SHS Students Abroad


Lucia Zettler, Website and Photo Editor

Foreign exchange years or semesters abroad are an amazing opportunity for students to learn about the different cultures of countries firsthand. Many students have taken advantage of this chance to study abroad. This year, two of those students are juniors Stella Veazey and Radana Myers. 

Veazey is spending her first semester of this year in South Africa with a program called the School of Ethics and Global Leadership, or SEAGUl for short. 

“I found my program via the Semester School Network, and I applied thinking I wouldn’t get it. Then, when I did, it just kinda seemed like a no-brainer for me,” Veazey said. 

The admission process included a few short essays about things like her passions and how she would respond to certain situations. 

Veazey is attending the African Leadership Academy campus in Johannesburg, which includes seventeen Americans, along with a plethora of people from different countries. 

“One of the coolest things is just hearing all the different languages. For example, Arabic is spoken a lot here,” said Veazey. 

Despite the language and culture differences, Veazey has had no problem meeting new people.

“Everyone is so welcoming. I’ve never been in such a welcoming community. People just walk up to you and wanna know everything about you,” she explained, “I thought it would be kinda intimidating walking into a room full of people that are totally different from me, but it was honestly kinda easy.”

The school and program that Veazey is in is mostly aimed towards political science and national relations, so she learns more about things like ethics, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She’s also applying to a program called the International Relations Committee, which focuses on how to be a diplomat. 

“It has political science, which I’m very interested in, and I’ve never been this far away from home before so it seemed like the coolest option,” said Veazy.

While Veazy has been having an amazing time in South Africa, she has also had some struggles with different rules at her school. 

It’s been weird how the dorms are very segregated gender wise, and I’ve had to follow all these rules that I’ve never had to follow before has been a little strange,” she said.

Myers is also spending this year abroad. This fall, she flew to the Czech Republic to spend the school year. 

“Part of the reason why I went was just online schools, and doing that full time, and then I wanted to go somewhere other than Salida,” Myers explained. 

Her family is also from the Czech Republic, so she’s hoping to learn the language and culture better. 

“I thought I knew a lot of it, but I didn’t, so it’s been a struggle. I understand a lot, I just can’t speak that much,” Myers said.

Even with the language barrier, most people there still speak English, although her piano teacher only speaks Czech. She has played piano for many years and continues to do so while abroad. 

While she’s in the Czech Republic, Myers has been pursuing music as well as school. Along with piano lessons, she is part of an orchestra and plays for her host family’s folk dancing group. One thing she has loved is the more advanced public transportation system. She said the bus pass she bought was cheap and lasts for a year. 

“I love that you can just go anywhere so easily, and like you don’t even have to drive,” Myers said.

Myers is staying with a family of four with two younger host brothers. Her host family also has a cousin that lives a few miles from them, and grandparents who live next door, so Myers has a lot of people to get to know.

Myers has experienced some surprises involving her school experience abroad. Of course there are some cultural differences like taking off outside shoes to change into slides at school or standing up and sitting down when the teacher comes into a class, but for Myers there has also been some unanticipated similarities to SHS. 

“The schools are different than I was expecting. I thought it was gonna be like everyone is really respectful, but everyones sleeping in class and on their phones,” said Myers.

Myers applied for her exchange through the Rotary Youth program, which involved a lot of paperwork and doctors appointments, and an essay about her interests for her host family. 

An exchange year or semester seems like a great opportunity for students to broaden their horizons and explore new things, and Myers and Veazy are excited to see where their time abroad takes them.