Open your heart and home to an exchange student

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2012-13 exchange students

Catlin Gabel is honored to welcome exchange students to our community each year. Our exchange students are carefully selected merit scholars who are ready for Catlin Gabel’s academic and linguistic challenges.

We host these kids with the goal of learning as much from them as we can. Our community benefits deeply as our exchange students push us to question assumptions and broaden our perspectives. If you are interested in hosting an exchange student, please read our Q&A and contact Spencer White with questions.

Year-Long Upper School Exchange Students

Belén Placencia Levenfeld, from Spain, is 15 years old and comes to us through the ASSIST program, which selects students by merit for placement in U.S. independent schools. She will attend CG as a sophomore for the entire academic year. Her interviewers said that, “Belén (or Belu) will bring to her American school a sharp mind, a strong work ethic, and an impressive record of academic achievement. Belén also has strong athletic interests and talents. In addition, she thoroughly enjoys acting in school drama productions, is currently attending an acting school in Madrid, and even thinks of theater as something she would like to have at the center of her adult life. We found Belu to be an adventurous girl, with sharp sense of humor evident, very pleasant and engaging, with lots of interests.”

Xiaotian Zhang, from Shanghai, China, also comes to us through the ASSIST program. She is an all-star student at Fudan High School with a penchant for international relations and English. Xiaotian has traveled to Great Britain and Japan and is involved in singing, ballet, traditional Chinese dance, street dance, and ceramics. She participates in MUN, is a member of the school debate team, and is a cheerleader. In her personal statement Xiaotian says, “My dreams are simple but require resolute determination and constant hard work. I want to make the world a better place. I want the world to see me one day.”


Mpho Bowie-Molefe comes to us from Maru-a-Pula School (MaP) in Gaborone, Botswana, as our sixth MaP Scholar. Our relationship with MaP has been one of mutual respect and admiration as they continue to send us globally minded students of impressively high academic and interpersonal caliber. Mpho is here for the entire 12th grade academic year. “Mpho is a rare quality student,” said his interviewers. “He is wonderfully engaging, admired by his peers and a perceptive and capable learner. It is not often that you find students as well balanced as Mpho is; he is a star athlete on the school rugby team and an effortless, academically capable student that is always willing to give of himself.” Mpho is dedicated to several community service projects, including a service project where he taught primary school children in a disadvantaged area of Gaborone how to read. He has been part of a group of senior students who raised funds and delivered food packages and grocery items to poor families on the outskirts of the city. Mpho would like to become an engineer with a specific focus on developing green energy technologies for Africa.

Short-Term Guatemalan Upper School Students
Experiencias Interculturales Program
October 21 – December 15

Luis Esteban Greñas Vettorazzi, 15, will spend two months as part of our freshman class. He is excited to spend time with a “real” American family, improve his English skills, and experience Portland culture. Luis is a photographer, the main journalist of his school newspaper, and a lover of nature and animals. He is a determined and outspoken young man who’s not afraid to speak his mind on any number of topics.



Andrea María Reyes López, 17, will join our junior class. Her parents, both in the medical field, are eager for Andrea to take this step toward independence, improve her English skills, and meet American peers. She was class president last year and this year, school council president. She is described as “concerned about others,” as seen in her consistent weekend trips to see both sets of grandparents. She is also a dancer, an artist, and a lover of music.


Short-Term Guatemalan Middle School Students
Experiencias Interculturales Program
October 21 – December 15

Xim-Mei Ju Li, 13, is one of two Guatemalan students who will spend two months in our Middle School as a 7th grader during her own summer vacation. Xim is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Her interests include tennis, soccer, squash, racquetball, reading, and watching movies. She loves Taylor Swift and everything country music. Xim wants to augment her global travels (having been to China once) and improve her English.


Jorge José Trujillo Herrera, 14, will join us as an 8th grader. Jorge is especially keen on staying with a family with a host brother. He has a mellow demeanor, is a natural athlete, and takes a lot of pride in balancing his academics with sports. Jorge comes from a close-knit family that is involved with the church and spending ample time with their extended family. He is eager to improve his English ability in his 60-day stay with us.