The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Grizzlies Across the Globe: GBHS students find abroad programs

Even though GBHS doesn’t offer opportunities abroad, students find ways to satisfy their wanderlust.

Senior Noah Lemos gets up at 6:30 a.m and heads to school, but rather than coming to Granite Bay High School, Lemos is 19 hours away, headed to his exchange school in Oita, Japan.

GBHS has seen its fair share of exchange students from Italy to Chile, but the students from our area remain land locked as our high school currently does not offer exchange programs. For some students, they may see a closed door, but for GBHS students like Noah Lemos, Julia Rachman and Shiven Batra, there are other doors which open to remarkable opportunities.

“Japanese culture is cool, but I feel like the thing that I’m going to be thinking about walking away from this is the people I’ve made friends with and talk to while I’m here” Lemos said. 

He is currently enrolled abroad with the American Field Service program (ASF), which was founded by young Americans during the World War periods with the mission of creating peace and understanding through student exchange. Lemos is the picture of ASF’s mission as he has not only made friends with fellow Japanese students, but also exchange students from Mongolia, Fiji and Germany.

Story continues below advertisement

Senior Julia Rachman’s program, Semester at Sea, will take her to 11 different countries in the 2024 spring semester. Oftentimes, participants do not stay in one location for more than five days. 

“There are people of all different classes and all different races and it’s important to go see the world especially when you’re young,” Rachman said after reflecting on the predominately white and privileged demographics of GBHS.

Taking the initiative, Lemos and Rachman set off on their international adventures through their respective programs. As Rachman currently battles the endless prerequisites of getting Visas and passports approved 5612 miles away, Lemos faces the occasional bouts of homesickness. 

“It’s made me have this newfound patriotism for Granite Bay, the greater Sacramento area and America in general,” Lemos said. 

The stark contrast of GBHS culture to other schools is quite apparent, and even more so when you step outside US bounds. While attending school exclusively indoors was a big adjustment for native Californian Lemos, a bigger adjustment was the expectation to wear uniforms and slippers in lieu of shoes while inside school grounds. 

These works are from sculptor Fumio Asakura at the Asakura Museum of Sculpture in Oita, Japan. Asakura loved cats, and so there are several cat statues throughout the museum. Photo courtesy of Noah Lemos

Junior Shiven Batra also experienced culture shocks in his summer abroad program, Amigos, in Ecuador. He explained the different lifestyle habits such as eating one huge lunch instead of lunch and dinner. Studying in the summer doesn’t sound like fun, until you’re waking up above a rainbow in the Andes mountains. The cherry on top is because he got in via application, the entire program was free of cost. Like Lemos, Batra has crossed paths with people he never would have met if he had not taken this chance to travel to a different continent.

“All of us kind of have weekly calls and stuff. I still text my host mom, sometimes she’s like, how are you?” Batra said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, rates of high school students studying internationally plummeted and still have not come back completely. Depending on priorities, whether it’s making new friends or experiencing new cultures, studying abroad might be a new door to unlock. There are 7.8 billion other people on this planet and some Granite Bay students make it a mission to meet friends from all walks of life. 

“But where Japanese people really shine is just raw, raw kindness.” Lemos said. Even 19 hours away, high school students are still high school students, even if that means you bow to your teacher instead of waving to them on your way out. 

In the small town of Yufuin, Lake Kinrin holds dozens of golden Koi. Photo courtesy of Noah Lemos

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Audrey Baime
Audrey Baime, Bounds Broken Editor
Audrey Baime is the Bounds Broken editor on Granite Bay Today. This is her first year on the Granite Bay Today staff.

Comments (0)

Comments may not be immediately displayed.
All Granite Bay Today Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *