International students share their experiences while at OPHS

Final thoughts after the first semester


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With the first semester coming to a close, some of Oak Park High School’s international students are going back to their home countries during winter break. After a semester of experiencing an American high school, they shared their biggest challenges, differences and advice.

Some of the exchange students had trouble while away, distant from family and home for the first time.

“It’s hard in the beginning, but you get used to it,” said Livia Lopes, a student from Brazil. “With time you see how cool this experience is and how good it is for you, but of course you miss them.”

Fernando Nakatsubo, another exchange student from Brazil, joined the JV Football team.

“They have a variety of sports here,” said Nakatsubo. “In Brazil, they just focus on the academic part of school. I feel like it’s better here when the matter is sports in school.”

Anna Koehler, from Austria, found it quite difficult to keep up with her classes.

“We can’t go on the same rhythm as everyone else,” said Koehler. “We don’t speak the language as well as they do, everything is new. We are even here without our families.”

Lastly, Giorgio Cardinalli, from Italy, gave advice for future exchange students. 

“Be confident and be yourself,” said Cardinalli. “Don’t be shy. You’re an interesting person. No matter what, they are gonna love you.”