FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA

PHS welcomes a new batch of foreign exchange students

Chase Anderson

More stories from Chase Anderson

FIGHTING TOOTH AND CLAW
November 1, 2022
+Belgian+exchange+student+Nathan+Dupont+stands+and+cheers+with+seniors+Yared+Robirds+and+Ryan+Cordes+at+a+home+football+game.+Football+is+just+one+of+the+many+activities+offered+at+PHS+that+is+different+from+other+countries.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Wise

Belgian exchange student Nathan Dupont stands and cheers with seniors Yared Robirds and Ryan Cordes at a home football game. Football is just one of the many activities offered at PHS that is different from other countries.

Covid-19 guidelines have relaxed and even disappeared completely; as a result, football games, dress up weeks, and various school events are ready to be enjoyed. Four new students from across the world join PHS as the 2022-2023 school year begins, with all the typical American high school festivities in full swing.

Among the exchange students are Nathan Dupont from Belgium and Ine Kollstad from Norway. PHS has managed to have a flourishing foreign exchange program, despite setbacks during the pandemic.

“The first time I discovered the possibility of going for a year as an exchange student was when one of my cousins ​​went to the USA for a year,” Nathan Dupont said. “Because of the pandemic, I missed a lot of travel, so I really wanted to discover the world after all the confinements.”

The United States public school system is different from other countries in many ways. 

In many foreign countries, schools focus more on the academic side of education and less on extracurriculars. American schools tend to put more emphasis on athletics than other countries. 

“American school events like homecoming [seem exciting],” Dupont said. “One thing that made me want to come to the United States is the sports system which is very intense and very well done. I can’t wait to practice the sports I did in Belgium here to see the difference.”

“I don’t know how people here balance school, sports, and work,” Kollstad said.

Internationally, Americans may have less than favorable reputations. However, PHS’ foreign exchange students vouched for the opposite. 

“My first impression of Americans was that almost everybody is very friendly,” Kollstad said. “In Norway you would never greet a stranger or even smile. I wouldn’t say I’m experiencing major culture shock, but people here are more extroverted than back home.”

My first impression of Americans was that almost everybody is very friendly. In Norway, you would never greet a stranger or even smile. I wouldn’t say I’m experiencing major culture shock, but people here are more extroverted than back home.”

— Ine Kollstad

Although the United States has many things to offer, being so far from home can be a difficult experience.

“Naturally, I feel more distant to both my friends and family,” Kollstad said. “I feel like I’m doing a good job keeping contact, even though it’s hard with the eight hour time difference.” 

At the end of the school year, all foreign exchange students will return home with their memories and experiences of their time in America.