Transfer students overcome obstacles

BY SOFIA RUSS

When sophomore Clementine Spaethe arrived at the Bay, she said she was confronted by a world of change and excitement. She transferred as an exchange student from France last year and had the chance to live with a host family in Weston.

“When I first came to the Bay, I was anxious to find out what this school had in store for me and how fast I would be able to adapt to it,” Spaethe said.

Spaethe said her first impression of the Bay was mostly influenced by its vast campus and massive student population.

“My first day of school was a little nerve-wracking because the amount of students in the hallways was overwhelming compared to my school back in France,” Spaethe said.

Ever since Spaethe transferred to the Bay, she said her education has blossomed because of the variety of clubs and classes offered. She is involved in the Interact Club and enjoys language classes, such as Spanish and French.

“I enjoy attending the Bay because I am able to learn and prepare for my future in a way that I could not before,” Spaethe said.

According to Spaethe, the education offered in France has many differences compared to the education at the Bay.

“Before transferring, I received a new class schedule every week and I had to stay in the same classroom all year round,” Spaethe said. “Now, school is easier for me due to the better learning environment.”

However, Spaethe said not all changes have helped her adapt to her new school environment. She said learning how to speak English made moving to a new school a slow transition for her.

“Making friends and speaking up was difficult for me at the beginning because I did not speak English well, but eventually everything fell into place and language no longer created a barrier between my classmates and I,” Spaethe said.

For sophomore Bill Jiang, transferring from Somerset Academy introduced new obstacles into both his educational and social life.

“Like most transfers, my social life obviously slowed down, but it is nice to meet new people through this process,” Jiang said.

Although Jiang’s social life was impacted, he said he pays more attention to his academic life and how his transfer has affected it.

“The Bay is definitely more academically competitive compared to my old school, but this keeps me motivated to work hard in my classes,” Jiang said.

Jiang said he misses certain features about his old school, but he is overall happy he went through this change.

“I love the atmosphere at Cypress Bay, but I miss having a smaller class where everyone knew each other,” Jiang said.

Like Jiang, junior Rafael Wever said he faced many obstacles when he first transferred from his school in Venezuela to the Bay. However, he said his optimism and determination allowed him to succeed as a new student.

“At first, I was terrified of going to school with more than 4,000 kids because my school in Venezuela was tiny compared to the Bay, but I knew I had to push through and focus on doing my best,” Wever said.

Like Spaethe, Wever said he was in disbelief when he found out about the variety of classes he could choose from.

“I knew I had to take advantage of the education that was being offered to me and make smart decisions that would benefit me in the future,” Wever said.

After finally settling into his new school, Wever said he was able to discover who he truly was.

“Coming to this school really forced me to come out of my shell,” Wever said. “I did not fit in at first, but when I began making friends, I realized how happy I would be here.”

English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher Sonia Ramirez said she plays a pivotal role in the lives of transfer students who come to the Bay from foreign countries.

“I have a big responsibility in helping new students become comfortable in speaking the English language so they can be successful in all of their classes,” Mrs. Ramirez said.

Mrs. Ramirez said she becomes more than just a teacher to many transfer students because she pushes them to be their best in not only her class, but in all areas of their school life.

“I try to fill in the gap so they can feel that they can progress in their second language and be more active as students,” Mrs. Ramirez said. “I begin to know them individually and after they are used to speaking English, I make sure they like the school and that they are comfortable in their environment.”

Although Spaethe initially faced obstacles, she was able to persevere and adapt to her new school environment.

“The Bay is an awesome school. I really think it is making me into the best student I can be,” Spaethe said. “ I love the atmosphere here and I am happy I had the opportunity to transfer to this school.”

 

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