Exchanging Thoughts and Experiences

Photo of Kilian Zimmermann, german foreign exchange student, 12, provided by  G. Cowsert.

Photo of Kilian Zimmermann, german foreign exchange student, 12, provided by G. Cowsert.

Every year, the high school gets a few foreign exchange students, this year is no different. They come from different parts of the world and many have different outlooks on being a student in a foreign country.

“I wanted to learn about other cultures and [have] new experiences… I get a lot of experiences and a lot of stuff that I’ve never done before in Thailand. Like cooking, baking, or golf. I thought it was fun,” Ina Maisuk, Thai foreign exchange student, 12, said.

Studying in another country may seem fun, but a student must consider if studying abroad is the right fit for them.

“I think it depends. For me, I don’t have a problem with living away from my home town for 10 months. Sometimes it’s hard, you miss your family, but if you like spending time abroad and if you don’t have a problem leaving your family, I would advise it,” Kilian Zimmermann, German foreign exchange student, 12, said.

Despite the challenges that may come with being an exchange student, it also creates good memories.

There’s going to be bad moments at the beginning or when you miss your family. It’s going to get better and it’s a unique experience. You meet new people, new cultures, and [learn a new] language. You’re going to have half your heart stay here,” Olatz Fernandes Uriarte, Italian exchange student, 12, said.

There is a common theme between all of the exchange students; if a student chooses to attend high school in a different country, they must keep an open mind.

“It will be hard, but you can do it. You have to take a little bit of time to adapt to the place that you go. You have to have an open mind. [Be open to] opportunities that come to you. Just do everything,” Maisuk said.

Making friends can be hard at first, but getting involved can help a student meet new people.

“I think, especially here in the U.S, you have to participate in a lot of things. Not just go to school and go home and do nothing… Be open to everybody. Talk to everybody. Do school sports, do theater, do other sports, do whatever. Especially be open to talk to everybody and be nice, polite, and represent your country,” Zimmermann said.