Story by Zakiya Austin, Raleigh Norris, Lindsay Long

IMG_9899

Photo by Raleigh Norris

America has been the land of opportunity for those looking to make a better life for themselves, or trying to find their place in this world. Such a unique blending of ethnicities, nationalities and cultures is why this country is known as the melting pot.

“I’ve daydreamed of coming to America,” Spanish exchange student junior Angela Garcia-Lopez said. “My parents have come here before so they knew what it was like. My friends wanted me to take them with me.”

Students from all over the world are selected to experience different world customs and learn new things both academically and culturally. This opportunity is not taken lightly by the selected students.

“I was really happy when I joined this program. My families were just very happy and really excited like me,” junior Vietnamese exchange student Tam Vo said. “The day before I left, they gave me some events and it was a little sad, not much, but a little.”

Though many different cultures are represented in the United States and at Dutch Fork High School, the students who come from foreign countries find it to be very different than home.

“It’s 100% different. In my country, it’s not very comfortable and people live very fast; their lifestyle’s fast and they’re very traditional,” Tam said. “We wear uniforms to school and we have some rules and in school we have to study thirteen subjects. That’s what’s the most different.”

These students also seem to agree upon the unique nature of our school system. Junior  Matteo Nardininelli, an exchange student from Italy, even goes as far as to say he wouldn’t go back home if he could.

“I wouldn’t because the Italian study system is really hard,” Matteo said. “And it’s a lot of fun here.”

Each student has a different reason for wanting to come to America and be a part of the learning environment at Dutch Fork.

“[I hope to gain] a lot of new friends, friendship and relationship with my host family,” Matteo said.

         “It’s very important and not everyone gets this opportunity,” Matteo said.

          The United States is a very popular place for students from foreign countries to study, but it is not the only place that students would like the opportunity to travel to.

         “I would go to the United KingdomUK because they have great universities,” Angela said.

          Matteo expressed that he would go to Canada because it is a lot like the American school system.

         What really makes students from foreign countries gravitate toward America is the acceptance of other cultures and the integration of these cultures into one big American culture.

        “The cultural, of course, that’s different,” Tam said. “The food, the lifestyle, the food, is all different.”