The life of a foreign exchange student at Blair
Imagine walking off of a plane, experiencing that first smell that is now foreign but will be in time almost as recognizable as the one from home. Strolling through the aisles, catching glimpses of the landscape through the big paneled windows on either side. After the whole airport ordeal is done with, waiting in anticipation for the first view of your temporary home. Imagine walking into Blair, navigating the traffic on Blair Boulevard and realizing that for the next year, all instruction will be in the form of a language that does not come naturally.
These are the experiences that sophomores Olivia Grabas and Victor Devys have lived through as foreign exchange students in Blair. Both students are here because of the
In comparison with both of these countries educational systems, the U.S. has a system in which there is more liberty. Not only do American students have the freedom to pick electives, but American students interact with one another no matter what each persons academic level is.
Both Devys and Grabas have had many common experiences at Blair. "I get lost because it's so large," Grabas said with a look of humor that expressed her feelings towards the size of the building. "Blair is big with a lot of people," Devys agreed. After the sheer size of Blair, the subjects that caused them the most pain were mentioned. "Journalism is the hardest class because the texts are difficult," Grabas said. Grabas believes that the advanced English used in the news are hard for a person who is accustomed to speaking in German or Polish. "English is the hardest class," Devys said.
Finally the most surprising cultural differences to both students were brought up. "The biggest meal in Germany is lunch," Grabas said. This may seem like a minor detail but as far as culture goes, the importance placed on the largest meal of the day can be meaningful. For Devys, the biggest surprise was the length of free time he would have here. "I do not have time. I never stop working," Devys said.
As with all people who leave their home for a long period of time, both foreign exchange students missed things about their countries. Grabas talked more than Devys about the matter, but they both thought about it for a long time, "I miss my parents. When we were discussing whether to [come to America] or not I thought that leaving my parents for a year would not be a problem. Now that I am here I miss everybody," Grabas stated. Devys also mentioned some sentiments, " When I am in class I think of my friends and I miss them,” Devys added.
Both students are taking advantages of the opportunities they are given at Blair by continuing their studies of foreign languages. Grabas and Devys are studying French and Spanish respectively.
Even being new to Blair, Grabas has taken part in after-school activities. Grabas is on the tennis team. The tennis team has given Grabas the chance to do something that would not be possible back home. "There are no high school sports in Germany," Grabas said.
The life of a foreign exchange student is hard. Living in a different home for one whole year and only being able to talk to one's parents over a phone is difficult, no doubt. But somehow in the face of all these difficulties, students still elect to travel to foreign countries to learn the different ways of living and thinking.
Rohan Oprisko. I'm a person with a fascination for sports. From my experience living in Spain for three years, I realized the one thing that can connect people from diffreent cultures and areas is sports. That is why I am very excited to be one of the ... More »