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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

Exchange student explores American high school experience

Junior+Judith+Schuurman+left+her+home+in+Germany+to+spend+a+year+as+a+student+at+Algonquin.
Junior Judith Schuurman left her home in Germany to spend a year as a student at Algonquin.

Junior Judith Schuurman left her home in Germany to spend a year as a student at Algonquin.

Photo Connor Lawless

Photo Connor Lawless

Junior Judith Schuurman left her home in Germany to spend a year as a student at Algonquin.

Andrew Mihalik, Staff Writer

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Going to a new school can be scary, especially if it’s in a different country, junior German exchange student Judith Schuurman faced this fear in coming overseas to America for the past year.

Having spent a year attending Algonquin, she has had to adjust to the culture and lifestyle of an American student.

“The whole school structure is very different which definitely takes some time to get used to,” Schuurman said. “Also, Americans are much more prideful of their own country. People have flags outside their houses or talk about America like it is the only true thing.”

At first, it was tough to live in a new place where she barely knew anyone.

“In the beginning it was definitely hard,” Schuurman said. “Every time I was uncomfortable in the beginning [I] thought of how easy it would be to just be at home and hang out with my friends that I already really know.”

As time passed, however, she became more involved in the Algonquin community.

“The longer the school year goes on, the better it gets,” Schurmann said.

This whole experience has really influenced Schuurman, teaching her many important lessons.

“It’s always a good step to push yourself outside of your comfort zone,” Schuurman said. “Staying in your safe zone will literally bring you nowhere; the least thing you should do is try.”

Senior Ben Spellman’s family has been hosting Schuurman for the year.

“She has definitely opened up a lot since she first got here,” Spellman said. “Having Judith around has sort of taught me what it’s like to have a semi-sister who is very close in age.”

Looking back on the year, Schuurman believes it was a positive experience.

“The personal growth is immense and it can benefit you in so many different ways like opening your horizons to different things, getting out of a rut at home or maybe getting some clarity in what you want to do and where you want your life to go,” Schuurman said.

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Exchange student explores American high school experience