Foreign Exchange Students Experience American Homecoming


Photo by: Deborah Bovio (AP Art teacher)

AP Art students accompany the foreign exchange students on a field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Homecoming is a dance originally dedicated to a school’s alumni returning home to reminisce of old memories of past schools and friends. The dance usually revolves around the Friday night football game, spirit week dress-up days, and other activities meant to excite students for the dance. These festivities are almost nonexistent in other countries around the world. Many foreign teenagers only receive the opportunity to discover these activities when they participate in an exchange program.

“Spain isn’t very fun, so we don’t have anything fun like Homecoming,” said Spanish sophomore foreign exchange student Alejandro Prieto Perez.

The act of honoring alumni’s return is expressed around the world, but in Germany, instead of hosting a separate dance for the return, they combine it with the dance celebrating the graduation of upperclassmen, referred to in Germany as Abiball, but most popularly known in the U.S. as prom.

“I want to go with my friends. I think it is more fun to have this awesome experience together with your friends than a date,” said German sophomore foreign exchange student Charlotte Kontakt.

“I’ve never been to Homecoming; I don’t even know what it is,” said freshman Chinese foreign exchange student Mark Zhang.

While these traditions are commonly known here in the states, other countries have different ideas and perspectives on the subject. Most of their knowledge on the matter comes from American movies, TV shows, literature, and social media.

“I think Hoco will be fun because it won’t be as expensive as prom and you don’t have to spend all your money buying clothes for it,” said junior Vietnamese foreign exchange student An Nguyen.

The most stressful aspects of homecoming include dress shopping, making plans, and most of all, asking someone to the dance. Many people cope with the date dilemma by simply joining a group of friends.


Our 12 foreign exchange students have had the opportunity to experience many fun and exciting events, including a trip to the DIA.  Fortunately, for them, they also get the opportunity to experience a truly American high school event – the Homecoming dance this Saturday.

“I hope I will have some awesome pictures which I will keep forever. And I hope I will have so much fun and get to really know what Homecoming is like,” said Kontakt.