By Samara Bhatti
“I’m really excited just to get out into the world and experience a culture that I’ve only read and heard about.” –Freshman Jadyn Craig on her upcoming exchange experience
Many BSHS students are familiar with having foreign exchange students in their classrooms here at home. Next year, however, BSHS will send a Wildcat abroad. Freshman Jadyn Craig has been accepted to be an exchange student in Germany. Craig noted that the AFS program offers an exciting opportunity to learn a new language, learn more about other cultures and experience German schools.
“I’m really excited just to get out into the world and experience a culture that I’ve only read and heard about. I am nervous that I’m going to be totally lost for the first few weeks as I am going to be in a country where I only know a small amount of the language,” Craig said.
Only few of the tens of thousands of applicants are accepted into the program each year.
“The process wasn’t hard, but it did take a long time. We had to fill out a lot of paperwork and I had to write essays and letters explaining why I thought that AFS Germany should accept me. Then we had to wait for AFS Germany to get through all the applicants and start emailing people, which took awhile,” Craig said.
Compared to the United States, Craig anticipates German schools to be more academic-oriented. Only 10 to 15 percent of students join local clubs to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports and drama.
“I expect it to be a lot harder, as most German schools move at a faster pace than the schools here (also it is going to be in a totally different language than I’m used to). I think it’ll be a lot like high school here, but different at the same time,” Craig said.
For a exchange student traveling from another country, those feelings are enhanced by the differences in not only schools, but in cultures as well.
“I plan to adapt to the cultural differences by going with the flow of things, observing the people around me and asking questions,” Craig said.
One of the first issues faced by exchange students is the language barrier. German is one example of a language that is in many ways easier to learn than English.
“I do know how to speak a little German, so I won’t be completely lost, but I am nowhere near fluent. I am currently in the German I class with Frau Benson and am going to be tutored by her during the summer as well. German can be tough sometimes but for the most part, it’s not too hard,” Craig said.
Being able to experience two schools in two different countries is an opportunity many people do not get.
“I was shocked. I was really excited and just couldn’t believe it for awhile,” Craig said.
Craig will leave in the beginning of September and come back late June.