UAHS student adjusts to a new school and a new country.


Senior Emma Jinschek spends her mornings on an hour-long commute via train to Copenhagen International School, as she watches her view of familiar suburban houses become increasingly urban—a routine that’s drastically different from the one she developed in Upper Arlington.

Last summer, Jinschek’s life underwent a seismic change when her dad received a job offer abroad.

Jinschek was born in California and has dual U.S.-German citizenship through her parents, but she grew up in the Netherlands. She came to Upper Arlington when she was 13. Despite her international background, Copenhagen was uncharted territory for Jinschek, having visited Denmark only as a toddler. Her previous experience of moving to the United States only exacerbated her worries.

“I knew what it felt like to go through that,” Jinschek said. “I was definitely really scared and really nervous [of meeting] new people and being in a new environment.” 

Consequently, this move separated Jinschek from the friends she had made during her four years in Upper Arlington. To mitigate this challenge, Jinschek has found ways to stay connected to home. For example, she has utilized Snapchat’s private story feature to keep in touch with her friends overseas.

“[I] post things about [what’s] been happening, we’re talking about my new friends and the new experiences that I have,” Jinschek said. “I think that really helps.” 

Jinschek posts stories detailing every aspect of life as an international student: the struggles, new friendships, social events and opportunities she’s encountered thus far.

U.S. International Schools allow children of parents whose jobs relocate often, like Jinschek’s, to receive an education in any country. And, although the main language of Jinschek’s school is English, international schools are filled with students of different cultural backgrounds, creating a student body composed of various identities.

“Everyone’s from a different culture, different religion, different country,” Jinschek said. [Everybody’s] different, so that kind of makes us [all] the same.”

In addition to a diverse student body, Jinschek’s teachers hail from diverse backgrounds.

“My math teacher lived in South Africa for a really long time. I think she [is] American, but she’s been immersed in so many cultures. My Spanish teacher is actually Spanish. My chem[istry] teacher [is from the UK],” she said.

At Copenhagen International School, Jinschek is exposed to a wide range of viewpoints.

“It [makes] conversations so [interesting] because everybody has [a] different perspective on everything because they’ve experienced their life differently,” Jinschek said.

Though the school is composed of a diverse range of nationalities and native languages, some European customs have still been adopted by Jinschek’s peers.

“[At parties, there’s] a lot of drinks; a lot of smoking,” she said. “Drinking’s legal [in Denmark] at 16, so it’s [a] very popular thing to do for teenagers, especially since we’re all 17 [or] 18. Smoking is a very popular thing in Europe in general… but you’re only allowed to do [that at] 18, so sometimes you have like an 18-year-old bring cigarettes.”

Copenhagen International School is a six-story International Baccalaureate (IB) school where Jinschek is accompanied by 76 other seniors. Since the Copenhagen International School operates on an IB program, Jinschek and her peers are in their second year of their two-year courses. However, she is taking many second-year IB courses without taking the first.

“I feel mostly just academically behind… standalone classes for IB in UA are just one year, here, [the IB classes are] two years… So I started the second year of IB [Chemistry] without taking the first year,” she said.

Jinschek plans on attending college in Europe, prioritizing universities that are close to home, Germany. Due to her citizenship status, she would attend German colleges for free, and Danish schools for only $3,000 a year.

“I’m going to study here [in Europe],” she said. “[But] I [don’t] know exactly where, and I don’t know what.”