Chinese foreign exchange student becomes accustomed to American high school culture

A new school year means a new country for foreign exchange student Amber Zou


By Photo by Shelby Hudson

Standing in front of her host family's house on Tuesday, Sept. 30, senior Amber Zou spends a year of schooling in America through a foreign exchange student program.

Shelby Hudson, JAG editor-in-chief

Putting a hold on her life in China to attend school in America, senior Amber Zou began attending American high school for the first time, arriving on Tuesday, Aug. 23,  yet she will only be in America for one year, attending as a foreign exchange student.

High school in the United States is not just an academic affair; sports, clubs and friends have become a big part of Zou’s life, yet she has had trouble accommodating due to her host sister Libby Neubauer attending Monticello Trails Middle School, leaving Zou to navigate high school by herself.

“We do not have many of the same topics to speak about,” Zou said.

Although Zou has an older sister at home in China, having a new younger host sister in her life has allowed for her to know the position an older sister stands in.

Zou’s host mother Patricia Neubauer has always enjoyed the idea of hosting due to growing up with neighbors who constantly hosted foreign exchange students.

Neubauer however does not host for just her own experience, but for her adopted daughter’s.

“My daughter Libby is from the same area in China where Amber is from,” Neubauer said. “[Hosting allows] for Libby to learn and expand her horizons.”

Despite being the only child in her host family’s home to attend high school, Zou has been slowly able to adjust, making friends in her classrooms and planning on movie nights and camping trips,  Zou enjoys these activities, saying that “Americans are so nice and easy going.”

With the first quarter coming to a close, Zou has begun attending quiz bowl practice, and intends to attend school events such as homecoming and football games, in order to fully experience American high school culture.

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