Exchange Students Join Student Body


BACK HOME: Iman and her friends stand in front of a river back home in Malaysia. “I like to be called Iman, but my full name is Syarifah Nur Iman Alattas binti Syed Mokhsein. I am from Malaysia. I am here under the YES (Youth Exchange and Study) Program. For the picture description, from the left there is me and my friends (Sharifah, Farah and Umairah) wearing Baju Kurung,” said Syed.

Kendyll Rappleye, staff writer

With  second semester well under way and first semester a thing of the past, students have had a chance to settle in and get used to school, but none more so than those from another country. Seniors Iman Syed and Alberto Rodriguez, exchange students from Malaysia and Spain, have had  to deal with all the usual things students have to get used to plus adapting to a new country, culture, and language. 

Going to school here is much different than what they were used to back home.  “I like that there are only four subjects a day. Back in Malaysia, I usually have 9 subjects a day,” said Syed. 

Exchange students not only have to adjust to different academic environments, but they also have to get used to different people and cultures. Iman was surprised to see people wearing shorts in sub-zero weather while she was wearing three layers. She also found American high school spirit interesting. “During the cheerleader send off, it was my first time seeing a pep band perform at school. I was so amazed.”

Students here may think their lunches are short and their freedoms shorter, but Syed sees things differently. “The fact that half of the students drive to school and we can go out of the school compound for lunch is surprising to me.”

Reflecting on differences between schools, Rodriguez said “In general, everything is very similar [to back home], but here the classes are more interactive. Also in Spain we stay in the same class with the same people, and the teachers are the ones who move when each class ends. I prefer the classes here because you can meet more people”

Both students describe being here at Star Valley High has been an overall very positive experience. 

“The thing I most like about here is the people. They are very kind, and they make me feel at home. Everything is awesome, and if I have the opportunity to come again I will,” said Rodriguez.

“My friends and teachers help me a lot to catch up with my studies. On top of that, everyone is generous in giving smiles, and it makes my day. The best thing is there is no school Friday!” said Syed.

Coming to a new school in a new country is hard, but students already here can make the transition easier. 

EN CASA: Senior Alberto Rodriquez finds school here similar to school back home in Spain.