Bland new world

Foreign exchange students come to Har-Ber High

Junior Matteo Brindani walked out of the airport this Summer, seeing the US only for the second time in his life.

“The US is a very huge place where people can live their dreams,” Brindani said. He is one of more than 691,000 students from around the world who travel to the United States each year with the opportunity to study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education. While the majority of exchange students travel to California, New York, or Texas, Arkansas has no shortage of exchange students. Students from around the world will be attending Har-Ber this year, including students from Italy, Germany, Australia, and Hungary. These students study abroad for a variety of reasons, and have many different opinions on life in the US.

“I wanted to become an exchange student to improve my English and make new experiences,” Brindani said. He is an exchange student from a smaller town in northern Italy called Mantua. Arriving in Arkansas was not Matteo’s first time in the US. He travelled to New York once before, for vacation. Exchange students from around the world have a variety of reasons for participating in the program, and there can be countless opportunities and benefits of becoming an exchange student.

According to Matteo, arriving in the US wasn’t much of a culture shock. “I thought people are lazy, and everything is huge” he said. Har-Ber is also a very different school environment from school in Italy.

“Nothing is the same about school. At Har-Ber I like the disposition of classes and how the school is managed,” Matteo said. Matteo also thinks school is easier here. Even when comparing classes, there aren’t many similarities between Har-Ber and Italy.

“Here I can take American History, English, and laboratory. Classes in Italy include Italian, Italian History, and others.” Even the regular school day can be very different. Most schools in Italy finish the day at 1 PM, but there is also school on Saturday until 12. Another significant difference between schools is the presence of sports and extracurricular activities available at Har-Ber. There are no school sports, band, choir, or clubs in Italian schools, only academics.

Although Har-Ber is only two weeks into school, Matteo is already enjoying his experience as an exchange student. Matteo isn’t sure what he wants to do with his future, but he is sure that being an exchange student will help him with his future career.

“If I could,” he said, “I would be an exchange student for another year.”