The intake of foreign students by US high schools has been going down gradually, reports China Daily USA. The highest number of transfers currently comes from China (NBC News), but South Korea isn’t that far behind. These students, as well as all others who come to US high schools from foreign countries, face many challenges. Adapting to new circumstances is never easy for teenagers. Therefore, it’s essential to be well prepared to reduce the stress of this change.
3 Tips for International Students Transferring to US High Schools:
1. Get into sports and/or other activities:
Sports play an important part in American high schools, so a good way to ease integration is to join a team. Football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, track and field, tennis, and swimming are some of the most popular options.
If you aren’t particularly talented in any kind of sport, you will have other activities to get into. Music and drama clubs are very common as well as school newspapers and science clubs. Getting involved in any activity will help the transfer student make new friends and assist with navigating the complex social hierarchy system of US high schools.
2. Get additional training in language and culture:
Studying English to pass tests necessary for acceptance into a high school in class will help you get that acceptance. However, being immersed in a new culture and language is very different from the class environment. Getting some help with adaptation both before and during the transition will be a great help.
One can work with tutors or get into specialized classes when arriving to the US. Joining extracurricular activities will also help learning both the language and culture. But if possible, one should get some prior experience. According to Forward Pathway, visiting specialized summer and winter camps for students can be an important step for smoothing out their integration. Such camps do not only help children learn more about American culture and improve their English. They get them some experience of the US educational system.
Note that some cities in the US offer free English classes in libraries and community centers. Consider checking out those in your area as this will also help you meet new people and better integrate into the community.
3. Choose a high school wisely:
It’s essential for international students to choose a high school that will be able to offer exactly what they need. Private high schools in the US might have specialized advanced classes and extracurricular activities that students will need for their future education. Unfortunately, the private education sector in the US is expensive.
Public high schools, on the other hand, all comply with the state curriculum. Note that it’s decided by the state, so you need to check out the curriculum before deciding on the transfer destination. You will also need to check what kind of assistance the school can provide to ESL students.
If you are looking for maximum immersion in the American culture, a public high school is the best. Private schools are the better choice for specialized education.