“I Was Like a Lost Animal:” Juniors Who Transferred from Abroad on Their Moves

Isabella Dudley-Flores, Editor-in-Chief

“Growing up with Hollywood high school movies, you have a general idea of what you might face,” said Uddeshya Agrawal.

Agrawal is originally from Delhi, India, which is home to over 32 million people. Now, after a 16-hour flight in September, he lives in Manhattan with his mother who is on a diplomatic mission.

“All the people I’ve loved in my life, or the people I’ve known in my entire life, except for my mother, they’re in Delhi,” he said.

Aside from being away from his family, America’s school system is a new experience for Agrawal.

“[The] American education system relies a lot more on understanding things,” he said.

His experience with the education in India was that it was “very rigorous” and was more about remembering content rather than understanding it. A similarity, though, is being taught in English.

“The textbooks, what you wrote on the board, what you wrote in your notebook, it was all in English,” he said. “How we communicated with our classmates and with our teachers – that was generally in Hindi.”

He said most students in India, including him, learn English to the same capacity as Hindi.

Marko Frchkoski moved to NYC from North Macedonia’s capital city, and while his first language is Macedonian, his English is “so fresh” due to starting private lessons at age six.

He lived in the country’s capital, Skopje. Macedonia only has a quarter of New York City’s population calling it home. He moved in the summertime due to his dad being the UN ambassador for his home country.

“When I got [here], I was like a lost animal, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to try so many things, and there were so many options and I wanted to visit so many places,” said Frchkoski.

He visited Times Square and Broadway – though he didn’t watch any performance – along with other popular tourist spots. Through these excursions, he began to prefer America to his home country.

“Sometimes, even right now, I can’t believe I’m in here, in this school,” he said. He especially enjoys Americans’ “positive energy.”

“Everyone here is so energetic and I like that,” said Frchkoski.

Maria Barcala moved to NYC from Brazil where she believes people are kinder than those in America.

“They are warmer people,” she said over Instagram Direct Message.

She prefers living in her Portuguese-speaking country, but for now, she lives with her dad in Brooklyn. She remembers “being sad” her first few weeks in the states.

Abilaykhan Zhassuzakov also recently became a Baruch student. He’s from Kazakhstan’s capital and now lives in Manhattan – his flight was 18 hours total. His dad’s career at the UN as the Military representative for Kazakhstan caused his move to NY.

His first language is Russian, but he is also fluent in Kazakh and has been learning English since he was around seven years old.

Zhassuzakov has found school in America less difficult than his private school in Kazakhstan. He said education where he’s from is more focused on math and science than it is in the USA.

“It’s really easy to me to study here,” he said. “Except some English words that are new to me.”