Switching Countries

Senior Jay Smith stands in front of his car for a photo

Courtesy

Senior Jay Smith stands in front of his car for a photo

Zach Planche, Sports Editor

As the plane door opens, the intense Texas heat hits senior Jay Smith. Sweat begins to build on his forehead and becomes overwhelmed, very different from the United Kingdom. Smith moved from the United Kingdom his junior year after an enjoyable visit to the Lone Star state to preview a possible destination for his father’s job.

“We visited Texas about two years ago and just fell in love with [the state] so we decided to move here,” Smith said. “I moved at the beginning of my junior year, but it was kind of weird because you graduate high school in England at 16.”

Smith’s family made the move because of a job opportunity for his father. His mother worked as a nurse in England then became a COVID-19 nurse in the United States because of high demand. 

“I haven’t seen any of my other family members since we moved here because we haven’t been able to go back,” Smith said. “Hopefully with the vaccines we can go back sometime this year.”

Despite the lack of family, Smith attempted to make the most out of American high school and his overall situation; he played soccer his junior year. Unlike in England, Smith says soccer is taken much more seriously here at the high school level.

“I think people are a little more serious about it here, if you play soccer here it’s kind of a big deal,” Smith said. “Whereas in England it was more of a fun activity.”

A friend and former teammate, sophomore Nedim Pasalic believe Smith had a smooth transition to high school sports and American society in general.

“Jay had a really unique sense of humor and accent, those were the only noticeable differences about him,” Pasalic said. “He adapted to the culture by hanging out with [the team] and having social interaction.” 

Besides slight cultural differences, American society and high school have not been much different than in England. However, the experience here has been a dream-like for Smith.

“Our high school is something that British people dream about, it’s only in the movies,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m in High School Musical.”