Senior Mag 2023: How a transfer student found his place in Saratoga

August 30, 2023 — by George Huang and Hannah Lee
Photo by Idan Talker
Idan takes a selfie during his first week at SHS
Idan Talker adjusts to school in the U.S.  after moving from Israel in his senior year.

As Idan Talker approached the field from the parking lot, he could hear chatter and the distant clanking of the metallic bleachers. It was the day of the Homecoming football game in late September, a day that had been hyped up by all those morning announcements, and the first time Idan, who had moved to Saratoga from Israel for his final year of high school, would experience American football. 

Looking back, he said watching the game was one of his most memorable experiences at the school. 

“I love the fast pace of the game,” Idan said. “While I was a bit confused about the rules at first, I asked the people sitting around me and they were really helpful.” 

From having to adjust to a completely new curriculum to changing his dietary habits, Idan learned to navigate an unfamiliar environment after moving to America in the summer of 2022. Idan previously lived in a small farming town in Israel called Binyamin before moving to the U.S for his dad’s work. He intends to attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and take advantage of the diverse opportunities that come with living here. While he had lived in America as a child several years ago, he has spent a majority of his life in Europe.

“I started here at the school just a couple of weeks after I came from Israel,” Idan said. “My dad got a job and I wanted to go to college here and maybe go to the army later.”

While he ranks Saratoga as the best living environment he has experienced, Idan said that he’s noticed numerous cultural and educational differences, including with the curriculum at the high school. Both the STEM and Humanities courses at Saratoga were different from the ones he took in Israel, and some were particularly challenging. Idan chose AP Literature & Composition for his English course, which he found to be his hardest class due to the depth in which he was expected to analyze text while not being the most fluent at English. 

“I’ve always enjoyed reading,” Idan said. “However, writing essays is pretty hard since my English is far from perfect.”

Idan said he also struggled with math since he had to make a lot of material up on his own, but he ultimately believes he learned a lot through this.

In addition, Idan found that he has had to adjust to the societal norms and pop culture here in America. 

“I see a LOT more Teslas in Saratoga,” Talker said. “And obviously, there’s a difference in language and culture.”

Talker said his first month was scary and overwhelming; however, he was able to quickly find his place in the school. When asked what helped him adjust the most, he said, “My friends from the school and the community college courses I take helped me a lot, and we still hang out even after the courses ended. I’m very grateful for them.”

After a year, Idan has become much more comfortable not only in school, but also in the community as a whole. 

“While I don’t know many people in my situation, a transfer student and an immigrant, my advice is just to go for it,” he said. “Don’t be scared about the consequences. You’ll thank me later.” 

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