Journey to America!

Haley Crawford Jon jee staff Published:

On a foreign exchange student’s journey to another country, normally they live on their own with their host family. But in this case, Tina Zhang and Valerie Schneider are foreign exchange students that attend John Glenn High School and live with the same host family.

Tina Zhang is a foreign exchange student from China. Tina lives with her mother and father back at their home in China. Tina has experienced many things here in America, going bowling, playing a game of pool, ice-skating, visiting the Amish Country, and attending her high school’s basketball games. But, the most exciting thing she has experienced was having another foreign exchange student, Valerie Schneider, from Austria stay with her and her host family.

Valerie lives back home with a father, mother, and a brother named Sebastian. Valerie and Tina have experienced the same things here in America because they get to live with the same host family, the Stoners. But, not everything can be so much fun, when you’re homesick, and new to everything around you.

When Tina first arrived here in Ohio, she was lonely. Tina then asked her host mother if she could have another foreign exchange student come and stay with them. That’s when Valerie arrived later that year. “When I heard another exchange student was in the family, I was excited because she could help me get used to everything. I was very glad,” said Schneider.

As their life in America began to change, they began to realize how different their lives back home are compared to the ones they are living now. Tina does not have any other siblings back home, but here she has two little sisters and a sister her age.

Not just their family life is different, but their school life is different as well. In Austria, Valerie attends a boarding school. She does not see her family until the school week has come to a close and the weekend begins.

Looking back, and remembering what is was like first arriving to America, Tina shares her very first thoughts. When Tina arrived to America, she felt very welcomed by her host family. “They made me feel right at home,” said Zhang.

Foreign exchange students

Tina Zhang and Valerie Schneider

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