Students focus on foreign exchange programs
February 21, 2012
‘Everything is way bigger’ on this journey
When asked about her first impressions of America, Perrine Moser, a foreign exchange student from Switzerland, said, “Everything is way bigger, like the streets, grocery stores, cars, portions of food.” Similar to her “big impressions” of America, Perrine is currently experiencing a “big journey.”
Perrine said she could not choose where she wanted to go for the foreign exchange problem, but she’s really happy that she ended up in Issaquah.
This year, Perrine began attending Issaquah High School as a junior. She said a big difference between the Swiss and American school systems is that Swiss students take about six more classes than America students, which makes Swiss school days four hours longer than the average American school day.
Perrine also noticed that the foods in America and Switzerland are very similar, since there are so many restaurant chains and imported goods from around the world, although she said she was surprised to see Americans use microwave ovens because people in Switzerland think they are unhealthy.
After experiencing a half-year in Issaquah, Perrine has fallen in love with America, although she joked, “…Americans should really change their cheese…”
Students look back fondly on time here
Former Liberty High School exchange students Shunya Asano and Ida Bakke are back in their native countries, but they still look back fondly on their time in the United States.
Asano is from Japan, and attended Liberty two years ago as a sophomore. He was a member of the Liberty swim team and was one of four students on the relay team that finished ninth in state in the 200 medley relay. In his year away from Japan, he was grateful for the opportunity to take in United States culture.
“My best memories in the U.S. are feeling a different culture,” Asano said. “I want to study in the U.S. for the future.”
Bakke, from Norway, also hopes to study in the United States again. She participated in track and cross country at Liberty as a junior last year. She said her plans for next year include working and traveling around the world. If she attends college in Norway, she will try to study abroad again, because she so enjoyed her experiences in Washington last year.
“I miss the people and I miss Liberty,” Bakke said. “I just miss how friendly and happy everyone was.”
Students bring diversity to program
“What are the real international aspects of Skyline?”
One answer is Louise Åkerblom, a junior at Skyline High School this year.
Åkerblom was born in Sweden and since then she has lived in England, Sri Lanka, Denmark, and now here in America. Louise said that the biggest change she has experienced as a student at Skyline is stellar school spirit.
“One of my biggest memories from starting at Skyline would have to be my first assembly,” Åkerblom said. “The assembly had a school band, cheerleaders and students presenting, while in my old school we only had the principal or coordinator talking.”
What about coursework? Åkerblom thinks that “the difficulty level here is much higher, which is a great thing, as this leads to students working harder.”
Although school is more difficult, Åkerblom is pleased with her environment.
“Now that I have settled in, I couldn’t be happier to attend this school,” she said.
From China to Fall City, via the plateau
It’s common knowledge that the students at Eastside Catholic High School lead very different lives than those in foreign nations.
There is no better example of this than Jazi Jia, an exchange student from the bustling city of Nanking, China.
With a population of more than 8 million people, the change from living in a huge, urban metropolis to quaint Fall City, where her host family resides, was staggering. However, Jazi seems to prefer the small-town American lifestyle, saying that her favorite thing about the United States is “the fresh air and the fresh water. And the nice people here.”
After previously visiting the U.S. to attend school, Jazi loved the American educational system, especially the small class sizes. She also enjoyed the culture here so much that she decided to come back and finish her high school career in the states.
Jazi enjoys painting and dancing, and loves participating in ECHS’ arts program. Despite the differences between Nanking and the Sammamish Plateau, Jazi has found a home away from home with her host family and all of her new friends at ECHS.