Welcoming Students from Around the World

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Welcoming Students from Around the World

Ainsley Gordon, Copy Editor

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There’s no place like home when they’re on the other side of the world.

The foreign exchange students have found a temporary place to stay for the school year, but it’s nothing like their home countries.

In the 2016-17 school year, there are 11 foreign exchange students from seven different countries from the programs of Education First (EF) and Academic Year in the U.S.A. (AYUSA). There are many differences between their home countries and America. Most of the student’s expectations of American high school came from movies.

The 11 students are all girls and they came to Bullitt East from Germany, Spain, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Judith Jung, from Switzerland, was placed into the home of Crystal Barr, guidance counselor, seven days into the school year. Barr and her family are an emergency host family, that take in students that need a place to stay.

“This year we are an emergency host family. So if there’s a situation where the foreign exchange student can’t continue living where their living, there’s a variety of reasons, but she’s here with us now, I don’t know how long she’ll be with us,” said Barr.

EF brings students from 13 different countries to America. This year, they brought the majority of the girls to Bullitt East. They bring students from the ages of 15-18, and grades from sophomore, junior, and senior. This year all of the students that exchanged to Bullitt East are seniors.

“They have a very long process, it’s about a year in the process before they can even be a foreign exchange system,” said office staff member and host mom of Francesca Pia, Pam Green.

The other organization that brought one student, Rabea Koop from Germany, was AYUSA. This organization brings students from 16 different countries to the U.S. Also, with this program, high school students are able to apply to study abroad in Germany and Japan.

The differences between the girls home countries and America range from schools to driving. In Yu-han Lai’s school in Taiwan, the students would have to wear uniforms. Whereas, in Koop’s school in Germany, there was no dress code, so that was a big change for some of the girls. At some of the girl’s schools, the teachers behave a lot differently.

“Its very personal, the teachers are very nice to you and it’s more like you talk to a friend,” said Koop.

Lai, Koop, Silvia Gutierrez Valdez and Ariadna Xario from Spain, and Margherita Battistotti from Italy said at their old school, the students would stay in one classroom and the teachers would move between classes to teach.

As for similarities, there were not many. The only similarity that the girls could find, was that people in both schools were nice.

The expectations of America, for most of the girls, came from popular movies. When asked what her expectation was for Bullitt East, Gutierrez Valdes said, “I think that it was like High School Musical.”

One of the main accomplishments for the girls was to improve their English and learn more about the American culture.

“My expectation is to be good in the subjects and also to learn English,” said Battistotti.

“A goal for Francesca, to be more independent, and to be fluent in English,” said Pam Green,  “That’s my goal for her, and to make lots of friends.”

The foreign exchange students will spend the next school year at Bullitt East, making new friends, learning English, and experiencing the American culture.