A Year Abroad in America: MHS’s Newest Students


Beatriz de Andrade

Guili on her way to the United States

Two foreign exchange students in their junior year here at Madison High School were interviewed on September 19, 2016. Guili de Andrade (GA) and Ruben Stemme (RS) were questioned about their experiences leaving their homes to live as American students for one year. Madison Dodger Online (MDO) had the chance to unveil what being an exchange student in a foreign country is like through these two pupils.


MDO: What country are you originally from?


GA:  Brazil.


RS: Sweden.


MDO: Do you speak another language? Is learning in an all English-speaking school difficult for you?


GA: My country’s language is Portuguese. Sort of, some classes I understand pretty well but in history, my teacher is nice but he speaks too fast and it’s kind of hard. I’m trying to get used to it.


RS: I learned English in Sweden from first grade so I’ve always sort of known it. I also speak Swedish of course, a little bit of French but I don’t know if that counts. I mean, it’s not super difficult, it’s more different, but it’s fun, nice.


MDO: Did you know anyone living in the United States or attending MHS before you came here?


GA: No but my father was also an exchange student in high school. My sister did the same kind of program too.


RS: I actually knew my host family from before, the Delavan family, and from my parents’ work I know some people. Not many, but I have some contacts in the US I would say.


MDO: What is the most distinct difference between MHS and the school you went to in your home country?


GA: Oh, there’s a lot of differences. First, my classes in Brazil end at 12:30pm and we don’t need to change the classes, we stay in the same room and the teachers change classes. So, I’ve had the same classmates since I was five years old. Here, everything is divided, one year you do chemistry, another year is biology, in Brazil we do all every year.


RS: Hm, the biggest difference? I think everything is different, just in general. The schedule, the hallways, the way the school is structured. I think the biggest difference is having the same times everyday because in Sweden we have totally different times that we start and end everyday and different ways of learning. We don’t have the same point system, and I don’t understand it but yeah, it’s very different from this.


MDO: What extracurricular classes and activities do you participate in?


GA: Art class and CAD.


RS: I think I’m in mostly extracurricular classes, because I don’t really have to take any core subjects here. I’m in CAD, I have architecture next semester, and chorus. I also take current events for one semester and I think psychology for the next.


MDO: What do you like the most and the least about living with a homestay family?


GA: It’s really different because each family has their own routine, but my family is pretty nice to me here and I have a lot of freedom with them which is really nice. I need to get used to it, because it’s really different, life here and life in Brazil. The food is different, the times, the school, the people, so I’m trying to get used to it.


RS: Hm, I like everything. It’s very different because at home I have two older sisters who both moved out so I’m alone with my parents, now I have more siblings and they have a dog. It’s very different but I like it, it’s more energetic.


MDO: Would you recommend participating in a student exchange program to people you know back at home?


GA: Yeah, sure. I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m pretty content with it, pretty happy.


RS: Yeah, of course I would. I would definitely do it. I think that also, for Americans it could be a fun thing to go see Europe, I don’t know if that would be harder, but whenever I tell someone something from Europe everyone is like, “oh wow.” I’d recommend anyone to go see another part of the world, a different system, different structures.


Madison Dodger Online bids Ruben Stremme, Guili de Andrade, and all of the other exchange students attending Madison High School good luck this 2016-17 year!