Ever considered how Chelsea High School holds up internationally? Well these girls have — they’re living the international lifestyle! Meet four of this year’s exchange students: Mild Youngsaybe from Thailand, Crystal Jia from China, Emilie Dael from France, and Nina Wallner from Austria. Most have been here for about two months and have seen a lot since arriving in the United States. Their expectations and impressions may be different than what we as Americans would expect.
Many of Chelsea’s exchange students had similar expectations about Chelsea High School and American schools in general; they didn’t expect to get as much freedom in regards to choosing their classes, and they also were expecting to attend more than five classes a day. “It is completely different than my expectations in terms of scheduling.” Wallner, of Austria, said. Thailand’s Youngsaybe agreed, saying, “It’s different from my school in [my] home country too. In Thailand we have lot[s] of classes to take and we have to take them all. We can’t choose the classes but most of the school[s] in Thailand [allow you to] choose what program you want to take such as science and math or arts and languages.” It turns out Chelsea students have many more options available to them in terms of classes than our global counterparts.
Another shocking difference for the exchange students was the size of CHS. “CHS is totally different than my school in France. At the beginning I was lost because of the size of the high school, but now it’s okay,” said Dael. Jia agreed that our school is much different than she expected, saying “Chelsea High School is different from my Chinese school. In my school, there are many buildings and four to six floors [in] each building.”
Although they had different expectations coming to CHS, all said that they have learned a lot. “Everyday I learn something in the classes or about the culture and the people,” said Dael. Our exchange students also like the teachers and feel the academic pressure that the rest of us do. “In my opinion you get a pretty good support from teachers and you always know who you can talk to if you have difficulties,” Wallner explained.
Now for the real test: how does “The Home of the Bulldogs” compare to these foreign students’ schools back in their own country? Their schools and teachers are quite different. “In Austria most of the teachers are quite strict and you just talk to them if you have a class with them, but here the teachers are much more open-minded and act more like a friend than a teacher — especially when you see them in the hallways.” Wallner said. Youngsaybe also talked about her homeland teachers, explaining, “Because we have different cultures, in Thailand we must always feel appreciative and the teachers treat the students like their kids, and we also have teachers day. However, here I feel that the teachers treat the students like friends and I think both of them are good things. I can’t decide which one is better.”
The teachers’ attitudes toward their students are different throughout the world, as is the way schools are structured, as proven by the different perspectives our exchange students at Chelsea High bring to us. Whether we realize it or not, we are very lucky that we have the opportunity to interact with people with such diverse backgrounds, and are able to see what various cultures are like.