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Madison High School from a Different View

A look at foreign exchange students at Madison High School

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Sara Badiali standing proud with the Italian flag.Photo by Sarah Paepke

Main Story

by: Carly Stapelman,

Imagine what it would be like to go to school in a different country. Several students at Madison High are experiencing this now. The Foreign Exchange Student Program provides an opportunity for teenagers around the world to attend school in a different country and experience another culture.

“I like the new experience and seeing things from a different way and to see them in a new country,” said Emmaly Groenhof of the Netherlands.

For each of these students, coming to America has been a big change. They all come from countries where the culture is centered around education, and they have grown up understanding the importance of learning.

“We can learn new things from this experience,” said Gloria Lominchar Munos of Spain.

English is taught in schools all over the world, so many of the foreign exchange students at our school have studied English in their native countries. However, being around people that speak English as their native language is very different from learning English rules.

“You can learn a new language,”  said Lotta Nuoranen, from Finland.

Many of the classes that are offered at Madison High School are not offered in their native countries. They enjoy elective classes such as choir, foods and nutrition, woodshop, and P.E.

“The classes here are easy, ” said Lotta Nuoranen and Gloria Lominchar Munos.

These students have said they really enjoy being in Rexburg and attending school here. To them, American schools are like a dream.

“My favorite part is to interact with all the people here, and to learn about their traditions and culture. Everything is different, everyone is different and it’s so amazing!” said Sara Badiali

Having foreign exchange students at Madison has added diversity to the school. Generally, schools around here will take one or two exchange students. Madison has opened its doors to these students who are making a difference in our school.

Going from Rome to Rexburg

Side Story 

by: Lexi Dennis,

Coming from Rome, Italy, Sara Badiali is excited to learn about our school and lifestyle. She thinks that American culture is fascinating because it is so different and friendly.

In Italy, high schools, called classic schools, are separated into different subjects such as sciences, art, or technical school. The students stay in one classroom and the teachers transfer from one room to the other for the whole year. They carry any supplies that they need with them because they don’t have lockers.  

Since learning is the main focus of these schools, they don’t have many activities. Instead, they form study groups like Madison has clubs. They have 6-hour school days with only 2 small breaks, and no lunch.They also don’t have school colors or mascots.

Most of Badiali’s expectations of American high schools come from movies and other media.

“I thought it would be like High School Musical, people singing and stuff, and it’s kind of the same thing actually. It’s amazing,” said Badiali.

She loves her host family, the McCurdys, and enjoys hanging out with them. Since people in Italy can be very judgemental, Badiali loves to go to school and see all the different ways people dress.

In Italy, she loved to go to the town center and hang out in the parks. At home she would listen to music and play the piano.

Although she misses her family and friends in Rome, she will be sad to leave America and its culture.

The Student News Site of Madison High School