Exchange students in Jenison, who are them?

March 1, 2023


If you ever wondered who are the exchange students that come to Jenison High School, this article is for you! 

Jenison HS is one of the many schools that accepts foreign students from all over the world. Many of them come from Europe and Asia, and their age can range from 14 to 18. But why did they choose to come here? Felice Seminari, a senior in Jenison High School from Italy, told me:” Coming to the US has always been my dream. Since I was young I have loved English, and I’m glad that I’m here now”. Another factor that many exchange students agree about is the experience of living without their parents for a whole year; moving from their home country to the US is a huge experience for a teenager, and it can be very helpful. Guillermo Brea Diaz, a senior in Jenison high School from Spain, after his second year as an exchange student in the United States, told me: “I could’ve never expected how different it was here from my homeland, but after coming here I started knowing many aspects of living that were very helpful to me”.

Culture shock is a common symptom in exchange students, because of the important changing of the environment. It happens usually during the first months here, as they all agreed on, were the most hard: getting used to a new culture and a new language could be very difficult. Pedro De Noriega Spielberg, a sophomore also in Jenison High School, explained to me his first months: “It wasn’t easy at all. Getting used to English was the hardest part for me, but after I gained more confidence and I made new friends everything was easier”. 

Is it easy to make new friends here? There are many variables, but they all said to me that the first months were very hard because they didn’t have friends. Luckily, Jenison High School’s teacher provided many opportunities to make friends, such as group projects. Guillermo also told me:” I’ve never been a shy person, but of course all the changes from Spain to here made it difficult for me to find new friends. Then time passed and day by day I felt I was improving my social skills while the number of friends kept increasing” 

So far, they all told me they are enjoying this experience, and after all, they are very happy to choose Jenison High School. Felice Seminari told me: “I’m very happy I chose Jenison, and one of the best experience I did was joining the waterpolo varsity team, that made me know a lot of new friends that I am going to remember forever”.

Having exchange students as friends could be also a beautiful experience in your life you: will know a different culture and a bunch of new things. Even though they stay here for just one year, knowing them could really affect your life and you will forever have a friend on the other side of the ocean.

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