Meet Our Foreign Friends From Afar

The differences in the American and European school systems


Haylee Emanuel

Photo made by Haylee Emanuel

Emma Valentine, Marketing Director

Going out of the country is a unique opportunity but, going to school in another country, that’s something that most high school students don’t experience.

Horizon has five foreign exchange students from the countries of Spain, Italy, and Germany. Having survived the first semester, they have about five months left in the United States and are excited to share stories of the new friends they make and the events they experience in that time.


According to David Enrique, a 10th grader from Spain, Horizon is a much bigger school than his own in Spain. David’s school has a total of 700 students making Horizon seem much larger. He does however like the time schedule we follow.


“For me, school normally goes from 9:30 to 5:00. I like having more time in the afternoon to do things I enjoy, such as soccer,” Enrique said.


Although David misses his family, he encourages all students to not be afraid to try new things such as going out of the country.


Jasmin Raith, an 11th grader from Germany, is enjoying her second visit to America.


Having been a part of the German Exchange Program last school year, Jasmin has returned this time for a full school year. One thing that is very different here is that we follow the same schedule every day, while in Germany they have 15 classes split up into a schedule for each week. Luckily for Jasmin, it’s about the same amount of homework at both schools.


One thing Jasmin dislikes about our school system, however, is how much stress the school system places on students. “College in Germany is free, it’s so sad that people have to stress about it here.”


Matteo Girelli, a senior from Italy, loves being in a bigger and more modern school.


Matteo’s school was built in the early 1930s. So while Horizon may seem old to us, it is nowhere as old as his school. Another difference is there are no sports at school, only clubs. Matteo loves all the school spirit and games here. “It’s cool to see so much school spirit,” he says. “[It] really brings the school together.” Girelli also enjoys having no school on Saturdays as school is often required on Saturdays at his school in Italy. According to him school here in itself is more fun.


The main thing all the students interviewed emphasized was that is is important to try new things, even if they are scary. So, whether it’s something as small as making a new friend or going to school in another country, always be open to new ideas.