Exchange Students

Zain Al Qalawi, from Jerusalem, Palestine, attends a small private school with only 40 students in each grade. There aren’t very many activities offered to the students, classes can’t be chosen, and no opportunity for school sports are given either. “They give you so many options here that you just get drowned in so many activities and things to do, it’s hard to mentally cope” said Zain, while referring to the biggest change he experienced. “Also the culture of the people; it might not be actual things of the culture, but just the way you talk, the way you act, traditional things engraved in them.” Even with these drastic changes, Zain is happy with the school’s general environment and operation. “I would just want my friends to be here,” he concludes with a smile. “Everything is better with your friends!”

Cecilia Movilla Sanchez hails from Madrid, Spain, where she attends Colegio Las Rosas, a school almost 4 times smaller than Ames. Along with size, Colegio Las Rosas lacks in the academic and extracurricular opportunities of Ames High. “Here you can choose what to study, but in Spain you cannot choose your classes until your junior year” comments Cecilia. “We only have academics and not too many acting or music”. Along with better educational offerings, Cecilia is pleased with the general environment of Ames High. “I like the people, everyone’s so friendly. I’m sure I ask a lot of stupid questions about the USA but everyone is so nice,” she said, laughing. “The hardest part is understanding everyone; you all talk so fast!”

Luca Reuter attends Gymnasium Wülfrath, a school of about 800 students located in Wülfrath, Germany. Luca acknowledges the multitude of academic opportunities provided by Ames High, saying “Schools in Germany don’t really have much clubs or anything like that, and we just have one gym but that’s it considering sports.” Luca is also a fan of the extended lunches, using the free period to hang out with his friends. “My least favorite part would have to be the long school days,” confesses Luca. “That was the hardest thing to adjust to in American life, but at the end I guess it worked out really well.” If you happen to spot Luca or any of the other exchange students in the halls, make sure to stop give them a warm welcome and make their experience at Ames High a memorable one.