It can be difficult for new students to adjust — especially if they are coming from a completely different country. This school year, Red Mountain High School received 10 new exchange students from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Vietnam, Brazil, Sweden and Spain. These students all range from sophomores to seniors. For some of the exchange students, coming to the United States is something that they have never done before.
“It’s a lot different here,” sophomore and Swedish exchange student Nora Fuchs said. “This school is a lot bigger than the schools in Switzerland since we only have about 125 students.”
For exchange students, their family members and friends thousands of miles away, it can be difficult to cope with all the unfamiliar faces and places.
“I thought it would be harder, but when I got here, my host family was so open, and they treat me like a part of their own,” Fuchs said. “Of course, I miss my family and friends, but I always know that I will see them again in a year, so it’s not that bad.”
Not only can the schooling be different in the U.S. and in Arizona, but so can other factors such as the city and the scenery.
“Sometimes this can be good, but something that bothers me is that the city is too quiet, and you can’t see big buildings,” junior and Brazilian exchange student Giuliano Picciotto said.
There are also exciting events that come along with traveling the world like seeing new attractions such as the Grand Canyon or Antelope Canyon and even meeting new faces that make the experience all worth it.
“Some things that have been fun are making friends, hanging out with them and learning about the culture and language, slang terms for example,” Picciotto said.
Exchange students have goals, hopes and dreams that they wish to accomplish and make a reality during the time they are here.
“I want to accumulate as much of the American culture as I can and share what is different from my country, I think that living as an American teenager is a whole different world, and I feel like I’m going to keep this with me forever,” senior and Italian exchange student Matteo Pozzi said.
Being an exchange student can be hard at times, but everyone can contribute to help these students feel safer and more welcomed. For more information on the exchange program, contact Jerzy Wasilewski in the Advisement Office.
– Brianna Lemus is a sophomore at Red Mountain High School.