The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Around The World To ACHS

Around+The+World+To+ACHS

Lilliana Escobar

Staff Writer

From Vietnam, Chile, Singapore, and Afghanistan, students from different countries have participated in foreign exchange programs or immigrated to the United States to attend Alexandria City High School. International exchange students Kent Ngyuen, Florencia Vidall, Eliza Inkema, and Kabir Kabir have adjusted to changes between ACHS’s environment and that of their previous school systems.  

Former exchange student Kent Ngyuen attended ACHS from 2020 to 2021 as a junior. Ngyuen is from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and loved ACHS. The exchange program assisted him in studying in the U.S. for one year. He returned back to Vietnam for the summer. Once he returned to the U.S., he decided he wanted to experience boarding school. He is currently finishing his high school career in Pennsylvania. 

“After a week in AC, I [felt] so welcome and made friends even though there’s a [large] amount of students,” Ngyuen said. “They are completely different [compared to his old school in Vietnam, The International Asian School]. I can choose classes that I like and [receive help] with my major in university…the teachers are supportive and understanding.”

Sophomore Florencia Vidall moved to Alexandria in 2021 on account of her Navy parents from Chile. Vidall says that at first, she did not feel welcome at ACHS since the language barrier made it difficult for her to meet new people since she didn’t speak English “on a regular basis.” However, she says that extracurricular activities helped her adjust.

“One of my favorite activities would be the sports that the school offers, since in Chile, there were only four basic ones.”

Another difference between ACHS and her school in Chile is the way that students dress as well as class size, “It was obligatory to wear uniforms whether you were in a public or private school [in Chile, and there are] smaller classes but bigger schools since [they hold] kindergarten to 12th-grade students.” 

Ngyuen also described how ACHS was the home for electives and school activities that weren’t in Vietnam. “I loved spirit week, the play, and the musical. They did such an amazing job, and I was shocked in a positive way because I couldn’t find [anything] like that in a Vietnamese school,” Ngyuen said. 

Sophomore Eliza Inkema moved to Alexandria in 2021 from Singapore, where she attended the Singapore American School, on account of her father’s Microsoft job. But her experience in different school systems does not end here: Inkema has attended the Western Academy of Beijing, the British School of Beijing, and Stamford American International School. 

“My old schools were mostly Western schools, so the curriculum was similar [to ACHS’s]. However, those schools had longer breaks and more of a focus on visual learning,” Inkema said. “One thing I found difficult was that at my past schools, there were a lot of students who were similar to me. We moved around a lot all over the world. So the schools were very understanding of that and gave us longer breaks. Having less of those breaks and less of a community like that was difficult.”

Sophomore Kabir Kabir is from Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. with his family to escape violence by the Taliban. “We had been planning to move to the U.S. for four or five years. We knew there wasn’t a bright future for us [in Afghanistan]. We did not want to leave, but we knew we had to,” Kabir said.  

Kabir says the community he found with Afghan students in ACHS’s International Academy made him feel welcomed.

“There are many Afghan students and I got excited. I knew it would be a great experience,” Kabir said. “But there are many differences. The time is 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. [for school in Afghanistan]. You just stay in one class, and the teachers would change. Here, it is much better since you change classes.”

Photo Credit to Lilliana Escobar

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