Learning a new culture

Foreign Exchange students find their way in America


Photo Courtesy of Alexandria Arrick

The foreign exchange students take the stage during the pep rally. They show their Wildcat Pride by waving their flags and introducing themselves. Kanta Kanatiyanon is from Thailand, Patricia Dominguez-Adame Santalla is from Spain and Alexa Thesis is from Germany.

Ariana Griffin, Catalyst Online Editor-in-Chief

Only nine foreign exchange students were accepted into the Millard school district. These students had to match a certain age limitation and other qualifying factors to be accepted. Three of these students attend here at Millard West. They are from Spain, Thailand and Germany. 

Although each country is different, they all seem to have similar experiences coming to America. Each one of them started learning English at a young age and was eager to learn more about American culture.

“I came here because I really wanted to learn the language,” senior Kanta Kanatiyanon said. “My host family told me that I’ve improved a lot since I got here.”

Feeling welcomed by the students and staff, the exchange students have transitioned quite well. Senior Alexa Thesis, from Germany, has met many people and noticed the differences between her home country and America.

“Well, I feel like the people here are way more friendly, actually,” Thesis said. “Everybody is eager to help you and I feel like you have a different lifestyle. There are some things here that are appropriate that are not appropriate in Germany. It’s just quite the opposite, which I think is pretty interesting.”

Changes have been prominent for all three foreign exchange students. Moving from their home and living with a host family has been an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Having an education in America will benefit all of them greatly.

“I went to a school with only 600 students in all,” senior Patricia Dominguez-Adame Santalla said. “I think it [school in America] is a great opportunity for my future for college in Spain.”

Thesis came to the U.S because she wanted to improve her English and learn more about the people. She’d see American soldiers often, and her curiosity brought her to America. Although the classes she took here won’t count back in Germany, the experience will remain with her.

“My dad was in the military, so we’d always be in the barracks with the American soldiers.” Thesis said. “I was very fascinated by your lifestyle and I wanted to live that lifestyle.”

Being away from home would cause anyone to be homesick. Each student misses the same thing from their home country.

“I really miss the food, to be honest,” Dominguez-Adame Santalla said. “And my family and friends of course.”

The students have been fitting in well with the rest of the students here, making friends and joining extracurricular activities. Although they haven’t been here for too long, they have proved themselves as Wildcats.