We all come from different places around the world. Junior Rutcha Thophae is a foreign exchange student from Thailand and Marie Fernandez is from Spain. Here are their stories.
What did you think of Texas before you arrived?
Rutcha: My first thought of Texas was that it was a hot city. I thought my life would be really busy but when I arrived in Texas I realized that my life was very freestyle and the weather is great. I can say that Atascocita is very different from Pibi Bumper Demonstration School in Thailand. We had to wear uniforms and we couldn’t dye our hair or pierce our ears unlike here.
Fernandez: When I was on my way to Texas, my first thought of this state was really humid and a lot of cars everywhere, kind of like New York but without the humidity. I am a junior this year and things are different at AHS from my school in Spain. In Spain, you can not use your phone during classes; it’s forbidden. The size of the schools are also different. My school in Spain is smaller than Atascocita High School and we don’t have as many classes as we have here. In addition, sports are not as important to [in Spain] as they are here. Most of the sports that you offer here are unknown to us.
What are your plans after high school?
Rutcha: After high school, I want to go to college in the United States, maybe in Texas or Michigan. My goals have changed. When I was still in Thailand after high school, I wanted to go to college in New Zealand but now I want to stay here in the United States.
Fernandez: My plan after high school is to go to college and study to be a nurse. My goals have changed since being here. I was a little unclear before on my career [path] but when I came here it was more clear to me what I wanted to do.
What has been challenging to you as a foreign exchange student?
Rutcha: First, I thought everything was going to be fun. It is fun sometimes but I get very tired. I tried to make friends but it’s a little hard because they don’t understand me any more than I do them. I am scared to talk to others because my English is not great but I am improving over time.
Fernandez: I thought it was going to be easier to make friends at first, but it took me longer than I expected.