Being an exchange student in the U.S?


I am in an exchange student program, where I will be an exchange student in the U.S I have yet to accept the offer.

I would like to know how the education are in U.S and how the social life is. Overall I would like to hear if it is worth it is.

I am 16 year old and will thus attend high school

Background info:

I live in Norway, I was born and raised my whole life in Norway. My parents are immigrants from Afghanistan.

How will this affect me?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Being an exchange student is definitely worth it! It's an incredible experience where you will get to know yourself, another culture and in many cases become closer to your own culture (I learned a lot about how other parts of the world see my country). I was an exchange student to Germany, and that lead me to working with exchange students such as yourself. From a professional aspect, I can tell you that it is REALLY COOL when there are exchange students with multi-cultural backgrounds! Families get really excited not only to learn about Norwegian culture, but also to learn about being Norwegian as a first-generation child. Being of Afghan descent will make you stand out from the crowd :)

    Education in the U.S. is a mixed bag. Depending on your high school, you may find school really easy, on par with Norway, or really hard. Most students tend to feel U.S. school is easy BUT note one big difference: lots of homework. Grades are not based on one or two exams or projects, but on a collection of things, including often daily homework assignments. You can find school "easy" but still get a failing grade if you don't complete your homework. There are also a lot more "creative" assignments and less "by rote."

    Social life in the U.S. for teenagers revolves around school. American teenagers join extra-curricular activities/after school activities, such as playing a sport, an instrument, doing drama, literary club, art club, language clubs, etc. This is how a lot of students make friends and socialize. This is especially true if you join a team activities -- sports, band, orchestra, dance team, cheerleading, etc. These groups spend a lot of time together and the bonds can be very strong. Most exchange students I worked with who played a sport or joined a team/band had incredible experiences, socially.

    A big difference for most Europeans is being able to get around. Most places in the U.S. don't have good public transportation, so they rely on their parents or friends to drive them places. It isn't very common for exchange students to drive a car during their year, so they have to ask their host parents for rides, or make friends with teenagers who drive. This effects the way people socialize: why they do it at school, or at church youth group.

    There are lots of other differences, but those are the big ones, when it comes to school and socializing. There is definitely an adjustment, but if you are open to the changes, it can be a lot of fun! If you have more questions, feel free to message me, or check out my blog (in the source section).

    Source(s): was an exchange student, worked with exchange students
  • 10 years ago

    depending on where in the u.s. you are going to, you'll have a good time.

    a typical american high school has a lot of activities going on and the social life should be pretty active. i can't speak for all american high schools, but my high school experience entailed after school clubs ranging in themes from culture to academic to purely social. we had a japanese animation club at my school and they discussed their favorite shows and had trips too. there are also sports clubs depending on what's popular in that particular school but most high schools have football (american football), basketball, soccer (futbol), and track. i've met exchange students from france and they said they didn't have homecoming there, its a big event in many american high schools (it usually takes place in the fall semester). its surrounds the football team and there's usually a big homecoming game and dance. high schools tend to have a lot of dances. winter ball. welcome back dance. box socials.

    depending on what type of high school you're going to, the events are subject to change. but as long as your knowledge of what your prospective school offers, your social life should not be a big issue.

    being a child of immigrant parents (mine are from the philippines who came to the u.s.) i've never encountered any negativity. but i live in northern california (the san francisco bay area to be exact) where there are large populations of immigrants (especially from the middle east), but i know that isn't the same across the u.s. people are pretty open and tolerant in my experience, but that goes for where ever you go.

    this is an experience of a lifetime and its good to see that you're taking it seriously. good luck.

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