Khadija Ouanes from Tunisia

(Olivia Loomis) Ouanes, from Tunisia, decided to travel with AFS after a family friend’s recommendation to do so. She resides with the Eders.
(Olivia Loomis) Ouanes, from Tunisia, decided to travel with AFS after a family friend’s recommendation to do so. She resides with the Eders.

Khadija Ouanes, one of the three new AFS students, joins SHS from Bizerte, Tunisia. This 16-year-old is living with the Eder family.

Molly Eder, junior, is Ouanes’s host sister, and is excited to have her staying with the family this year.

“I thought it would be fun to add a new sister to the mix. It’s cool because we come from different cultures and backgrounds and we get to appreciate both of them,” Eder said.

Ouanes decided to do AFS because of a family friend’s advice to do so. In addition, she was open to new experiences and wanted to travel.

“I feel like this experience makes you more responsible because you have to manage your money and take care of yourself, so you’re getting more responsibility,” Ouanes said.

When asked why Ouanes wanted to travel to the U.S. she said that it was really one of the only options.

“It’s where people want to go … English is an international language, so by coming here, I can improve my English and it will help me so much,” Ouanes said.

Ouanes noted some interesting differences between Milwaukee and her hometown.

“The weather is very different. Your fall is our winter; I’ve never seen snow before and it gets hotter there in summer,” Ouanes said.

She was also surprised by some difference in education.

“This school is much bigger than my school … teaching is also different. In Tunisia, you don’t get to choose [your classes], but here you get to choose your classes,” Ouanes said.

Ouanes was excited to be able to choose what classes to take this year; she does not enjoy math or science classes, so she did not select to take any this year. She also notes a difference in standardized testing between the two nations.

“We have the Baccalaureate that you have to take your senior year in Tunisia. Everyone has to do it, and if you don’t succeed on that test you have to do your whole senior year again. It is a very big deal in Tunisia,” Ouanes said.

“Back home, I was in the drama club for three years, but we only did drama in French, not English,” Ouanes said.

Ouanes said in her free time she also enjoys reading, hanging out with her friends and taking care of her dog.

Another difference between Tunisia and the U.S. is that in the U.S. the dogs are much bigger; in Tunisia dogs are pug-sized.

Ouanes wanted to express her gratitude towards the Eder family for letting her stay with them as a guest this year.

by Erin Szablewski

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