A day in the life of an exchange student in Tucson, Arizona

Hi, my name is Josi (Josephine) and I am currently an exchange student in Tucson, Arizona. l ‘m going to give you an insight on one day in my life at an American high school.

It’s Thursday the ninth of December, today is the fourth day of my schools Christmas-spirit-week: ugly sweater day. I wake at 6 o’clock in the morning and start the day styling my hair in advance for the basketball game later today. After I’m ready, I go into the kitchen to prepare myself a bagel for breakfast. I go and put on my ugly sweater outfit for the day and fill up my water bottle before l leave the house around 7 am together with my host sister (Lisa from the Netherlands) and my host dad who gives us a ride to school. At school Lisa and I hang out with our friends until classes start at 8 am. 

I make my way to my first period class “economics” with my favorite teacher Mrs Wallace. In the US the relationships to teachers are a little more personal compared to Germany, here I am friends with lots of my teachers and we have conversations before and after class and even exchange phone numbers. 

In today’s econ lesson we learn about which payments require credit and which payments require debit card payment, later on in the lesson, we make a study guide for the upcoming test. In US high schools before tests the class makes a study guide with questions and answers almost identical to the test questions, to aid the students willing to study keep up their grades.

In the twelfth grade of high school, one only has seven subjects that form the seven periods of every school day. Since Thursdays are so-called “block days”, we only have every other period but for the length of two class periods, the periods that we do not have on Thursdays, we have in Wednesday’s block day lessons.

Therefore, my day continues with my third period English class. This period is one of my favorites because in the beginning of each lesson the class gets some time to discuss whatever we feel like talking about. When that time is over, we get some individual reading time on our novel Pride and Prejudice and afterwards we usually watch literary relevant movies. But today we do some grammar work that’s part of a bigger assignment that’s due the end of the semester.

After English I make my way to my fifth period: Maths. We review notes we looked at on Tuesday and take another set of notes on complex numbers. In Thursday’s Maths lessons we always try to get as much work done as possible so we can have a so-called “fun Friday”. In those “fun lessons” we play games and get some time to ourselves.

After fifth period it’s time for lunch. Since it’s spirit week there is a big speaker installed in the middle of the patio and all the students going to lunch that period including me and my friends gather and dance together and play games such as a three-legged race where the legs of two participants are tied together. We part ways again and go to our last period of the day, seventh period. My seventh is body conditioning class where our teacher times our half-mile-run and afterwards takes us to the weight room where we can pursue our own workout plans.

After school I meet up with some friends and we go get food at the taco place right across the road from our school. After I’m done eating, I make my way back to the school’s dance/cheer-room where me and my cheer-team get ready and prepare for the game. Watching and participating in sports games is a big part of the so-called high school spirit in the US, so the school band, my cheer team, lots of students and some teachers are in the gym to support our basketball team the “Pueblo Warriors” who keep up their winning streak and beat Walden Grove HS.

After the game my host dad picks me up from school and at home l grab some leftovers from dinner. Since in the US you don’t get homework unless you don’t finish your work in class I can go straight to bed after a fun but tiring day.