Foreign Exchange follow up

By Caroline Foster, J1 writer

Going to a new place you are unfamiliar to can be a struggle. Moving to a different state or city for example. The change in scenery can not only be startling, but hard to adjust to. From the people to the culture, each city can be it’s own unique setting and rather abnormal compared to where you’re originally from.

But if that’s hard, imagine the struggle of living in a completely different country with a family that’s not your own, a language you don’t speak normally, and the way of life is completely different.

That is the life of a foreign exchange student.

America is a big place, there is no doubt about that fact. The cities bustle with live energy, the people are loud, and the stores are huge. The things we do on what would seem like a normal daily basis, is bizarre to people from other countries.

“I got into a conversation with a lady I had never seen in my life when trying to get into my hotel room,” French exchange student Mihnea Mocanasu said, “Everyone here is so much friendlier. In France, the subway is dead quiet.”

But Americans are known for being very loud and outgoing people. Obnoxious would be one of the stereotypes foreign countries decided to label everyone with. This can be quite a culture shock for people who are not used to the rambunctious personalities, as a physical and mental effect.

Culture shock is what happens when foreigners go into other countries and are faced with the overwhelming wave of the new culture that have been placed into. On one side of the spectrums it can be simple things that would just take a day to get used to, while other times it can be almost paralyzing.

“Nothing really surprises me now,” A student from Bosnia, Djordje Sukalo said, “But the experience has been fun. We all speak our own languages, have our own foods, and while we don’t understand each other all the time, it’s interesting.”

But even through all of that, these students still want to be a part of the school’s community and involve themselves. For example, Tamara Woitge, one of the German exchange students, who was a part of the girl’s tennis team, and the fall musical production of “Children of Eden,” plans on auditioning for shorts, and wants to be a part of the soccer team in the spring. These seniors are taking on more clubs than a lot of people will do in their entire high school experience.

“I’ve learned so much,” German student Antonia Hubalek said, “I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve been a part of so far. I’m excited for the rest of the year.”