Admit it, you’ve watched Hollywood movies or American TV series with high school setting, haven’t you?
Well, you might wonder how is it like to be one of those students. For me, it feels like I live inside an American teenager movie! All of the things we’ve seen on American movies and TV series about high school are most likely true and not exaggerated.
My exchange year felt very colorful and complete when I started attending Benton Community High School, a rural high school with population more than 500 students and 80 teachers and staff, integrated with the middle school. My school is situated right beside the cornfields, so when we get off the school, it’s all yellow-orange views when autumn and very wide white field when winter.
Studying here earned me many invaluable experience – academic and non-academic – and here I listed some important values I learned from studying in a US high school:
- School is a place where you can express yourself
American school liberates you to be what you want to be, as long as it positive. You can wear fashionable wardrobe to school, you can join clubs and maybe make your own club. There so many things you can choose to join here, you can even held a dance party at school! Teachers will facilitate you and help you to know more about yourself and act as a friend with whom we can share stories with. If you don’t say it to people, if you don’t express it to people, they won’t know!
- Learn to direct yourself
American High School started from 9th grade, and since then you can start to choose what you really like and want to study. Although through the high school years, you still have to take some mandatory classes for the graduation requirements, most of your classes are your choices – things that you want to do in the future. This way, you can start directing your own future starting from high school level.
- Independence and Individuality
Being independent and individual in high school doesn’t mean you won’t have friends and are not socializing. It’s about how to respect yourself more and minding your own business without being troublesome. With this value, you can maintain your GPA in good grades and decide what kind of activity that you like to join without getting agitated by other people’s opinions.
- Tough matters
There will be bad students in every schools, but in America, even bad students can respect one another because they wanted their rights to be respected too. I was once bullied by bad students for being Muslim and being an Indonesian exchange student, but when you explain, with good attitude, about the things that they don’t know, most of them will understand and respect you.
- Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance
Being an international student means that you bring something new to the school. Everything in you will fascinate other people, but I can feel the culture of tolerance in my school. Students here will ask you things about Indonesia, Islam, and other weird things relating to your experience, but you have to stay calm and try to be modest on answering those questions. I learn from here that, if you want to be tolerated by people, you have to tolerate people.
You will learn by studying abroad, whatever your degree is and whenever you do it. So, are you ready to learn something new?