From One Home To Another: What Is An Exchange Year?

A Sophomore’s Exchange Year Experiences
Travels abroad of Rachel Lee. Photo created with Canva and photo permissions from Rachel Lee
Travels abroad of Rachel Lee. Photo created with Canva and photo permissions from Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee

Exchange students are students that come to a foreign country for six months or a year to learn and exchange different cultures. Typically, exchange students in the United States go to a public school and live with a host family. In the United States (U.S.) most schools accept exchange students from all over the world. Here at Brunswick High we are fortunate enough to have—Rachel (DoKyung) Lee.

In fact there are three exchange students in Brunswick too, including Rachel Lee. Here is her persepctive on being in the U.S.

I’m from South Korea and the other two exchange students are from South Korea and Italy.

I arrived here on July 19th, 2023, and it’s been almost six months since I’ve been here in the U.S. During my exchange year I realized not many students know about the exchange program, so let me explain briefly, When I chose a destination for my exchange year I had to write a very detailed application about me. After I’ve done that I need to wait for a host family to choose me. After you get chosen that’s where you are going! Where your host family lives.

One of the questions that I got was, “Did you choose to come to Brunswick?”

No, I didn’t, I just got placed here! So the interesting thing is that we can be placed anywhere, Florida, Louisiana, even Alaska!

My experience in Brunswick, Maryland, has been great. The reason I came to the U.S. was because I wanted to experience all the big holidays. Also, I always wanted to come here and experience different cultures because I’ve been watching U.S. television shows since I was eight years old.

So far I’ve experienced Christmas, homecoming, Thanksgiving, and Halloween.

I enjoyed every minute of it.

I like Brunswick High, too. Even though for some students it can be a normal school for you, for me it is a whole different experience. Choosing an elective class and joining a club or a sport, having spirit weeks and homecoming are things that I don’t get to often experience in Korea, and I’m very glad that I came here to experience all that.

Lastly, I want to say I’m very grateful for the warm welcomes and interests that students and teachers gave me.

Exchange students leave their families and friends to come here.

A warm welcome or just a hello is more than you think.

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About the Contributors
MJ King
MJ King, Engineer
MJ King, Engineer Journalism I Journalism Club
Ella McMonagle
Ella McMonagle, Engineer
Grade: 11 Years as an Engineer: 2 How do you contribute to being a Roader? Clubs, activities, sports. “I am a member of FCA Club, I am on the Cross Country, Swim, and Track teams for the school.” “I enjoy playing guitar. In my free time I do a lot of work for my Church.” What song do you listen to the most? “Stick season” by Noah Kahan  What motivates you? “Wanting to be successful in a sense, not with money but in what I do. I feel it is important to do your best in everything you do. That will make you successful. ” Why journalism? “I look forward to being a journalist for The Gazette. Writing has always been a sort of outlet for me and having people read it I think is so cool. I love making people feel like I am writing just to them when they read the article.”   
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