June 12: Flight to Boston, Arrival, and Walk Around Boston Commons

Two groups of Senior School pupils from Haileybury Almaty and Haileybury Astana embarked on an exciting university trip to the US. The adventure began as the Astana Boston Bruins arrived at Almaty Airport, soon joined by the Almaty group. We quickly checked into our Qatar Airways flight at the new International Terminal, which was a seamless process. The first leg of our journey to Doha took 4.5 hours, followed by a brief 90-minute layover. Then came the long haul: a 13.5-hour flight to Boston. Despite the lengthy travel time, most of us managed to catch some sleep.

Upon arrival in Boston, we breezed through US passport control without any issues and made our way to the Arrivals area. After a short wait for the vans and a bit of rush hour traffic, we finally reached the International Guest House in Backbay around 6 PM. We enjoyed a welcoming buffet dinner and settled into our rooms. Still buzzing with excitement, we ventured out to explore the Boston Commons, the city's central park.

The park was lively with people engaging in various sports, games, and leisurely activities. We learned about its historical significance, particularly as a staging area for British troops before the American Revolution. Highlights of our visit included seeing the "Embrace" statue of Martin Luther King Jr. and a statue of the renowned writer Edgar Allan Poe. After strolling along Newbury Street and taking in the vibrant shopfronts, we returned to the Guest House, showered, and quickly fell asleep.

June 13: Visit to Boston University and Warship Museums

Jet lag had us awake by 5 AM, giving us plenty of time to relax before breakfast. We enjoyed a diverse buffet, catering to all dietary preferences, and set out for the day with renewed energy.

Our morning walk along the Charles River Esplanade Park offered stunning views of MIT across the water, rowers gliding along the river, playful squirrels, and Canada geese. The number of joggers, often accompanied by their dogs, surprised us.

At Boston University, we met with an international admissions officer who shared insights into gaining admission to this prestigious research university. We learned about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., one of BU's most notable alumni, and appreciated the small class sizes and friendly campus atmosphere. Our students made videos about their experiences at BU, capturing the essence of the university.

Next, we took the green line subway to central Boston and walked to North Boston's historical wharfs. This area is famous for the Battle of Bunker Hill, a pivotal event in the American Revolution. We visited the USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship, and the USS Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer. Both ships offered a fascinating glimpse into naval history.

After a walk along the harbor and a visit to the Cambridge Side shopping mall for some relaxation and food, we returned to Copley. Some of us were so exhausted that we headed straight to bed, while others enjoyed a meal at Chick-fil-A. Sleep came quickly for all of us that night.

June 14: Harvard University

We started our day with a hearty breakfast before heading to Harvard. With Damir as our navigator, we arrived at the Admissions Office, where a senior admissions officer emphasized the importance of a personal essay that reflects one's character and unique passions.

A Harvard student then guided us on a campus tour, sharing stories about Harvard traditions and his personal journey to admission. As a first-generation university student, he highlighted the opportunities Harvard offers to diverse and exceptional students.

We took a break at the Student Centre and did some shopping before visiting the Harvard Natural History Museum. A scavenger hunt through the museum was a hit, with the girls' team narrowly winning a prize from Mrs. Munoz.

After making videos about their visit, the students returned to the guest house for dinner. Some went shopping, while others stayed in to rest. Despite lingering jet lag, we were ready for another exciting day ahead, which would include the Science Museum, a Duckboat tour, and a history tour of Boston.

June 15: Science Museum

Today, we ventured to the Science Museum, a fascinating place brimming with activities and amazing exhibits. Among the many displays, those about AI and the robotic dog by Boston Dynamics captivated us the most. We experienced an Omni movie, where the screen wraps around you and above you, showcasing the marvels of the Webb Space Telescope. This telescope, launched into space, is working perfectly, revealing galaxies, stars, and exoplanets that humans had never seen or even imagined before. Students from Mr. Stockerman’s geography class two years ago might remember his fascination with this incredible instrument.

Later, we enjoyed a Planetarium show about the different moons in our solar system, highlighting their unique characteristics and the possibility that some moons around Jupiter and Saturn may harbour life.

After the museum, we went on the famous Boston Duckboat tour with our enthusiastic guide, Ms. Paprika. Her humorous stories about Boston and curious questions about Kazakhstan had us laughing for the entire hour.

We wrapped up the day with a visit to Quincy Market in Old Boston, indulging in typical Boston fare like lobster, clam chowder, and Boston pizza. After a delicious meal, we took the subway home and happily fell asleep.

June 16: Whale Watching

Today was our most vibrant day yet. We started with a trip to the New England Aquarium, where we watched a 3D movie about the Arctic and its critical issues related to climate change. The aquarium was teeming with life—fish, seals, penguins, turtles, and more.

We then embarked on a whale-watching trip aboard the fast boat Aquarius. An hour into our journey, we spotted our first humpback whale, followed by several more. Our guide’s enthusiasm was infectious, and she mentioned that it was rare to see so many whales in one trip. The highlight of the day was sighting a basking shark, a massive and rare species that swims with its mouth wide open to collect small fish. Witnessing this incredible creature up close was an unforgettable experience.

After a thrilling afternoon at sea, we returned for dinner and went to bed, exhausted but elated.

June 17: MIT

Today was our MIT day. We walked across the Boston-Cambridge bridge and measured its length in Smoots—364 Smoots to be exact! (For those who don't know, a Smoot is a unique measurement created by Oliver Smoot, an MIT student who measured the bridge using his body length, which has since become an official university measurement.)

Thanks to Ms. Katya and Haileybury’s own Togzhan Shyntay, we had an insightful meeting about life and admissions at MIT, followed by a fantastic campus tour with an economics major. Togzhan, a third-year computer science student, encouraged all of us to apply to MIT.

We explored the MIT Museum, which showcased a plethora of inventions born in MIT labs over the years.

In the evening, we returned home to eat, shop, and watch the final NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics, Boston's pride, won the championship, filling the town with cars, horns, fireworks, and celebration. Go Celtics Go!

June 18: Brown and Yale

Today was our long day. We took the Amtrak train early in the morning to Providence, arriving an hour later, and walked up the hill to the Brown University Admissions Office. Our guide explained Brown’s Open Curriculum concept, which gives students the freedom to choose their courses of interest. Although this freedom requires maturity and long-term planning, it offers a unique educational experience. Providence is also famous for its culinary school, which means that students at Brown enjoy some of the best food experiences daily.

Next, we boarded the train to New Haven to visit Yale. Despite the heat wave, we marveled at Yale’s magnificent Old Campus and newer buildings like the Sterling and Beinecke libraries, which house some of the oldest books in the world. Yale’s outstanding professors and graduate schools, coupled with its tradition of excellence, left everyone eager to apply.

June 19: Salem and Juneteenth Holiday

After the tiring heat wave and long walks yesterday, we took a short break for Juneteenth, a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the USA. We took a ferry ride to Salem, a small town north of Boston with a rich 400-year history as a naval and shipping area. However, Salem is most famous for the witch trials, a tragic event marked by mass hysteria and ignorance.

Despite the intense heat, we managed a walking tour before returning to the Guest House by train to rest. In the evening, we played trivia games and awarded prizes to our students.

June 20: Northeastern, Museum of Fine Arts, Basketball

This may have been our best day yet. We walked 20 minutes to Northeastern University and were impressed by its understated campus. Northeastern is known for its research, sports, and most importantly, its Co-op programs, which give students six months of paid work experience in various fields. This program significantly boosts employability, making Northeastern highly ranked in this aspect. Our guide’s enthusiasm about the university’s opportunities and the cooperative student culture was inspiring.

Afterward, we visited the world-renowned Museum of Fine Arts, spending four hours there, though many wished we could stay longer.

On our way to a shopping centre, we spotted a young man playing basketball alone in a park. Our boys politely joined him, and they enjoyed a game of serious American basketball in the hot sun. The young man, an MIT student, encouraged our students to apply to his university, making friends wherever we went!

In the evening, we brainstormed with our HB teachers and students to plan activities for the next two years, aiming to apply to the world’s top universities. The students left feeling inspired and motivated.

June 21: Tufts, the Parade, and Let’s Go Home!

Early in the morning, we packed our bags and took the train to Tufts University. Located about 30 minutes north of Boston, Tufts boasts a suburban campus with plenty of green space and a countryside-like atmosphere. Jumbo the Elephant is their mascot, with his bones kept on campus. With a 10% acceptance rate, Tufts is selective but slightly less competitive than other universities we visited. The university emphasizes undergraduate research and Liberal Arts, encouraging students to study their major while exploring other subjects to broaden their horizons. Tufts is known for its collaborative spirit and low teacher-to-student ratio.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the school canteen with an impressive variety of choices.

Our planned trip to the TD Center was cancelled due to the overwhelming parade celebrating the NBA champions, the Boston Celtics. Around one million people filled the streets, all dressed in green and cheering. We joined the parade at the end, enjoying the festive atmosphere with tens of thousands of people celebrating in the streets and parks.

We walked back to the Guest House to rest, had dinner, and prepared for the vans to pick us up at 6:30 PM to take us to the airport.

See you all soon in Almaty and Astana!

We are excited to invite you to explore a new feature here on the website that will help you achieve a better understanding of our school and all that we have to offer. You can take a virtual tour of our campus, explore our classrooms and facilities and take a closer look at our admissions process.

You'll be able to see first hand what sets our school apart and why we could well be the perfect fit for your child's education.

We look forward to welcoming you to our school!

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