Students from other countries participate in foreign exchange program to experience new culture

“Alright, have a good first day of school, don’t be nervous, you’ll have fun.” The passenger door closes, and the driver drives away. The new student clenches the straps of their back pack and begins heading towards the entrance of the school. Their feet drag as they are hesitant to walk inside, their stomach turns, and they feel sick. As they walked inside, their eyes begin to look in all directions, especially at the hundreds of students filling the cafeteria running around and yelling. The whistle blows and suddenly the kids begin heading to class. With their schedule clenched in one hand, the backpack strap in the other, they read the room number and head to their first class at the new school. Starting at a new school can be overwhelming, encountering a new culture only makes things more difficult.

Junior Giovanni Beretta came to Bryan from Brazil as a foreign exchange student and acknowledges that the process had many obstacles. 

“I had to go to an agency and talk to the administration of it to get approval,” Giovanni said. “I also had to sign many papers, and it took a lot of time to get approved.”

Giovanni decided to become a foreign exchange student to fulfill his desire to experience different cultures. 

“I always wanted to learn about new cultures,” Giovanni said, “especially American culture because I watch a lot of American movies such as High School Musical. I wanted to compare the movie to see if that’s what actual American schools are like. I also want to improve my English.” 

The environment in Brazil is much different compared to Texas, and it took him a while to adjust to his new temporary home. 

“It is very hot, and it’s basically summer all year long in Brazil,” Giovanni said. “But here in Texas, the weather went from hot to warm to cold very quickly.”

Junior Margherita Trichilo came to Bryan from Italy as a foreign exchange student and takes this as an opportunity to improve herself. 

“I would like to speak English as my second language.” Margherita said. “I also think being a foreign exchange student is an opportunity to grow as a person.”

Margherita was excited to come to high school in the US to experience different activities Bryan High offers. 

“I was really looking forward to all the school stuff when I knew I was coming to Bryan High,” Margherita said. “I was mostly excited to experience activities like football games, other sports, band, and Shy-Annes.”

The experience of a foreign exchange student is not limited to the classroom but expands to encompass the culture and traditions of the country they are visiting.

  “I’m really looking forward to experiencing Thanksgiving,” Giovanni said. “From what I know Americans, have a big feast and mostly watch football, so I’m excited to be part of that.”

Although coming to a new school in a new country is a thrilling experience, there are also some negatives about it.

“Bryan High is really big compared to schools back home,” Giovanni said. “It takes too long to get from one class to another because they are so far apart.”

Even though it is a regular high school, being a foreign exchange student in a completely new environment is hard to adjust too. 

“It took a lot of time and I’m trying to understand everyone’s point of view of things,” Margherita said. “But with the help of my friends and the people I’ve met, I was able to adjust quickly.”

Besides school life, Giovanni also enjoys different activities around Bryan/College Station to do for fun and likes the different variety. 

“I enjoy different places around town to do for fun,” Giovanni said. “I like going ice skating, I like going to the mall, and of course, Chick-fil-la.”

Eventually, they have to return home and say goodbye to not only Bryan High but the different people they’ve met along their journey. 

“When I have to leave from here I’m going to miss a lot of things,” Margherita said. “I’m going to miss my friends that have helped me along this experience and my host family, but the experience has been great.”