FEATURE — October 9, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Exchanged

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This is Juliana Anzai, a foreign exchange student at MSD from Brazil.
Juliana Anzai, a foreign exchange student at MSD from Brazil

The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is a study-abroad opportunity for adolescents to spend up to a full year as an international student.  The teens involved in this program can go almost anywhere in the world to study.  Many Marjory Stoneman Douglas students do not even realize that there is a plethora of foreign exchange students from all edges of the globe among them.

These foreign exchange students agree that almost everything in this country varies remarkably from what they have been accustomed to.  The type of food,  the types of sports, and the way of life at school has been a huge adjustment.

According to multiple foreign exchange students at MSD, there are several significant differences in the school system here compared to the country they are from. Contrasting to schools in the United States, many other schools around the world have much shorter school days. Another common difference involves the class rotation that most American high school classes have. In a lot of other countries, the teachers change classrooms instead of the students. Despite these differences, exchange students have reported that the value of this experience has been priceless.

“My family encouraged me to take this opportunity to be an exchange student,” junior Juliana Anzai says. “I miss my family and friends, but my new host family here is wonderful and very understanding, so I don’t feel so homesick. Also, I am making such great friends. I really like the diversity of classes in the school and how each student can choose their own schedule.”

Juliana Anzai, just one of the numerous exchange students, transferred to MSD from São Paulo, Brazil with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. She has greatly enjoyed her experience in a new country and hopes to encourage more people to become a part of this program.

The great majority of the foreign exchange students at MSD only had positive things to say about their time in a new country. The Rotary Youth Program is an amazing program for students to make unique experiences and learn more about different cultures and ways of life around the world.

“I do not miss one particular person but more the feeling of home,” German exchange student Noelia Meier says. “At first it was difficult to live with people I didn’t know but after some time my host family became just like my real family.”

Lauren Newman

Lauren is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is the an editor for the school news magazine, The Eagle Eye. She is also a senior class senator and president of Mu Alpha Theta.

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