Foreign Exchange

Nicole Salcido, writer

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With a love of travel and experiencing new cultures, our foreign exchange students decided to come the United States to learn new cultural ways in a completely different country than their own. Buckeye Union High School has been privileged to have four foreign exchange students this year. Omayma Azouhri is a junior from Germany, Camilla Albring is a junior from Denmark, Daniel Stromvall is a freshman from Sweden, and Hinako Ota is a junior from Japan. The city of Buckeye has been a big change for all of them.

“Compared to Arizona, Denmark is so different. Its super cold in Denmark, all the time pretty much. We have about 200 rain days a year. And a lot of green stuff, like forest and sea. I love that it is so different. I mean, I didn’t become an exchange student to experience the same thing,” said Camilla.

Being a foreign exchange student is a big commitment. They had to experience having a host family, a new school, a new language, and being far from home for a whole school year, immersing themselves in the culture and learning all they can about the United States. What do they have in common? They all chose the United States as the place that they would spend for in a year.

“I was only ever planning to go to the USA, like I would not go anywhere else. The main reason why I did it is because I was planning to study in the U.S.. I didn’t want to pay for college and go there and realize it’s not how I expected. Plus,  I saw high school musical and that was inspiring,” explained Omayma.

In being in a new country, you have to experience a new school and maybe be in a few clubs, sports, or activities, which isn’t for everyone especially if you do not speak the native language of the country. Camilla and Omayma seem to be the two girls to be involved in sports which include cross country and tennis. While Daniel and Hinako are still adjusting to the American life, Hinako has been involved in choir.

“I came here to improve my English. There is a university I want to get into and learning English would help me get into it. There is nowhere to practice [English] in Japan so I came here,” said Hinako.

One of the major differences for the European students was that the classes in the U.S. are the same classes every day for a semester and then you switch but continue to have the same classes (unless you have AB schedule of course!), while in Europe it is very different.

“School here is much more repetitive. In Sweden we do not have the same classes every day, we have different classes every day. We have about 15 classes a year,” explained Daniel.

“Another thing that is different is that we don’t switch classes, the teachers switch classes. We stay in the same room all day,” explained Camilla. In the foreign exchange experience, there can be that one person you remember for the rest of your life as your friend and role model. For this question, Omayma was the one who gave the most enthusiastic response.

“My friend Miguel Ochoa. I don’t think I have meet such a better person. He cares so much about people. He inspires me every day. I love the how he finds solutions to all the problems, he doesn’t just assume. He sees both sides of the story before making an opinion. If he will be doing something and you need him, he makes time to meet to your needs.”

As well as enjoying the experience of being a foreign exchange student, some of them have even taken a liking to the different cultural foods available in the United States.

“Panda Express! I love Panda Express. We have Subway in Denmark but we do not have Panda Express,” affirmed Camilla.

Ooooooo I love Mexican food. It is my favorite!” exclaimed Omayma.

All in all our foreign exchange students have had an unforgettable experience to talk about for ages. When asked if they would recommend foreign exchange to anyone, they replied:

“Definitely. It has been a life changing experience,” said Daniel.

“Yes definitely! I did stuff I was supposed to do and stuff I wasn’t supposed to do and it has been the best experience of my life,” said Omayma

“Definitely. It was an amazing experience,” said Hinako.

“Definitely. It has been the best year of my life. I am a whole new person. Not only do you learn about the place, you meet people you meet for your whole life. You have a 2nd life and a 2nd home. I plan on coming here again even after I leave,” said Camilla.

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Foreign Exchange