PV via the world

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PV via the world

The flags in the cafeteria displaying PV’s global community

The flags in the cafeteria displaying PV’s global community

Alyce Brown

The flags in the cafeteria displaying PV’s global community

Alyce Brown

Alyce Brown

The flags in the cafeteria displaying PV’s global community

Alyce Brown, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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At the start of the school year, many foreign students arrive at Pleasant Valley High School and prepare for a new experience in the country.  Two of them, juniors Charlotte Koehle and Alejandra Martinez-Ugalde, recently arrived in the Quad Cities from Germany and Mexico.

Traveling to a new country comes with new ideas; for the many foreign students attending schools in the United States, football is one of these ideas. While football games are often a staple of an American student’s life, they can also be a bit of a culture shock for students overseas.  Koehle adjusted quickly saying PV’s kickoff game against Bettendorf was “…overwhelming but a lot of fun.”

However, not everything has gone as smoothly for Koehle as her adaption to football games. While she says she admires the environment at PV, there have been a couple of complications during her stay here. Her phone had been stolen at the Chicago airport, her wallet was lost at the football game, and she consistently has to work hard in order to understand what is happening in her classes.

Martinez-Ugalde’s first week was also a lot to take in at times. When she first arrived, she hadn’t built any relationships and struggled a little with taking her classes in English. Although there are complications, things are looking up. “It’s been really exciting to be here, to spend time with amazing people, to speak and improve my English and to adapt to a different culture!” 

Junior Macey Mckinnon believes the foreign exchange program is a beneficial experience.  Her family has hosted 3 exchange students in the past, and will be hosting Martinez-Ugalde later this year.  “I think it’s a wonderful program to get kids our age to step out of their comfort zone and explore the world.”  

Looking back on what the students have taught her, Mckinnon says their bravery at taking on this new challenge has taught her how to be courageous. While studying abroad is an experience she hopes to take on one day, she says, “I’m scared to step out of my comfort zone, so to see them do it with open eyes is really cool.”

In an article by the Institute of International Education, Mary Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, says, “International students studying alongside Americans are a tremendous asset to the United States and make us stronger as a country.”