Craig welcomes international students

This year, Craig welcomes students from Kiwi, Chinese, Swiss and Italian schools. What differences do these international students see between their schools and Craig?

Eloise (left) is from Switzerland and Gloria (right) is from Italy. Gloria is a member of the Criterion staff.

This year Craig High School is hosting exchange students from all over the world. 

Twenty-five students from China, one from Switzerland, two from Italy, one from New Zealand, and four from Spain are attending Craig.

They are far from their home countries.

How do their schools in their home countries compare to Craig?

Zara Stock, a senior from New Zealand, noticed the differences right away. Her home school is an all-girls boarding school.

“I spend all week at school and only come home every weekend,” she said. “When I got to Craig High School, a culture shock was about the dress code. I always had to wear a school uniform, so it’s strange for me to see everyone in normal clothes.” 

She finds the change refreshing. “It is a different way for everyone to express themselves with their clothes,” she said. 

But Zara is not the only exchange student to have noticed a lot of differences compared to her reality. 

Keshi, from China and Aurora, from Italy, were accustomed to fixed classrooms. 

This means that students remain in the same classroom, with the same classmates for the whole school year. It is the teachers who travel from room to room.

For Eloise, from Switzerland, the adjustment was difficult. 

“Despite going to a school very similar to Craig in terms of number of students and school hours, in my school students are more diligent and interested in the lessons and what is being learned,” she said. 

She also noticed a different teacher’s behavior. “The teachers here are nicer and more attentive to student’s needs.” 

The school hours for other exchange students, however, are much different than at Craig. 

There are schools like the New Zealand and Italian ones that last 5 years, others like the Chinese that last 3 years. 

As for the school hours, the Italian school has 6 hours a day for 5 days a week, the Chinese school starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m  with various breaks throughout the day.

Keshi noticed different students’ behavior in China compared to here. 

Her school is very  strict and the student’s behavior is conditioned by the rules of the school. “When the teacher talks the class is quiet, and you can have a conversation with classmates only when the teacher allows it. In China there is more discipline,” she said. 

She was also surprised by Craig’s teachers. She defined them as very nice, friendly and helpful. “The teachers here in Craig give the students the chance to talk and interact, they propose many group projects,” she concluded.

Also Zara noticed a different behavior from home. “In my school the students respect the teacher more and the teacher respects the students more,” she said. 

She talked about how much the teachers in her school really want the students to succeed and they help every time it is necessary.

“Here in America the teachers are nice but they don’t seem to care about the real future of the student but they just want them to pass the class and have a good impression,” she said. 

Our exchange students crossed the ocean to experience life here in America.

There are a lot of reasons that led them to make the decision to leave their home.

Keshi told us her reasons. “I chose to come here because I’m curious to understand different cultures, and it’s a good opportunity for my future,” she said. In Fact this year of high school counts for her as the last year.  After this experience she will go to a university abroad to study education and media. 

Eloise’s reasons are similar. “I want to be much more mature than when I arrived. I want to discover a new culture, a new way of thinking and emancipate myself in the world,” she said.

Zara talked about expectations and her future.  

“Before coming here, I didn’t have any expectations about the school, but I grew up watching American movies, so that was the only idea I had in my head,” she said. 

After her experience in America, her intention is to go to university in New zealand and study fashion design. “From this experience I hope to meet new people and live like a normal American teenager,” she said. 

The international students have different realities, but all explained that they were shocked by how big Craig is and its variety of sports and clubs to join. 

While some schools are more similar than others, all schools have only one goal: Educating all students to achieve today and tomorrow in a global community and economy.