Exchange of Culture; an in depth view of our 2016 exchange students


Isaac Schnierle, Writer

This year at Woodland Park High School, we had the opportunity to welcome six new foreign exchange students. These students are Vivienne Priester, Jens Hoffman, Fabian Janowitz, Nicola Zenarolla, Yaryna Peretyatko and Mail Suwanwongkij. Yaryna, Fabian, Jens, and Mail are members of the junior class at WPHS, while Vivienne and Nicola are members of the senior class. Each student lives with a predetermined host family, which is usually someone who is active within the school district.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Jens who is from Denmark and Fabian from Germany.  Jens Hoffman whose name is pronounced “Yens”, talked to me about his few months he’s been in the United States.  His favorite part about America is the people because “they are so nice and it is great being a foreign exchange student.” One of his favorite places to eat in the United States is “Chipotle because the burritos are big and there isn’t a Chipotle in Denmark.” He also likes the “nature because of its beauty.” The second foreign exchange student I interviewed was Fabian Janowitz. His favorite part about America is “the free refills, as well as being able to go anywhere and go camping!” The biggest difference he found between America and Germany is “being able to go shooting and kayaking almost anywhere.” His favorite place to eat is Chick-Fil-A because they don’t have one in Germany.

Each of these students arrived in the United States near the end of July and beginning of August, and they all stay here for an entire year. These students have all been very active in our community. Since these students don’t have school sports in their home country they wanted to participate in at least one sport during the school year. Nicola and Fabian both play for our high school football team.  Vivienne and Yaryna run for our cross country team.  Yens plays soccer and Mail is a cheerleader. “The most exciting part about coming to America was experiencing an entirely new and different culture”, remarked Fabian.  This includes the way school works, while we have pep rallies and school sports which is the total opposite from schools in their countries.  Most of our exchange students had never been  to an American football game ever! They all really enjoyed watching the game and watching our Panthers bring home the win.

I also had the opportunity to interview their student mentor, Calli Walters, who has been helping guide them through the exchange and worked on making their exchange year the best for them.  “These people have changed the way I look at everything. I have realized that there are so many opportunities the we have here compared to what they have there. I am so glad I have met them and now I have a strong bond so that I will be able to go to their countries and experience their culture.”