Junior Oliver Bihuniak glances through a strategically cut piece of printer paper, listing various Spanish words. The list represents all of the benefits Oliver’s dad sees in moving the family from Kansas City to Spain. On the list are “tiempo” meaning “weather” and “amigos” meaning “friends,” along with many others.
Bihuniak is a Prairie Village native. He grew up cheering for Lancer football and eating Kansas City barbeque. Yet, a few weeks before his freshman year, Oliver’s life changed drastically when the Bihuniak’s moved to Pucol, Spain. Bihuniak spent 16 months learning a new language and an entirely different culture. In December of 2014, the Bihuniak family moved back to Prairie Village because of his mom’s job and Oliver’s requests. His older brother had gone through East years before him, but now it was Oliver’s turn to follow. The only difference between the two was Oliver’s choice to take on the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
The IB program is known at East for its extreme difficulty and demand for commitment, but Bihuniak was up for the challenge.
“I knew the program was going to be difficult,” Oliver said. “But I figured the difficult classes would help me once I got to college.”
Now, almost three months into IB, the Bihuniak family plans to move back to Spain. Oliver thought that this transition wouldn’t be problematic because his school in Spain also offers the program, yet he now knows his American credits will not transfer over to Spain. For example, Oliver is currently taking American History IB. Unfortunately, the class isn’t one that is available in his Spanish curriculum and therefore he won’t be eligible for the IB diploma because of his lack of credits.
“It’s super frustrating that I won’t be able to finish the program,” Oliver says. “But honestly I’m extremely relieved that I won’t have so much homework anymore.”
Next summer, Oliver will move back to Kansas City and return to SME for senior year in order to be reunited with all of his American friends and play another year of highschool soccer. Although he finds moving back and forth difficult in education aspects, he looks forward to the months to come.
“Spain is so beautiful and I can’t wait to travel all through Europe,” Oliver says. “But I know I’ll definitely be really excited to see my KC friends again next year.”