I would have never seen. I absolutely adore my host family, and the cool things they do. It was a adjustment waking up that early, I have to admit, but it became easier as the week went on. I got to know a ton of fun kids at the school, too. It really has been a pleasure spending my time here, and I hope that the day to return to Oregon never comes!


Capstone has been extremely fun. It has been a really good experience. I occasionally miss my parents but i know i will see them soon and that my host parents love me. In my opinion the best part is the food. I love the food that my host mom cooks for breakfast lunch and dinner. She is a lot like my real mom and I love her. Even though i am sad the first week of capstone has already passed I am excited to continue on to the second week!!!!!!!


This week has been a exciting and enjoyable week staying with my host family and going to school with my host sister. Learning about Mexican culture and traditions is fascinating and visiting places around Merida is super fun. I have learned a lot from Capstone and i cant wait fro next week when we go on tours, even though i am very sad to leave my host family. Capstone is an exciting adventure that i would go on again!


Staying with new people and going to other places is very fun. Mi host family is very kind and have learned a lot from this adventure and made new friends. A host family is like a long sleep over and i wish i could never go.  Even though you have homework capstone is a very amazing experience. 


Its my last day with my host family, and I’m feeling really sad. I missed my parents this week, but I was having so much fun I almost didn’t think about it. I have learned a lot this week, about Mexican culture and what it is like to be in Mexico, and I have loved everything. Living with my host family was really nice and a big adventure. I feel like I have met a lifelong friend this week. 


It’s already Friday, a week has passed since the start of my adventure in Mexico. I am leaving my host family today; the time has passed so quickly. This past week has been a very exiting, intriguing and beautiful experience for me.  Before I was staying with my host family I was I bit scared, but when I got there I could relax.  The host family was very nice to me and we did many activities together like going to the beach.  Discovering the differences and similarities between my daily life, traditions and culture and theirs has been very interesting.  Being at Escuela Modelo has also been a lovely experience.  The materials, style of learning, etc. are very different from ours.  Wearing uniforms has been a big part of the experience too.  It is an amazing example of how I have adapted to the new environment around me. I look forward to the next week and wish I could repeat this marvelous experience! 


This was the best week of my life. The minute I met my host sister I was so happy because I have been waiting for this moment my whole life. My first day of school was the best because I met a whole bunch of people and i got to see the school and meet the teachers. Everyone was nice to us new kids and made sheer we had a good day. Clases are different than the ones we have and everyone is a little bit crazy. I think I would enjoy it a little more if everyone was a little calmer. Even though it was a crazy experience it was the best time of my life. I wish I could stay another week at the school and with my host family. 


This was an awesome experience. I couldn't wait to meet my host family. I was surprised that they had a lot of land. They even had two eagles! I liked watching Carlos’s brother do his experiment. He cut open an Iguana to see what was inside. The school was fun even though it got really loud inside. The trip to see how the salt was extracted was interesting. The only bad part of the trip was that I fell on my arm during a basketball game and now my arm is in a sling. Overall it was a very fan week and I wish I could stay longer.


The idea of staying with a host family was amazing. I was wishing for March 5 for a long time. But when the 5th came a started to get really nervous. The first day with my host family we went on the “Biciruta”. The next morning we left to go swim in 3 cenotes. The drive was super long but the swimming was great. Before going to school I was very nervous I forgot something, but the first day went well and so did the rest of the week. Wednesday 9th we went to ACTRIX PARK and had a great time. So far this week ha been really amazing. 


This was one of the best experiences ever has. It was so awesome. My host brother was so nice and so as his family. We played a lot together and had a good time. He took me to this park that was cool because it had a maze, go carts, zip line, jungle jim,etc. I loved the school and it is so big. The kids in his class are so nice. I also made some friends, the friends I made were: Max, Diego, Sebas Mora,etc. I loved this trip. I would want to do it again any time. The host brother was awesome and we had lots of fun.