WHS Exchange Students Visit from Around the World

Left+to+Right%3A+Drupak%2C+Pardo%2C+Plaumann%2C+Ohlsson%2C+Issa%0A

Kendall Savopoulos

Left to Right: Drupak, Pardo, Plaumann, Ohlsson, Issa

Written by Lucie Plaumann and Kendall Savopoulos, The Woodgrove Outlander

Five foreign exchange students attend WHS this year from all around the world. The Woodgrove Outlander staff had a Q&A in order to get to know these students a bit better.

Foreign Exchange Students:

Tasawar Drupak, Age 16

City: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Wilma Ohlsson, Age 17

City: Örkelljunga, Sweden

Lucie Plaumann, Age 16

City: Berlin, Germany

Blanca Alaejos Pardo, Age 16

City: Gines, Spain

Mohammad Bani Issa,  Age 16

City: Amman, Jordan

Questions &Answers:

  1. Question: How is America different than your country?

Anwers:

Tasawar: The stores where you can buy items you need are pretty far away.

Wilma: The hamburgers are bigger and the things in the grocery stores are way more      expensive.

Lucie: Driving age—you have to be 18 in Germany.

Blanca: One of the biggest differences is school. We don’t have clubs, sports, dances or any other kind of activity at school. Also, we can’t choose whatever subject we want, and we don’t have classes with people from other grades.

Mohammad: Everything, especially education.

 

2. Question: What has been your favorite part about America?

Answers:

Tasawar: The people‘s attitudes! I had a different image of Americans, but being here, I have seen how friendly and amazing the people are.

Wilma: Walmart—It`s so American and so cool.

Lucie: The burgers are really good.

Blanca: My favorite part of America so far is that teachers and students make an effort to make school fun, or at least they try to.

Mohammad: My friends and my host family.

 

3. Question: Why did you want to come to America?

Answers:

Tasawar: To be honest, I didn’t really think about it. Yes, I did want to be able to adapt and be responsible for myself, but at the same time, it hadn’t dawned on me that I’m going to a foreign country for a year until I was mid-air halfway across the world.

Wilma: I want to experience the American culture and high school.

Lucie: Mostly because I want to learn English and become more confident, independent, and responsible.

Blanca: I wanted to learn about the culture here, in a country where you can find a lot of diversity and cultures mixed up. You might think that the customs in America and many parts of Europe are similar, but then when you come here and live like an American teenager, you find all these little differences that form the culture.

Mohammad: To represent my country and know more about American culture.

 

4. Question: What do you want to do most to experience American culture?

Answers:

Tasawar: I definitely want to go bowling. Oh, and McDonalds too!

Wilma: I want to celebrate Thanksgiving and ride the school bus.

Lucie: Eat in all the different fast food restaurants and try all the food and activities we don`t have in Germany.

Blanca: I really want to visit different parts of the country. Because it’s such a big country, customs change from one part to another, so I’d like to visit other parts to really learn about American culture and not only the culture of our area.

Mohammad: Going to every historical place or festival.

 

5. Question: What were stereotypes about America that were true? What have you found to be false?

Answers:

Tasawar: Not True :I used to think that all Americans were morbidly obese and that many Americans aren’t inclusive. True: I have found that everyone is very inclusive and it’s amazing.

Wilma: True: American kids are spoiled with opportunities that they don’t seem to appreciate. Not true: Everyone in America is fat.

Lucie: True: Americans eat fast food all the time and sports are a big deal. Not true: Americans are fat.

Blanca: True: school is very, very easy, and you don‘t even need to study. The food is bad, nobody walks, everybody drives everywhere, and you guys LOVE your country. Not true: You are all super fat and everyone loves Obama.

Mohammad: True: The education is easier.  Not true: America is like the movies.

 

6. Question: What activities do you do in your country?

Answers:

Tasawar: I spend most of my time studying. Other than that, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing video games, and playing with my band. My absolute most favorite thing to do is to play concerts and attend them as well.

Wilma: We do stuff that Americans do. We just don’t drive because you have to be 18.

Lucie: Meeting my friends, going out on weekends, and going to concerts and festivals.

Blanca: I played volleyball, but because we don’t have sports in school, not everybody plays a sport like here. When we hang out with our friends, we usually meet at one place at one time and then talk and walk around the town or city. We also go to clubs and that kind of stuff.

Mohammad: Soccer and hiking.

 

7. Question: What do you miss about your country?

Answers:

Tasawar: I definitely miss my family and friends. I also miss the food. Don’t get me wrong, my host mother is an amazing cook, but after a point, you really miss the food back home.

Wilma: The chocolate and the water from the sinks. Public water tastes like a swimming pool.

Lucie: Bread and chocolate—These are a lot better in Germany—and family and friends of course.

Blanca: I miss my friends and my family. (You have to say it even if it’s not true.) I miss my dog, the food, and being able to walk everywhere. I also miss the nice weather and getting up at 7:30 instead of 6:30.

Mohammad: The food.

 

8. Question: Do you struggle with communication?

Answers:

Tasawar: I don`t think so. It was a bit difficult to adjust to an all-English environment at first, but it got a lot easier over time.

Wilma: Sometimes, but I know how Google translate works, so that‘s good.

Lucie: It was a little difficult at the beginning because I was afraid of saying or pronouncing something wrong.

Blanca: Not really. Of course, there are some times when I  don’t know how to express myself as I want to, but in general I communicate well in English. Other times, I don’t understand at all what people are telling me, and I just nod and smile.

Mohammad: Sometimes.

 

9. Question: What is your favorite American food?

Answers:

Tasawar: Burgers! Burgers! Burgers!

Wilma: Five Guys.

Lucie: Twinkies.

Blanca: Burgers? I’m not really a fan of American food. Sorry. Well, I do like peanut butter, but I don’t think you need to put it EVERYWHERE.

Mohammad: Burgers.

 

10. Question: What was your first impression about America?

Answers:

Tasawar: “Did I just step into a Hollywood movie set?“ I literally said this and then I left the confines of the airport to beautiful VA.

Wilma: Everything is bigger here in America.

Lucie: Everything is big in America.

Blanca: Everyone is really nice!

Mohammad: America is great.

 

11. Question: What don’t you like about America?

Answers:

Tasawar: The cold! The temperatures are way too cold even though it’s just fall right now. I was looking forward to seeing snow for the first time, but now, not so much.

Wilma: Everything depends on a car. If you don’t have a car, you get limited on stuff to do.

Lucie: You need a car for going somethere… there are no public buses or trains, and shampoo is more expensive.

Blanca: Sandals or flip flops with socks. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Mohammad: Nothing.