Foreign students exchange new experiences


Kiara Calasans Borges is a foreign exchange student who came from Spain

There are seven foreign exchange students this year from 6 different countries, who have all crossed hundreds of miles to reach the USA.

One of them is junior Leonie Neitzel, who traveled 16 hours and 4,700 miles to arrive at Fort Wayne, coming from Dresden, Germany.

The transition from Germany to United States was a major change. In Germany and many other European countries, cities are more compact, which means that cars aren’t required to drive everywhere.

Leonie said that one thing she learned to value was public transport.

With the average American driving 14,263 miles per year, the average German traveling only 8388.5 miles per year, and the rising gas prices, public transportation is more valuable than ever.

Another difference is the school schedule and routine.

School in Germany starts at 7:30 am, and ends between 2:00 and 3:00 pm, depending on Leonie’s schedule. The schedule would change for her every day, so she would have about 13 different classes a week.

In another contrast between Germany and America, instead of students changing classrooms, the teachers change classrooms. She stayed with the same people all day, so she didn’t know many people outside of her classes.

Additionally, tests were more spaced out, resulting in Leonie only having to study every couple weeks.

“My first impression of school here is that you need to keep up with your school work here more than in Germany, but the test and quizzes you take are easier in the US,” said Leonie. “One thing that surprised me were the classes and how nice the teachers are here. I love the school spirit in the US and how supportive this school is.”

Another foreign exchange student who came from Spain, Kiara Calasans Borges, agreed that the people in classes surprised her.

“Here there’s lots of open-minded people, and you can talk to anyone in your classes,” Borges said. “In Spain you can’t really do that. However, I’m also pretty shy, so that factors into things.”

One differing thing that Borges mentioned was the food. America has a lot more fast food, which Kiara said was unhealthier, but more savory.

Inka Uhe, who came from Germany, said that there, dining isn’t like the usual American way. She said her family has a warm dish that’s like lunch, like soup or a sandwich, and then later in the evening she has food such as bread for dinner.

It’s not just the food itself that’s different. In France, students get 2 hours to eat lunch, versus the limited time of about half an hour Carroll students have to eat.

Louane Beaudart, who comes from France, says that the advice she has for other students is to get involved with clubs and talk–a lot.

“When you get involved with things and speak the language, you get the gist of it, and speaking English becomes easier,” said Beaudart.

For future foreign students, Leonie had some lasting advice.

“My advice for any exchange student is just to be open. You need to realize that this will probably go by faster than you want it to, so you need to do everything. All of the things that are fun, talk to people, but also do things that scare you because what I realized is that this is the only chance we get at life, and we should use it the best we can every day.”