Culture from around the world in one place: Brighton

Katie Tarnacki and Lucas Vasconcelos

The foreign exchange program at Brighton High School has an average of seven to ten students from around the world every year. Through this program, cultures are shared to both the students who live in Brighton and the foriegn exchange students. Languages, food, fashion, manners and mannerisms, and educational standards are exchanged between students, broadening their world views.

According to Kris Nelson, the social worker at the high school, these students bring in different structures of education, social practices, and group activities. The students engage with many peers through various social activities, such as sports and other extracurricular events. 

Nelson explained that the program the kids are here with connects them with foreign exchange students from nearby school districts. The students are considered seniors and finish their high school career here in America. This means that they get to participate in all senior activities such as class pictures, senior pictures, graduation ceremony, and more. 

During the entire year that the students are here, they are away from their family at home. 

Nelson said “In the time that I have been a part of this program it is very rare to see the families come visit. I’ve seen it happen maybe twice at the most. It is a long journey for both the students and their parents.” 

The exchange students bring a cultural awareness to the students at Brighton, which would not have been available with the “Brighton Bubble” or the lack of diversity. This year, there is a total of 12 students all from different countries in the world. Having this variety allows students to expand their awareness of the world. 

Counselor Jody Petit says “students who are willing and wanting to come here and are willing and wanting to get involved in our school share more experiences.”  

As a result of the program both the exchange students and the Brighton students get the opportunity to expand their horizons.