CHS Exchange Students: First Impressions


2022-2023 Chelsea High School exchange students. (Photo credit: Megan Boughton)

The international exchange program at Chelsea High School is one of its most valued and unique courses with students from all over the world coming to experience life in American schools. 

Meet eight out of the eleven exchange students this year: Sara Marietti (‘23) from Italy, Vittoria Moine (‘23)  from Italy, Guido De Geronimo (‘23)  from Italy, Angela Perez Iglesias (‘25) from Spain, Paula Molina Guerra (‘25) from Spain, Ngoc Tao (‘23) from Vietnam, Emma Anderson (‘23) from Sweden, and Cristina Marin Hurtado (‘25) from Spain. 

Most of these students have been in the United States for about two months and so far have enjoyed their time here. Although all of the students agree that the US is very different from their home country, they believe that this year will hold much excitement, new adventures, and amazing opportunities. 

The expectations and impressions of these students have varied, however, many of Chelsea’s exchange students have expressed similar views about Chelsea High School and collectively agree that the most difficult part of living in America so far is the language.

“I feel that classes are easier here than in Italy,” Moine of Italy said. “But for me, the different language is harder than anything right now.” 

Another shocking difference for the exchange students was the difficulty of the classes. And no—to most—classes here are not harder, but rather easier than classes back home.

“Math is much easier,” Tao of Vietnam said. “Maybe I’m just not used to American schools yet but I will say that most classes are easier.”

The classes that seem regular or difficult to most CHS students are viewed as simple to a few of our new students from across the globe.

“I mean your AP classes are our regular ones,” Anderson of Sweden said. “Now, that doesn’t mean that us Swedes are smart, but a lot of my classes are less stressful here than they are back home.” 

Although taking classes is a large part of the exchange experience, what it all boils down to is the atmosphere. Especially for new students that have never been to an American school before, things like student-teacher relationships are much different than they are here. 

“Here, I feel like the student-teacher relationship is very friend-like,” Molina Guerra of Spain said. “In Spain, our teachers are a lot more strict.”

At most American schools, students use a teacher’s last name to refer to them as a way of demonstrating respect, but in Sweden, that is not always the case.

“At my school we don’t call our teachers by their last names,” Anderson of Sweden said. “We call them by their first names and it is just a lot more casual.”

If CHS students take anything away from this unique program, they should remember what a great opportunity it is to be able to build a community with new people who can give us new perspectives on life.