Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Understanding the international student experience

Mariana Cruz
Evora Ferreira Rebelo, Hugo Fristedt, and Daniel Landvad in the OHS hallway.

Most students at OHS have grown up in American schools, with American ideals and American high school traditions.

But what does this feel like to someone who isn’t used to homecoming dances, car culture, and football games? What does it feel like to someone who comes from thousands of miles away just to experience the high school version of America? 

The foreign exchange student program at Olympia High School is extra popular this year. OHS currently has seven foreign exchange students all from different countries with different high school experiences. The journey to leave home and travel all the way to another continent, away from family, friends, and everything familiar for an entire year is remarkably brave.

The transition from home must be difficult but Evora Ferreira Rebelo described it as “an incredible experience.” “The people are so nice and helpful; I can already learn so many new things.” While Hugo Fristedt from Sweden was at first disappointed that his location was Olympia, a town he had never heard of, he quickly grew fond of the people and school and wouldn’t change it if he could.

A big part of this brave choice is the chance of homesickness. While Daniel Landvad and Rebelo from Denmark both agree that homesickness is rare, Fristedt described this feeling as coming in waves. When he received a package from his family filled with Swedish treats, he missed home a little extra. 

One thing that is classically American is fast food. So from the perspective of a non-American, what is truly the best fast-food restaurant? The most popular answer was Chick Fil A, specifically the spicy chicken sandwich, while the most popular candy option was Nerds gummy clusters and Reese’s Pieces. Fristedt also revealed that his favorite Swedish candy is chocolate and Danile’s favorite Danish candy is orange chocolates. 

Foreign school is also drastically different from American school. Between more difficult classes, a different organization, and smaller schools, American and European school systems vary in a multitude of ways. America was commonly described as an easier school, a common stereotype in Europe which according to Fristedt, Landvad, and Rebelo has held itself true here.

Landvad explained that Danish high school starts when students turn 16 and they make the choice of whether to partake in 2, 3, or 5 years of high school. Once students graduate, college is free. Rebelo explained that “in France, you don’t have the same classes every day along with not choosing your own classes.” And in Sweden, students stay in the same class and teachers are the ones to switch periods throughout the day. The adjustment takes some time to get used to, but these exchange students have done an incredible job. 

The biggest thing to question about the exchange program is what made them come here and what makes them want to stay? The collective answers from Fristedt, Rebelo, and Landvad were all the same. High school spirit, love for sports, traditions like homecoming, and the welcoming people make America worth the distance.

OHS has clearly done something right for all of these new students to feel so happy to be here. Not only are all of the exchange students cherishing their time here, but they have also grown to like it so much. Rebelo, Fristedt, and Landvad all agree that so far, America seems like a place they could call their home permanently. 

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About the Contributor
Mariana Cruz
Mariana Cruz, Journalist
Mariana Cruz is a senior at OHS. She is involved in French club and spends lots of time with friends and family. Mariana loves her dog.

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