Schools of the United States and Great Steppes

Dilnaz Nauryzbayeva, Staff

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Being 6,500 miles away from your home is not easy. Honestly, I found out about my placement in Park Hills only a week before my departure, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect and it kind of helped me. From me, the best advice for exchange students coming to the USA is not to have expectations, because this country is as unpredictable as Missouri’s weather.

If someone would ask me to describe my first month here with three words I would say: new, inexplicit and adjusting. The biggest difficulty that I faced was school. Even the structure and systems of schools here and in Kazakhstan are so different.

In my opinion, American students have a lot more opportunities for self-expression. Just imagine after being at school from 7:30 am till 6:00-7:00 pm you have to come home and do your homework. My daily routine from autumn to summer looked exactly like that. In my country, we do not have an opportunity to choose classes. Every student without depending on grade has to take all 12 subjects. Here I can decide to take chemistry or biology, in Kazakhstan I have to take chemistry, biology, physics, and math at the same time. Also I take four languages. We have two histories, art and physical education. Our schedules are for weeks, not days. When I found out that here I would have same classes every day, I thought that it was going to be a really boring school year because you know that tomorrow you will do the same thing that you did yesterday. However, the schedule was not hard to adjust to at all.

The thing that I really love about American schools is that you do not have to wear uniforms. At home, I had to wear the school uniform, so my first month here it was kind of unusual to decide what I was wearing the next day. My school is really strict about what you look like. There we are not allowed to dye hair, have piercings, tattoos, or long nails. We can not wear high heels, false eyelashes and put makeup on. If your hair is longer than your shoulders you will have to braid it. If it is shorter you will be asked to put it in a ponytail. I was really amused when Issy Smith showed her tattoo to Mrs. Chapman, because it was my first time seeing an informal type of relationship between a teacher and a student.

The thing that I am surely going to miss about the USA is cheerleading. I love my team and my coaches with all my heart. I am so happy to have an opportunity to do it. I will be so proud to say that I was a cheerleader when I go back home.

Being a foreign exchange student is a great experience. I never thought that I would have such a great chance. I am really thankful for my program, my host family, and my school for everything that they are doing. I will always remember the  year of my life that I spent in Park Hills, Missouri.

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