With the young age of 16, I waved goodbye to my family and friends and boarded the plane alone for my very first journey overseas. This journey was not just a holiday trip, but a journey to start a complete new life (well, at least for 10 months) in the United States. After a lot of (sometimes stressful) planning, convincing my parents to let my live over 7,000 km away from them and too much packing, it was time to start my year studying abroad.
Six years ago (wow, I feel old now), I took the opportunity to turn my life around and have an experience that lasts for life. I’m very grateful that I had the chance to study abroad and I would encourage you to do the same, if you have the opportunity.
Although I love the movie Mean Girls (I admit, I can quote every scene), I am pretty glad that my high school year did neither involve “the Plastics” nor the “Burn Book”. I had the chance to experience a “typical” American high school life. Well, I think it was quite like you would imagine it to be (or like you know it from the movies).
In the US I had to choose six classes, that I’ve attended each day. In addition to the usual academic classes like maths, biology and English, I was also able to choose “fun” classes like chorus, law and justice or cooking. I’ve noticed that the school system in the United States differs a lot from Germans schools, which I enjoyed. Try to take classes that you would not be able to have in your home country!
School is not only viewed strictly as a learning environment, but it is supposed to be interactive and fun as well. You will find numerous possibilities to participate in sports and other clubs. I tried to fit as much activities as possible in my time, so I was a member of a few clubs: I was part of of two plays with Drama Club (and even won an award for one!), organized a fun French week with French Club, went to a great motivational event with the Future Business Leaders of America, participated in several events with the Student Council and helped the baseball team as a Diamond Girl. These experiences were one of best memories that I’ve made and I would not want to miss them.
The School Spirit
First thing that I have to admit: I love the American school spirit! “Go Wolverines!” I had never experienced something like that before and I was immediately stoked since my first Homecoming Week. For everyone who does not know what homecoming is: it is the week of the first football game at home. During this week, the whole school gets dressed up everyday to a different theme, there are games played during lunch and the hallways are decorated, too. At the end of the week, a pep rally and a homecoming parade take place. In addition, the homecoming king and queen will be elected during the football game. It is an amazing experience, which everyone is part of.
My Advice: Don’t be scared to try new things, experience as much as possible and be open-minded. I promise you, you won’t regret it!
Over to you: have you any experiences from attending high school abroad?