by Audrey Marguet/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Ms. Jordan Mosser speaks with Ainara Flores Garcia, one of the exchange students. Photo by Audrey Marguet
“Wow, that was my dream,” said Rosalia Golen, one of the eight exchange students of Greenfield Central who left their country, family and friends to come here and live the famous American dream for the next 9 months. Coming to a new country could be exciting but sometimes the adaptation is very hard. Making new friends, speaking another language and working for school is not that easy, from what the students said.
Golen is 17 years old and comes from Poland. She arrived in the US July 26, only 9 days before the beginning of school. For the moment, she really loves life in the United States. “You can choose your classes, it’s amazing!” she said. Schools in the USA are really different from the others, you can choose your classes,have to change rooms between every block… “In Poland, every year we have the same classes with the same people.” Another different thing here is sport and the other different clubs in school. Almost every student is engaged in one of them, and most of the parents are very invested in it. In European schools, it’s pretty rare to find such a varied list of clubs and sports teams in one school.
Going on an exchange year is a big decision to take, for the student who’ll leave their home country to live in a place where they don’t know anybody but also for the parents, who won’t be able to see their child for 10 months. However this experience is exciting. It could also be very hard, family, friends, house, everything they left home, most of the students are going to miss it very much.
“I think the hardest thing is not having public transportation,” Ms Jordan Mosser, GC’s German teacher who also works with the international students, said, “they have to be a lot more reliant on their host parent, or friends.” European students are habituated to be able to go almost everywhere by bus or trains. Coming here is a big change for them because you have to drive to get around; there’s no public transportation.
“It usually takes about a month for them to get fully comfortable,” Ms. Mosser said.
Cultural differences are pretty big between Europe and America, in school but not just school. From what the students say, everything here is bigger: schools, roads, cities,… For them, the thing they’re probably going to miss the most is food. Living 10 months without eating the food that they ate during all their life can be difficult.
But when you have a dream, nothing can stop you. Three years ago, Lorenzo Pedroni, from Italy, came with his family to visit the USA for one month, and then, came the idea of this exchange year. Now he’s here in Greenfield, and more than happy to be. He’s even going to try out for the basketball team.