EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the eighth, and final, in a multi-part series about Stephenville High School’s foreign exchange students. These students travel from all over the world and study as juniors at the high school. If you are interested in hosting a foreign exchange student next year, contact Mike Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEPHENVILLE (March 20, 2016) – Tim Huizinga traveled from the Netherlands to be able to experience the American sports culture. He also graduated from his high school last year and was not sure where he wanted to go to college, so he decided to travel abroad. Huizinga is spending the semester living with Jeremy and Wendy Sanders.
“I play American football back home and that’s why I came here – to play American football,” Huizinga said. “I just like the sports culture, that you have sports in high school, because we don’t have that. There’s no extracurricular activities.”
Unfortunately, Huizinga tore his ACL after beginning football two-a-days and had to return to the Netherlands for surgery. He will be released from physical therapy this spring.
“I probably would have done football, track and soccer,” Huizinga said.
Even though Huizinga was unsure of how to be involved after his injury, he has made friends and said, “it worked out.”
“I’ve tried something new I never would have tried before,” Huizinga said. “I’m in golf now. I enjoy hanging out with friends.”
Huizinga said that everything in Texas is different from the Netherlands from the roads to the school to the food.
“There’s bigger portions [of food],” Huizinga said. “We have more vegetables and potatoes, and you have more meat. I like it though.”
Huizinga loves the American culture and the people, too.
“I like the people here,” Huizinga said. “Everybody is really nice. I like that everybody is really involved in stuff in school. Back home, after you had school you went home and that was it.”
Besides the extracurricular activities here, Huizinga noticed SHS is a more relaxed and student-friendly environment than his school at home.
“We only have core classes,” Huizinga said. “We don’t have electives that make school a little bit fun. It’s very strict. Here grades are really important too, but it’s more loose. It’s more relaxed. That’s why I like it here. It’s not as much pressure.”
Even though Huizinga enjoys Stephenville now, he originally was not sure how he felt about coming.
“I’ve always lived in the city,” Huizinga said. “I looked [Stephenville] up on Google Maps to see how many people lived here, and I kind of prejudged Stephenville. Small town, Texas. I thought people drove everywhere with tractors and horses. But, I was kind of wrong about that. I thought it was going to be very country. But, now I’m here, and it’s fun. I like the cities and the country now.”