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Exchange students reflect on year abroad

By Tyler Chung

Every year Alameda High allows various foreign exchange students from all around the world to spend a school year here. Most exchange students say that they benefit from studying abroad.

Senior Camilla Heglund came to Alameda from Norway and took a moment to reflect on her year recently.  “Being able to live here for a year has been pretty good. School here is harder than in Norway, you get a lot more homework here. However I really like this school,” Heglund said.  “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people and I like the high school spirit.”

Often times students that grow close to exchange students wonder if they will come back to America to visit. Heglund says she plans to return. “Yes I’m definitely coming back to visit, but I don’t think I would want to move and actually live here.”

Growing up in a different country means making adjustments that can be difficult. “If I had to choose between America and Norway I would probably choose Norway since I grew up there and my longtime friends and family are there. However that doesn’t mean I don’t like it here,” Heglund says.

“Living here has been different no doubt, but it’s also been nice and interesting,” senior Larissa Ritter says. Ritter, who is from Germany, agrees with Heglund about  the educational level here. “I think school here is harder overall from all of the homework. In Germany we rarely get homework but the actual curriculum and tests can be more challenging.”

Ritter also shares Heglund’s opinion about living in America. “I’m coming back to visit but I wouldn’t want to live here. I think one year is enough and things are pretty expensive here too.”

Many exchange students say they have had similar experiences. “It’s been good living here, although I like China better since my family is there and things are cheaper too,” senior Dongsheng Ye says.

However unlike Heglund and Ritter, Ye plans to stay in America much longer than they do. “Even though school is harder here and you receive more homework, I plan to go to college here at DVC, Diablo Valley College,” Ye says.

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The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.