Liberian Student Featured in School's Newspaper
Eric Gaye, a YES student from Liberia spending his year at Pleasanton High School in the United States, was recently featured in his school's newspaper. While the school has hosted many other exchange students, Eric is their first from Liberia. Eric is from Zwedru, which is located in the southeastern region of Liberia. At home, Eric was involved in many leadership activities, taking on the role of secretary for his church's youth group and student advocate, organizer, and motivational speaker against child abuse. Coming to the U.S. "has been a lifelong dream," says Eric. "It is my expectation to learn new things so I could also develop myself educationally and learn about this new culture."
Thus far, Eric has made many interesting observations about differences between American culture and Liberian culture. "The dress code and behavior are different from our school," notes Eric. Similarly, "the food in Liberia is very different from American food...the first food they gave me, I didn't know what it was. They gave me cheese and what looked like leaves, and I told the people I cannot eat a leaf, but during our orientation they told us to try new food because we were going to learn a new culture, so I was prepared to eat the food." Eric has also discovered that while "we [Liberians] listen to music very similar to here because we are an English speaking country, we also have our own music, instruments, and anthems."
However, Eric has also noticed the similarities between the two cultures. He says of Liberia, "life is no more different than here. We have holidays that we celebrate, we go to church, people go to malls, and people have fun. I would like the school to know that Liberia is a country just like America. Our ancestors are the same, and I hope that I can fit in here."
Original story published in Pleasanton High School newspaper and written by Bianca Campos