Exploring the World: Hikers Summer Experiences – Highlands International School San Salvador

Summer is a time for resting, relaxing, and recharging. Thus, we highlight the fun, productive, and meaningful experiences carried out by some of Highlands International School San Salvador’s Hikers during this Summer.

Highlands rising Seniors, Sarah F. and Mariana N., joined their fellow University of Chicago Summer Session Scholarship Program students in Phoenix Week, the culmination of their 4-week academic course work as Latin American Phoenix Scholars.

Sarah F. got an early taste of an exceptional college experience through the course “Pathways in Molecular Engineering” and Mariana N. engaged in a global community of thinkers who ask tough questions and embrace new ideas through the course “Science, Technology and the Body”.


Along the same line, Highlands rising Junior, Marbella A., engaged in Santa Clara University’s
 Summer Engineering Seminar (SES) program. Thus, she shared with us how she came along such a life-changing experience:

“During summer break, I wanted to attend a program that would help me explore different kinds of engineering to have a better picture of what I want to study in the future. After looking at the different scholarship programs available, I found SantaClara University’s Summer Engineering Seminar. I went through the application process and thankfully got accepted! I was able to attend multiple engineering workshops and lectures on Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Throughout the program, we participated in two engineering design competitions; I took 1st in both! I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend such a wonderful program, and to have met the incredible staff and outstanding students that also took part. It was a truly incredible experience!”

Likewise, Daniella B., a rising Highlands Sophomore shared what she did in her fulfilling Summer experience:

“I attended the NSLC Medicine Intensive Pre-college Summer Program at American University in Washington D.C. We did clinical simulations, heard various guest speakers in the different fields of medicine, got certified for first aid and CPR, learned how to take vitals, injection, draw blood for lab work, suturing and intubation. We visited the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, George Washington University’s Physical Therapy School, Red Cross headquarters, and had mass casualties emergency simulations.”

Meanwhile, Highlands rising Junior, María Fernanda P., engaged in a Summer Brown Pre-College Program experience. She examined all aspects of the communication process: composing effective, compelling speeches, establishing meaningful connections with audiences of any size, and leveraging the critical art of persuasive speaking. Similarly, rising Highlands Junior, Javier Henriquez had the opportunity to participate in Colorado StateUniversity’s Global Business Academy, a 2-week program in which students conversed with global executives, learned about personal finance, supply chain, worked on teams to launch a product, and prepared business pitches to promote their ideas.

More so, rising Junior, Gabriela R., carried out two enriching experiences, and shared with us what they were like:

“This Summer,I had the blessing to be part of two scholarship programs that helped me explore the field of engineering and the variety of areas this career offers. I participated in the Summer Engineering Seminar at Santa Clara University, where we enjoyed several workshops, lectures, and interactive work. Also, I was part of Women in Engineering, a Summer Youth Program at Michigan Technological University. While we received a variety of lectures, here I participated in two projects whose main focus was electrical and software engineering. In both programs, I had a taste of what university life is by living on campus. I will never forget this marvelous experience and all the inspiring people I met during my stay.”

All the while, Highlands rising Senior, Andrea B.,decided to turn to New York city for a fulfilling Summer experience, and shared with us what she learned:

“This Summer,I engaged in the Pre-college Summer Architecture Program at Parson’s University in New York, where I learned the fundamentals of three-dimensional and architectural design. I was also able to develop professional skills in schematic drawing and model making, by completing studio projects that involved drawing, sketching, and solving real architectural problems. Throughout the program, we visited architectural buildings that helped me understand the concepts of architecture and what it really means to be an architect.”

Highlands Hikers also had athletic life-changing experiences. For instance, Diego Andres V. participated in a tournament in Spain as part of the official Atlético de Madrid academy, achieving the sub-championship and being the team captain throughout the tournament.

Ana Lucía Z., a rising Highlands Senior, participated in three Soccer camps this Summer! She took part in a Master Camp in Newport, Rhode Island at St. Georges School, and two camps in Boston—one at Harvard University and one at Northeastern University. These experiences allowed her not only to train and grow as an athlete, but also to get exposed to different university coaches who advised her regarding opportunities for student athletes at the college level.

Summer is also a great time to carry out meaning full internships! Mauricio C. , Guillermo C. , Fabiola P. , Luis Mario R., and Isabel S. engaged in a service-oriented professional internship with the Office of the First Lady of El Salvador, assisting with the implementation of the new law for early childhood, childhood and adolescents, “Crecer Juntos”, because our students are not willing to wait until they reach adulthood to start working for a positive change in their country.

Highlands rising Senior, Elías B., tells us about his two rewarding Summer experiences:

“During the Summer, I started building up hours to obtain my helicopter pilot license, and also interned at Ecosolidos, a company that is developing a zero-waste facility. I enjoyed following my passion for aviation, as well as assisting the CFO of a private enterprise in preparing financial projections.”

And, Highlands’ staff also engaged in exceptional Summer activities. For instance, Mrs. Berta Fiallos de Novoa was part of the week-long “International Association for College Admissions Counseling IACAC 2022 Conference”, hosted by the University of New Mexico. As a member of the IACAC, she joined over 1200 fellow members, among university representatives, school counselors, independent counselors and education providers. She was an exhibitor in the “Counselor Fair”, sharing with university representatives what our students have to offer to the global higher education community. She also explored the opportunities that universities around the world offer for our Highlands community, as an attendee in both the “Global University Fair” and the “North American University Fair”. She also attended enlightening information sessions, seminars, and workshops regarding the latest trends and practices in College Admissions. And, as if that was not productive enough, she was later invited to join a select group of 30 HighSchool Counselors from prestigious international schools around the world who participated in the week-long “Chicagoland Counselor Bus Tour”, hosted by IllinoisInstitute of Technology, Columbia College Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Chicago, and De Paul University. This experience allowed her to establish strategic alliances, experience first-hand what universities around the area offer for our Highlands students, and understand what they seek in prospective students.

Likewise, Miss Cristy Bardi, Highlands’ rhetorical speech teacher and director of the yearly 9th grade musicals, as well as Mrs. Alexia Funes, Highlands’ musical theater academy teacher, travelled to New York, to further specialize in Musical Theater as participants of “The Broadway Teachers Workshop”. They spent four days engaging in Broadway plays and multiple directing, acting, production and stage management workshops taught by artists and music technicians.


Highlands teachers continue their professional development with the best experts in the world! The Hikers from Highlands International School San Salvador never stop hiking higher, as part of their Semper Altius way of life!