Foreign exchange students share their American high school experience


Frenge (Germany) and Louvrier (Belgium) enjoy a local restaurant, T-Town Smoothie Cafe.

Elli Chumley, General Staff Writer

As CCCHS starts the 2021-2022 school year, the student body is happy to add five foreign exchange students to their enrollment.

Three European countries–Spain, Belgium, and Germany–and one Asian country–Thailand–are being represented at CCCHS. 

Anna Sauer of Bevern, Germany gave a little bit of background as to why she chose to be a foreign exchange student: her mother was also an international student during one of her high school years in Oklahoma. 

American movies’ portrayal of high school also played a factor in Sauer’s desire to be a foreign exchange student. Sauer says “… the high school life, the yellow school bus… the lockers” were all things she wanted to witness in person.

So far, some of Sauer’s expectations of American high school have been met: the popularity of participating in school sports has been a highlight of hers so far. Lady Raiders Soccer is happy to announce Sauer as its newest member of the team.

Along with school sports, school spirit is another thing Sauer has found to echo the cliche American movies, but she does say it’s like nothing she’s ever experienced before–in a good way. “This feeling,” she explains, “We don’t have that in Germany.”

Solene Louvrier of Mons, Belgium, who became an international student in order to become fluent in English, meet new people, and mature, gives her view on American high school. She states that it’s “much easier than in Belgium” because “the teachers are nicer and more understanding” here. 

But with high school, not everything is as glamorous as they make it seem in the movies. Sauer and Louvrier say the full hallways, stressful time in between classes, and longer school days are definitely a downside to the American high school experience. 

In Germany and Belgium, students don’t change classrooms; the teachers do. Students are with the same classmates all day long, and they get around 15-minute breaks in between each class. That’s definitely an adjustment from the American norm.

Another adjustment the two have had to face, which doesn’t hone in on their American high school experience but just their American experience in general, is the abundance of fast food restaurants and how often people eat at them.

Louvrier says one of the major differences between her life here in America and back home in Belgium is that here “we eat a lot of fast food while in Belgium we eat very healthy.”
Sauer agrees with Louvrier that fast food is much more prevalent in the US, but she also adds, “I love fast food!” 

Taking into consideration the typical student life, the school spirit, the sports, the fast food, all of those things are surpassed by people’s kindness and friendliness, according to Louvrier and Sauer.

Louvrier says her favorite thing about all of America so far is how welcoming everyone is. She adds to this by saying CCCHS has treated her “great” with its welcoming people. Sauer agrees, saying the “open-minded friendliness” and how no one is afraid to “express themselves” is one of her favorite things about the American people.