High school in the USA

Authored by:
Kristina T.

Kristina T.

Time flies by so fast! It almost seems like I was filling out my paperwork and getting ready for my exchange year yesterday, but I've already been in the USA for a month!

My name is Kristina and I’m spending my year in Hillsboro, Oregon. I'm going to be telling you everything about my first two weeks at an American high school. I’ve already experienced so much this first month but the thing that surprised me the most was definitely school.

We’ve all seen the “typical” American high school from movies or TV shows. The popular kids, geeks, athletes and cheerleaders, partying every night and even a lot of bullying. Well high school in the USA is nothing like that.

American high schools are huge! I don’t want to scare you, but they really are. I had an advantage on my first day since my high school (Hillsboro High School) looks more like a college campus. Each subject is taught in a different building. If I for example have math, the only thing I have to do is find the math building. But hardly any American high schools look like that and a lot of my friends, that are exchange students too, got lost a few times. But even if you get lost, you really don’t have to worry. Americans are like the sweetest people ever and they always want to help. You just have to ask them and every single person will help you. I’m not really used to that in my home country so that was a thing that I was positively surprised about. Even the teachers are so nice and talk to the students like they’re best friends.

Speaking of friends, I was really worried about not making any, because I’m pretty shy. But like I already mentioned Americans are the sweetest people ever and my tip about making friends is to find a person that looks sweet and start a conversation. Mention that you’re an exchange student and that you don’t know anyone and they will hang out with you and definitely ask you to sit with them at lunch.

Lunch in America is another thing that a lot of people are worried about and I’m not going to lie, this is one thing that is accurate in movies and TV shows. Pizza, burgers, French fries, hot-dogs and many more. They also have fruit and vegetables but to be honest, they look like they’ve been sitting in the cafeteria for 2 months. I pack my own lunches and I’m happy about it, a lot of Americans do it too so you won’t be the weird exchange student that brings their own lunch. But many people eat the cafeteria food so don’t be scared to try that too.

So I mentioned the people, teachers, food, friends but what about the classes and clubs/sports? Well let’s start from the beginning. About a week before school starts there is this thing called a forecasting. You basically come and pick the subjects you would like to take. You have to pick classes that have a total of 8 credits to pass the year and each class has either 1 credit (a class that you take the whole year) or 0.5 credit (a class you take only for 1 semester) and you also pick classes for 3 credits as a backup in case your top-picks weren’t available. Well this was probably the hardest thing so far. It was my first time picking all my classes and I thought that I would be able to pick them immediately but that didn’t happen. It took me about 2 hours to choose my classes and I picked the last few totally randomly because I just didn’t know what else to pick. There were so many classes at first but then when I thought about it I knew that I would be bored in ¾ of them so I didn’t know which ones to choose. I ended up with these classes: French, IB History of America, IB Language and Literature, IB Biology, Photography, IB Math, Art and IB Physics. In the end I’m pretty pleased with all my classes and I’m excited to be taking them. And if you’re wondering what the IB in front of 5 of my classes is, it stands for international baccalaureate and it’s an international program that my school has. Basically the classes are in a higher level. I’m also going to be joining the drama club so I’m pretty excited. I might even try joining a sports team in the winter or spring. Every high school has so many sports or clubs to choose from so you definitely won’t be bored.

So that’s pretty much all I have to say for now. School just started but I’m already enjoying it so much. I’m here for a year so I’m trying to enjoy every second of it and I don’t regret coming here! I hope you liked my first post ;)

Love, Kristina    

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