Exchange Students

Simone Westerlund and Annie Frost

“I like having new friends, a new school, and a new life,” Clara Costa (11) said, an exchange student from Brazil. Costa is here in Bellingham  for a year. She is among the two other exchange students from Belgium and Germany. Here at Sehome, we take pride in inviting exchange students from across the globe to be apart of our community. In this article, the rising tide interviewed them to tell the newspaper a little bit about their stay here in the U.S.

 Clara Costa from São Paulo has been dreaming of coming to the U.S. to study for years, and is now attending Sehome for her junior year. “My dream is to study here in the US and later go to a university to study international relations.” So far, Costa says her experience has been pretty much what she expected before leaving the United States. Her host family is very kind and welcoming, and is enjoying her time at school here. She says Sehome is much bigger than her high school at home in Brazil. “The school is bigger here, and in Brazil the classes don’t change rooms, it’s the teachers who move,” Costa said. 

Oceane de Bruyne (11) is originally from Belgium, and was inspired to come to the United States because, “It is interesting for European people to visit the United States. I had an idea of what the U.S. would be like when I visited, and after watching High School Musical,” said de Bruyne. De Bruyne will be staying here for one year. After being here for a while, de Bruyne has finally adjusted to living in the United States. “The United States is the same as I expected. This school seems like a normal American high school,” said de Bruyne. That being said, compared to her school experience at home, de Bruyne said that high school here in the U.S. is very different. “The classes are mixed within grades. At home, you are in class with everyone your age and you are in different subjects with the same people,” de Bruyne said. Here at Sehome, de Bruyne is involved in swim team and French club.

De Bruyne’s host sister is Mia Lustick (12). When asked about her experience with her new host family, de Bruyne said, “My host family is very, very nice. My host sister is here at Sehome. My family mostly helps me with comprehension.” During de Bruyne’s stay so far, she has been able to visit the Bellingham Bay and go camping in Whatcom County. De Bruyne said that she had never been camping until her host family took her. When asked about what she misses from back home, de Bruyne responded, “I miss the chocolate and my dogs. I don’t miss my parents.” Before she leaves to go back home, de Bruyne said, “I want to eat something weird. I did eat a corn dog. That’s weird. I had never eaten one before. It really liked it though.”

Our third and final exchange student is Katarina Klang (11), who is originally from Germany. Klang is here for 10 months, and misses, “My friends, family, and paprika chips,” Klang said. Klang was inspired to come to the United States to learn English and American culture. One thing that Klang does not miss from home is people frowning. “In Germany when I was in class, people would look sleepy and they always frown. Here, everyone is smiling and friendly,” Klang said. Klang also states that she has had a great experience with people here at Sehome. “My experience has been very nice. Everyone is friendly and everyone helps me,” Klang said.

Compared to school back home in Germany, Klang said, “There are a lot of different classes here. And students have more ability to choose classes. And in Germany, they push you to take three languages. And the technology is better, for example everyone has computers. Everything is at a slower pace too, compared to Germany.” At Sehome, Klang is currently playing volleyball, and plans to play tennis in the spring. Klang plans on going to Homecoming in October, and looks forward to dress shopping with her host mom. At her home in Bellingham, she has host parents, but no host siblings, and two dogs. Before she leaves, Klang hopes to see Seattle and Vancouver, and go to a Seahawks game. 

As exchange students become a part of our Sehome community, Sehome continues to welcome them and help them feel appreciated.