Exchange Students Immerse Themselves In Cougar Culture


Katie Hottell and Ella Bowman

This year, the school welcomes four foreign exchange students. As the students settle into their temporary host homes, they are learning more about American culture and classic American favorites. 

The students have found the environment in America to be much different than that in their home country. Foreign exchange student Vlad Pavlenko is from Ukraine and has been in America for around ten months.  

“Firstly, it was absolutely different from Ukraine and it took me time to get used to everything, but now I feel more comfortable and used to everything,” Pavlenko said.

Spanish foreign exchange student Inge Urretavizcaya  claims that the biggest difference with life in America versus in Spain is school.

“It’s quite different because you have one main class and you’re always with the same students in Spain whereas here you are with different students in each class and there are more classes,” Urretavizcaya  said.

Despite the differences in environment and struggling to assimilate into a new culture, Urretavizcaya is finding it easy to make friends. 

“Easy to get to know people by talking to them in class, but hard to get to really know them and about what their life is like.” 

Others do not feel that coming from a different culture has made teachers and  students treat them differently. 

“I think I’m being treated like every other student. In the beginning, a teacher helped me with my English,” said Lorenzo Morelli, a student from Italy. 

Half of the foreign students at our school share a liking for American food. When asked about their favorite food from America, they both mentioned a popular fast food restaurant.

“Chick-fil-a because we don’t have it in my home country,” Morelli said. 

Jeongha Lee, a foreign exchange student from South Korea,  also shared a similar answer, “I like Chick-fil-A.”

And even though the students like some food in America, some of our students are really missing what they know best.

“I miss the food very much, mostly a soup called Samgyetang,” Lee said. 

Samgyetang is a soup that consists of a whole young chicken filled with garlic, rice, jujube and ginseng. 

The Students hope to see famous United States landmarks and places. 

“I really want to see some places in California. For example Google Headquarters and Apple because I really like technology,” Pavlenko said. “I also really want to visit New York.”

Some of the exchange students are already very well travelled. Urretavizcaya has visited a total of five other countries outside of Spain and the United States. She has visited Italy, Mocanu, France, Portugal and Costa Rica.

America offers remarkable experiences for these students, but there are some cons to being from a different country. 

“You need a car to go everywhere, and I can’t drive because in Spain, I must be 18 to get my license,” Urretavizcaya  said. 

Even though America offers new and unique experiences, Morelli still favors home over the US. . 

“I like my home country better but that’s probably because I was born and raised there,” Morelli said.