What Foreign Exchange Students Say about United States Schools


While many believe America is still at the top when it comes to educating its youth, the numbers aren’t necessarily supporting that. This is an interesting fact given that the United States spends more per student than many of the other countries in the world.

Amanda Ripley, a reporter, set out to find out why the education outcomes here in the United States are mediocre at best. But instead of asking adults, she asked kids and more specifically, she spoke with foreign-exchange students. She targeted that population because they would have firsthand knowledge about the differences between the educational system here and in other countries.

She came away with three interesting observations.

  • School is harder overseas. The focus elsewhere is not homework but rigorous material. Education is taken more serious so much so that some countries select the content for what is taught while others use a national system to select its teachers.
  • Sports are more of a hobby than a way of life. Here in the United States sports are more of a distraction than a supplemental activity.
  • Kids see the value in education. They believe that there is something in it for them. They see the correlation between education and the trajectory of their life
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