EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the first 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.
STEPHENVILLE (January 17, 2015) – Sharon Schaap came to the United States from the Netherlands to improve her English, learn about other people and play softball. All of which make her a perfect fit at SHS.
Schaap brings plenty of talent to the school’s team as well, having played for the Dutch national youth team and in the World Series Little League in 2012. She is also staying with SHS softball coaches Kristi and Rus Mayes.
Schaap graduated last year, but was not sure what she wanted to do for college, which prompted her to sign up for a study abroad program.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Schaap said. “My English got way better.”
Although Schaap came expecting to experience a “High School Musical” version of American high school – short skirts, students making out in the hallways and other stereotypes of high school students – she enjoys the atmosphere here.
“Everyone is wearing sweatpants and stuff like that,” Schapp said. “Back home, you really had to dress up to go to school because people were going to judge you if you didn’t really do it, but here everyone is like, “I don’t really care.””
The biggest difference between the Netherlands and Texas, according to Schaap, is transportation.
“We have a lot of buses or bikes or trains,” Schaap said. “Here everything is with a car. If you don’t have a car or license, it’s pretty hard to get somewhere.”
Schaap enjoys the Texas hospitality most of all. She’s had challenges making friends but says that everyone is “super nice.”
“It’s always really hard for me to go up to people and talk to them, but here I kind of learned how to do it,” Schaap said. “I was always a super shy girl, but it’s different here I think.”