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Union Street Journal

New Students Cross Borders

Teens from different parts of the world experience American culture

Caitlin Gleason, Assistant to the Chief

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Kimberly Aimer travels to one of Colorado's most beautiful attractions: Red Rocks Park and Ampitheatre

Kimberly Aimer (left) travels to one of Colorado’s most beautiful attractions: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.

All around the world, teenagers have different ways in which they learn and express themselves. Some play instruments, some play sports, while others excel in academics. However, some students want to learn more about the world around them and travel in order to make a better life for themselves or learn about a new culture. Each year, thousands of teens from all over the world travel to different countries to learn how different groups of people live and function. While in different countries, foreign exchange students stay with host families who provide housing and other necessities. Kimberley Aimer is a foreign exchange student from Germany who has been in America for less than a month. One of her favorite memories was watching the NFL Championship with her host family. “It was great that the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl one day before we arrived,” said Aimer. While staying here, she has been able to personally experience high school in the US along with other “culture norms” such as going to the mountains. “Denver is great, it’s a nice city with a magnificent landscape.” Along with the different geography, Germany and Colorado have many distinctions. “The food here is different and very good! I like hamburgers and pop tarts especially. I also like your malls, because they are so large! It seems that they are endless and you could get everything you want in them.” Another major difference between America and Germany is the education system. While here, Aimer attended Horizon High School. In Germany, Aimer goes to Ruperti-Gymnasium, a school located about fifty miles from Munich. “We don’t get to choose what subjects we want to study in Germany,” said Aimer. German students learn bits and pieces of all subjects each year rather than taking full years of different core classes, such as geometry for math, or chemistry for science. “I like that some American schools have free periods during the day. In Germany, we only have one free period for lunch” said Aimer. “We don’t have subjects like “band” or “film study,” instead we study musicians like Bach and Mozart.” One thing that is similar in both America and Germany is that the courses vary by each school. Of course, there can be challenges when a foreign student goes to a different country, such as language barriers. While Aimeris fluent in English, she explained that it can be a challenge for exchange students. “When you have to explain things in English, it can be difficult. Also, you have to know the culture pretty well, because my host family was always asking me what I wanted to do but I didn’t really know much about Colorado.” Overall Aimer enjoyed her visit to America. “I saw so many things and learned a lot. It was an amazing experience. I plan to visit America again some time,” said Aimer.

Purna Darjee sports a Nepalese cultural dress in honor of her homeland.

Photo courtesy of Purna Darjee
Purna Darjee sports a Nepalese cultural dress in honor of her homeland.

While Aimer only visited America, Purna Darjee, a junior at Creek, moved to America from Nepal in 2011. While making the transitioning from two totally different cultures, Darjee explained that the hardest thing about moving was the language barrier. Other than language, Darjee had to learn “culture norms” in America. From clothing, to food, to school, Nepal and America differ in many ways. “School in Nepal starts in the morning, when we enter we have the school anthem. We also wear school uniforms,” said Darjee. While Darjee likes America, she also misses her family and friends in Nepal. “I miss my house, eating sugar cane with my friends, and the food, but I like that I have made new friends in Colorado.” Darjee would like to visit Nepal again someday, but plans to stay in America. Some advice she reflects on is that “you can do better,”because she focuses on this, she overcomes challenges such as school and continuing to learn the English language. Darjee is a great example to other people who move to America from different countries, because no matter what’s thrown at her, she always overcomes the challenge by working hard and not giving up.

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New Students Cross Borders