The American Dream

Maddie Smucker, Reporter

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This year at Junction City High School, there are three foreign exchange students: Jacopo Orsini from Milan, Italy, Luis Barwalde from Frankfurt, Germany, and Mera Bussmann from Freiburg, Germany. When interviewed on their experiences in Junction City, they each commented on how grateful they were for the new experiences and friends they had already made in the first half of their exchange.
When asked about her initial reaction to Junction City, Mera Bussmann said, “If I’m being honest, when I first arrived the houses and everything just looked so American, like what you see in the movies, you know.” She went on to talk about how Americans were very personable, but almost “too friendly” compared to what she was used to in Germany. Her favorite aspect of America is the school and the new family and friends she has made here. From her exchange year she hopes to, “Learn everything she can about American culture, and live the ‘American Dream.’”
Since both Mera Bussmann, and Luis Barwalde are originally from Germany, they easily became friends after meeting. Both agreed that it has been nice to have someone from home to talk with, but they also agree that it’s not exactly a good thing either. This is because, from the exchange program, they had hoped to speak more English and expand their vocabulary. Having someone to talk German with on a regular basis doesn’t exactly help them with that goal. In addition to making a new friend, Luis has also started a relationship with Junior Mariah Jacobson. He has noticed cultural differences between here and his home and in particular he talked about how American parents had stricter rules about dating than what he was used to back in Germany. He said, “It’s a little weird because of communication issues, and for example people here are way stricter, the parents are way stricter with dating things.”
One of the most important things that all three students talked about are the friendships they had made along the way. Jacopo Orsini, from Italy said, “The friends I have made here through soccer and basketball are very important to me. It will suck when I have to leave.”
Each of these students have enjoyed their experiences here and the friends and family they have made. It is evident from what they say, that student exchange programs offer life changing experiences and a whole new perspective of the world to the kids who participate.

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The American Dream