Transferred Students from Other Countries Experience American School


Kate Hassemer, Staff Writer

One of the best things about Warren is the diversity in our school.  So many students in our school come from different walks of life.  This diversity is what makes our school special, and frankly, more interesting on a daily basis.  There is so much to learn from our classmates who come from other countries.  Some such students are Aldo ¨Sebastian¨ De Diego and Carmen Vega from Mexico, Leslie López from El Salvador, and Oscar Montas Jr. and Sophia Jane “Suijane” Perez from the Philippines.  Each student was asked the same set of 5 questions and how they responded is so fascinating.

The first question was ¨Why did you and your family move to Gurnee?¨ and their responses were quite similar.  Sebastian (2017), Carmen (2015), and Leslie (2015) moved here due to other family members, such as step-parents, godparents or siblings, living in the United States.  On the other hand, Oscar (2016) and Suijane (2013) moved here due to better job opportunities their parents received.

The second question was ¨What are the differences in the education you received in (whatever country the student was from) compared to classes at Warren?¨ Two things that most of the students told me was first, in Mexico, El Salvador, and the Philippines the teachers move from class to class while in America, the students move from class to class. Secondly, these students feel most of the classes in their countries were harder than the classes here at Warren.  Oscar mentioned a difference in the requirements for school.  According to what he stated, ¨All Philippine citizens are required to take an English language class at a young age.¨  He started to learn English when he was only 5 years old.  Suijane shared both likes and dislikes about the education here versus the Philippines.  She went from wearing uniforms in religious-based private schools to non-religious public schools in Gurnee.  She enjoys the variety of class options here but dislikes the moving around from class to class.

The next question was ¨What activities did you enjoy in your birth country versus here at Warren?¨  The majority of these students are active in sports and/or clubs.  Oscar is on the volleyball team and is on Vocal Velocity, which is one of the singing groups at Warren.  Suijane plays badminton and she likes to work with veterans, which is a job that she is currently doing.  She would like to be a PT (Physical Therapist) and plans on majoring in the medical field.  Sebastian used to help out his mom back in Mexico at the hospital, but in America, he is teaching his mom more English.  However, he did participate in varsity football this current school year but unfortunately had to quit due to personal reasons.  Carmen used to play soccer and used to be in poms, but now she sews and enjoys cosmetology.  And finally, Leslie isn’t participating in any current activities, as she admits that she is pretty shy.

Following that question, ¨What is your favorite class(es)?¨  Two popular answers were gym and Biology 2.  Sebastian is one of those people who picked Bio 2 as a favorite, especially the bug project.  On the other hand, back in Mexico, he really enjoyed history.  Carmen’s favorite class is gym.  Leslie really enjoys math.  She is currently taking PreCalc and she loves accounting.  Suijane enjoys Bio 2 and Art.  Finally, Oscar’s favorites are gym and choir.

Then, these students responded to ¨Have you traveled throughout the United States?  If so, what is your favorite state?” Leslie has traveled to Florida, but she doesn’t have a favorite state.  Suijane has traveled to 5 other states and her favorite is Colorado.  Sebastian, Carmen, and Oscar have not traveled outside of Illinois yet, but they all would like to travel when they get a chance to.

The final question was ¨What was it like living in El Salvador, Mexico, or the Philippines?  The weather?  The housing?  The economy?¨  For weather, the majority of these students mentioned that it was usually hot in the country they were from.  Back in Mexico for Sebastian, he barely got snow where he was living.  For Oscar and Suijane in the Philippines, there are a lot of hurricanes and their fall seasons are rainy.  For transportation in all three countries, buses (called trollies in the Philippines and called Combi in Mexico) are the main transportation and can be very crowded due to being the most popular transportation.  Another type of transportation in Mexico and the Philippines are taxis/cabs.  In the Philippines, motor tricycles (tricycles in a motorbike and sidecar form, has a wagon look to it) is another common type of transportation.  According to Oscar, the Philippines is a poor country and not a lot of people have cars.  Suijane, also from the Philippines, mentioned that ¨it is hard to find a job and to make money.¨  He also adds that there was lots of pollution.  Leslie was bothered by the violence in the poorer parts of El Salvador.  Carmen didn’t enjoy living in Mexico and she felt heartbroken when she saw all of the homeless people, especially the homeless kids asking for help.

Though we are all surrounded by such diversity, there is so much that we don’t know about the countries that our peers come from.  Interviewing these 5 students helped me change my perspective on the world outside of America. I hope other students will appreciate the different walks of life our peers and teachers come from.