Foreign Exchange Students Provide Different Insights

Hyo+Kim%2C+Emilie+Vinther%2C+Finn+Schweikart%2C+Imke+Sewing%2C+Malu+Barbian+Magalh%C3%A3es%2C+and+Nata+Sangprakai+were+all+exchange+students+during+the+2018-2019+school+year+at+SCHS.+
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Foreign Exchange Students Provide Different Insights

Hyo Kim, Emilie Vinther, Finn Schweikart, Imke Sewing, Malu Barbian Magalhães, and Nata Sangprakai were all exchange students during the 2018-2019 school year at SCHS.

Hyo Kim, Emilie Vinther, Finn Schweikart, Imke Sewing, Malu Barbian Magalhães, and Nata Sangprakai were all exchange students during the 2018-2019 school year at SCHS.

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Hyo Kim, Emilie Vinther, Finn Schweikart, Imke Sewing, Malu Barbian Magalhães, and Nata Sangprakai were all exchange students during the 2018-2019 school year at SCHS.

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Hyo Kim, Emilie Vinther, Finn Schweikart, Imke Sewing, Malu Barbian Magalhães, and Nata Sangprakai were all exchange students during the 2018-2019 school year at SCHS.

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Foreign exchange students are some of the most interesting people that you will meet, as they can sometimes speak at least three languages and have a different culture. Although they are all alone at first, they are able to connect with other students, and they are given the opportunity to compare new things that they have experienced in America with things from their home.

Imke Sewing, from Hanover, Germany, has chosen to study in the United States. Here for the full year as a junior, this German student really has enjoyed her time here. “I’m learning a bunch of new things, and [I’m] meeting very cool people,” she said. The most enjoyable thing she has encountered has been the school spirit, as “everyone is so proud of their school teams.”

Sewing wasn’t the only student who noticed the difference in school spirit between American schools and their home country schools. Finn Schweikart, from Düsseldorf, Germany, also enjoyed the school spirit of American students. He likes how people stick together through school pride, as he said, “Everyone at my school, they don’t hate [school spirit], but they hide it.”

Another different that many exchange students noticed immediately was the cuisine.  Malu Barbian Magalhães, an exchange student from Brazil, said she relished some of the American foods she has tried. “I loved trying cheesecake and caramel frappuccinos.” Even though she enjoyed our food, she did remark on how it is not the same type of quality that she is used to. “In my country, we eat more homemade food, and here it is more industrialized… It has a good taste, but it is not really healthy,” she said.  She went on to explain some of the differences she noticed between the two countries. “At home, we eat rice and beans everyday. It’s a Brazilian tradition and we love it! But the flavor of rice and beans in the U.S. is very different, as the beans come in cans, and the rice comes in packages ready-to-eat. In Brazil, we get them pure and we cook them ourselves, just like with everything else.” This contrast is the biggest difference for her, as homemade food is very different from processed, in quality and in taste.

While the exchanges students came to the United States expecting differences, one that has surprised them has been the friendliness of Americans.  “The way people are a lot more open and always making small talk makes a nicer atmosphere. It is the way people act in public. Whenever you are in a store, people always start small talk, and it makes them seem a lot more friendly and open,” Imke said, as she’s not very used to such an outgoing nature like that in Germany.  

But one downfall of the American way of life that many of our foreign students noticed was in transportation.  Finn emphasized the lack of public transportation here in Georgetown, and noted that, “if you don’t have a car and no one can take you places, you’re stuck.” He definitely has a point, as other students who can’t drive have struggled with that themselves.

The foreign exchange students can all agree that this has been a good learning experience for them. No one really knew what to expect, but Imke concluded, “It is not as hard for me to be away from home as I thought it would be.”