Foreign exchange students learn to manage life in a new country


Changing high schools or moving to a new state can be challenging and nerve racking for many students, but imagine moving to a new country. At THS there are two foreign exchange students who both play soccer: Junior Jose Pedro (who mostly goes by JP) and Vincent Minulla.

Pedro came from the country Chile, which is in South America. Pedro’s reason for wanting to come to America was to learn more English because he didn’t know much at all when he arrived. He originally wanted to leave after his first semester at Tunstall, but he stayed to play soccer in the spring.

He has been playing soccer for the past 6 years before he came to America, so he was happy he was able to play once he came to THS. “I have enjoyed having a new team, new friends, and the team has become like my family,” Pedro said.

Minulla came from Germany and met Pedro at the same time in the airport in July 2021. He wanted to come to America for a different reason, which was to have a high school experience. “I wanted to experience high school more, but it was so hard at first to learn English,” Minulla said.

Minulla, however, had never played soccer until the 2022 spring semester.  “JP was playing and I decided that I might as well play and maybe I can try something different,” Minulla said. Minulla kickboxed for six years and he also played baseball. Since he has never played soccer before this year, he was able to use rules he learned from a video game called FIFA.

”FIFA helped me learn the rules and I played it on a class trip and won the tournament,” Minulla said.

Pedro noticed some differences between soccer in Chile and America once he began playing in America. “It is so much different because now I’m playing a new position and we have different tactics in Chile,” Pedro said.

Minulla believes that in America soccer is more fun and not as strict. He believes that his teammates is what has made his high school experience here. “I have enjoyed my teammates here because the chemistry is good, even though I sit on the bench,” Minulla said.

Minulla is most excited about knowing how to play soccer once he arrives back in Germany. “I was the only boy in his class that didn’t play soccer and it was so hard to compete against them,” Minulla said.

Minulla is planning to travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, after his dad arrives to the United States to see the most he can of the East Coast.

Minulla and Pedro will both be leaving to go back to their countries in June and they want to leave future foreign exchange students with this advice: “Don’t be scared, go and talk to people, try new sports, do something after school like extracurricular activities, and try new classes,” Minulla said.

”Don’t be shy, be yourself, and don’t be scared because here nobody cares because here others don’t care if you do something different,” Pedro said.