This is the VOA Special English Education Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com
Twenty-six thousand foreign exchange students are in American high schools this year. We asked four teenagers who arrived in August to discuss their experience so far. All but one are attending public schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, outside Washington.
Johanna is from Germany. She says the biggest difference is the relationship to the teachers. She says here the teachers are more like friends, and in Germany they are more like parents.
Another difference? In American high schools, the students are usually the ones who move to different classrooms for different subjects.
Johanna and Daniel come from schools where the teachers change classrooms. Daniel says: "In Austria, you have all classes together with the same group of people. And so you are really good friends with all the people you're in class with."
Hande from Turkey is living with a host family in Denver, Colorado. She says students in Turkish schools have less choice. She says: "You cannot choose your own classes. And you dont have the right to drop out of one of them." Hande says Turkish schools are also more formal. She says: When a teacher comes into the class you have to stand up and greet the teacher. He or she says good morning or good afternoon and, as a class, you answer. We don't do this in class here."
How does the education compare?
Hande is in three Advanced Placement classes, which are meant to prepare students for college. She says: "A.P. courses are really hard and they really force you to learn and are really good. But the regular classes, their level is lower than in Turkey."
Rosa is from a country where high school is five years, not four like in America. She says: "In Italy we go to school only during the morning for lessons. And Italian schools don't have other activities." On the other hand, she says, having to go elsewhere for activities is not necessarily a bad thing. She says she thinks students in Italy and Europe have a freer environment. They are in touch with a lot of different things that are outside the school.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. To learn more about high school exchange programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com. You can also comment on this and other programs. And you can find us on YouTube and Twitter at VOA Learning English.
(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 05Nov2009)