From Europe to Shoreline

Spain and Germany visit Shorewood

Riley Smith

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Many of us have had the privilege to experience different cultures at various times in our lives- even if it’s a trip to our neighboring nations, Canada or Mexico, or even between states. Fewer of us have experienced cultures overseas, in Asia or Europe. And for a minority of us at Shorewood, this is the new culture.

It must be hard to be a foreign exchange student; leaving one’s family, friends, comforts, and country behind in order to spend an extended period of time in a new country, with a different language and different customs.

But it also must be quite an experience.

One of the individuals at our school that is in such a situation is Junior Marc Weiss.

Weiss comes from Owingen, a town in Southwest Germany. He recently became part of a foreign exchange program called Rotary International, which led him here. “I would like to come to new cultures” he said.

Weiss seems generally pleased with his cultural immersion in this country. “I like that it’s all much bigger” he said, “All the people are very friendly.” When asked if there was anything he didn’t like, he replied “not so far.”

However with a little thought, Weiss pointed out the differences between our roads and the German Autobahn. “In Germany… you can drive more and here you must stop all the time. I don’t like that.” he said.

Though he is enjoying his time in the States, Weiss does miss certain things about home. “I miss my friends,” he said. However, Weiss believes that over time, he will become more comfortable here.

Finally, Weiss was asked if he liked Shorewood in comparison to his school back home.

“Yes, it’s much easier” he said, with a laugh.

Another student who has come to Shorewood in a foreign exchange program is Sophomore Pablo Del Olmo, who comes from Madrid, Spain. He was inspired by a friend to join the program Education USA, and just prior to the beginning of the school year, he arrived in Shoreline.

Like Weiss, Del Olmo has a positive attitude about his time in this country. I asked him if he missed his home; “Yes, I do, sometimes” he said. “But I’m pretty busy and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Del Olmo was asked what he thought of this country and its culture from what he’s seen so far, and what it’s like in comparison to his home; “It’s nice, it’s different; like the timing of the meals and everything. It’s difficult to adapt to, but it’s fun,” he said.

Del Olmo has noticed many differences between Shorewood and his school back home: “This whole… high school spirit- we don’t have that in Spain.” He laughingly mentioned that the school spirit, the football team, and the cheerleaders were, until recently, things he had only seen in movies.

Though the culture of Shorewood is different than what he’s used to, Del Olmo admires our school, especially with its abundant technology. “And the people are nice” he says.

Some of the most amusing differences he’s noticed are “the random American flags, everywhere,” he said. “And it’s like, why? [It’s] pretty funny.”

Del Olmo leaves after school ends in June. He is excited to take away the experience of living 10 months in this country, and while he will be happy to return home to his friends and family, he hopes to retain the friendships he’s built in Shoreline.

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From Europe to Shoreline