RHS welcomes two exchange students


Kaylynn Waldron

Jaeger poses after his soccer game. 

Walking down the halls, it is commonplace for one to see others left and right that they don’t know and may never meet. Students of different backgrounds, cultures and ideals that have all been joined together for a small moment during a passing period bustle swiftly past each other, talking with friends. Among the endless faces, there are two that tell a very unique story.

This year Revere High School welcomed many new students to the district. While most of the students came from different states or school districts, two students, sophomores Omar Moussa and Timo Jaeger, traveled from different countries as exchange students. 

These two students, coming from Egypt and Germany respectively have had to overcome the difficulties that come with any move, on top of those that come from being thousands of miles away from their home country, and they have risen to the challenge. 

There are many differences between the American, German and Egyptian cultures outside of school life. Food, religion, behavior and even fashions are among them. One of Jaeger’s observations on the differences between American and German culture was transportation.

“The main thing is that you have to drive to most of the places and you can’t just walk into a town and see shops,” Jaeger said. 

When describing his first few weeks at Revere, Moussa relayed that the building was tough to navigate but became easier as time passed.  

“At first it was like every time I had the period, I had to look on my phone to find the classroom and ask where the classroom was. It was like a maze for me, but now it’s familiar and I have friends in every class,” Moussa said. 

He also described the hardship in being away from family and friends he has been with all his life. Making friends and learning how to navigate school at Revere was also a little more difficult than he had thought it would be. But throughout it all he has stayed optimistic and engaged, creating relationships and learning new things. 

“It’s not so easy but I’m getting used to it. I think it’s cool,” Moussa said.

One reason it was harder for the students to navigate the building than other students with backgrounds in high school relates back to school in their countries. One difference is that at school in Egypt, the teacher is the one having to make their way to the students. 

“You don’t go to classes every period; you stay in one class with your classmates and the teacher comes to you,” Moussa said. 

Moussa also mentioned that students do not have the same curriculum as American students do. In Egypt there is no writing class. The focus is more on science and math. Along with that, the students don’t get to choose their classes; they are assigned by age. For example a tenth grader would have the same classes as all the other tenth graders. 

In Germany, Jaeger explained that their schedule also differs from one of a Revere student. Instead of having the same classes every day, in Germany the classes rotate. 

“You have five different classes a day, but it’s different every day,” Jaeger said. 

To put it into perspective Jaeger explained that in Germany he may have English one or two days a week instead of consecutively. This type of schedule is not uncommon in Europe. Schools in France have a similar schedule of staggering classes. 

To get involved, both have joined sports programs. Jaeger is on the Freshman soccer team, where he switches between right and left wing, whereas Moussa has taken a different approach and joined the Revere Minutemen football team. His primary position is wide receiver. Each has enjoyed their time in the sports, meeting new people and staying active. 

Nicholas Kos, an English teacher and also the film class instructor, has both students in his class. Kos has been a teacher at Revere for five years and has had experience with exchange students in the past. Jaeger and Moussa have taken an interest in the film class. 

“They both appear to have a pretty good eye for video,” Kos said.

 With his experience in the past, Kos has insight into what an exchange student can bring to a classroom. 

“They bring their culture with them and from my experience many of the students that come from other countries have been very assimilated, so they adapt very well to our culture here and then bring their own culture and flavor to the class,” Kos said.  

Having both Moussa and Jaeger in his film class has allowed Kos a close look into their experiences at Revere. Kos relayed that both students have participated and added to the class in many ways because of their experiences. Moussa has been open in sharing photos and stories from back home. 

“I’ve gotten to see and experience some of the things just from briefly looking at his pictures and that was cool,” Kos said. 

Kos said that few arrangements are made in classes to accommodate an exchange student. Most times, he is unaware that a student is from out of the country until the student themselves make it known. From there, a teacher would make a plan of action based on how accustomed a student is to American Culture. 

Jaeger noted that “it’s interesting to see how it has different rules” when talking about his time in the film class. Similarly, Omar noted filmmaking as one of the subjects he has taken the biggest interest in along with elements of art, guitar foundation and chemistry. 

Moussa has also described his program, which allowed him to come to the states. 

“It’s a program called the YES program, which stands for Youth Exchange Students, and it’s from the American department. And my organization at AOYA academic here in America, they help me a lot and get me pocket money every month, and I have got my host family from them,” Moussa said. 

He also mentioned that there were 8,000 applicants to the program, but only 44 were able to get through. This is due to the lack of host families available around the country. 

Moussa and Jaeger are both staying with The Schulin family, who do not have children in The Revere Schools. 

Both Moussa and Jaeger have become involved in the school and made a huge impact on those around them. Just by making the oolong journey from home and enrolling in Revere, they have met every component of the Vision of a Minuteman through their perseverance and openness to this new experience.