Finding a new home in America

Dec. 8, 2004, midnight | By Kelly Ferguson | 19 years, 7 months ago

Indonesian exchange student attends Blair

Most students at Montgomery Blair have become accustomed to the annual hustle and bustle of the school day. They know to expect large masses of people moving in the same direction at one time and how to locate classes at the opposite ends of the building. But consider the experience of a newcomer to the United States with a mediocre knowledge of the English language. This situation is a reality for international exchange student Mutti Anggitta, a junior who has moved to the United States for a year from Indonesia.

The Program of Academic Exchange (PAX) sponsored Anggitta's trip to America. According to its website, PAX, founded in 1990, is a "non-profit educational organization that promotes and arranges international student exchange to foster the positive development of the world's young people and to support international peace, friendship and cross-cultural understanding." PAX receives financial support from outside groups in order to provide exchange opportunities to high school students around the globe.

Anggitta, a seventeen-year-old, arrived in the United States in August. After her arrival, Anggitta was very excited about the year ahead. "I wanted to come to the United States to practice my English, enrich my knowledge and experience, and to share my culture," she says.

Anggitta's host family is Dr. Yvette Butler and her daughter Nesreen Butler-Hill, an eighth grader at Takoma Park Middle School. Butler learned about the opportunity to have an exchange student through a website posted on the Takoma Park web page. She immediately responded, expressing her interest in being a host for an international student. "I felt that since I've lived in foreign countries myself and have experienced other cultures, I wanted to provide the opportunity for an exchange student to come live in the States," says Butler.

Butler tries to maintain the family dynamic for their exchange students as well as help them to adjust to the American way of life. Anggitta has enjoyed activities such as sporting events and movies with her host family. "I want to expose [Mutti] to as much as possible," says Butler. Open communication is an important characteristic for the families. "The most important thing we do is keep talking and asking questions," states Lewis.

Thus far, Anggitta has enjoyed her experiences in America. "I like the technology and the good people," she says. "It's more clean here and America is very multicultural," says Anggitta. Anggitta also appreciates the simpler things that America has to offer. "I love the junk food like chips and the chocolate candy bar. Wow," she says.

Anggitta also has high expectations about what she will learn as a result of their trip to the United States. "I want to learn English and learn about other cultures," she says.

Tags: print Cultural Connection

Kelly Ferguson. Kelly Ferguson has survived three long years in the Communication Arts Program and is excited to finally be a senior. She was born on April 9, 1987 and has lived in Silver Spring, MD her entire life. She has one sister named Korie who is … More »

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