Lane welcomes foreign exchange students

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By Amanda Ruiz

Walking through Lane for the first time can be overwhelming for anyone new to the building, but can take on a whole new level of intimidation for students who are new to the country.

This year, Lane welcomed three foreign exchange students. The students have each left behind family and friends to attend Lane.

Maria Risso, Div. 032, is from Argentina and was born in Resistencia, Chaco. She loves to act and says that she has really enjoyed staying with her host family.

“They have made it so much easier for me to adjust and they are so warm. They always have family parties and are so close to one another. It is really fun,” she said.

Back home Risso attends Jose Maria Paz School. She is here for the entire year through a program called the American Field Service.

Gloria Grosser, Div. 025, was born in Bochum, Germany. Grosser says a challenge she faces in a new culture is that she can be a bit shy at first. But she says she opens up very easily and loves to try new things. Grosser has joined the Cross Country Team and is also interested in joining one of Lane’s ethnic clubs.

Back home she attends Matthias-Claudius School. Grosser is also here for the entire year. She says that getting used to switching classes on her own was one of the hardest things to adjust to.

“In my school we do not go to our other classes by ourselves. The teachers walk us to class and we have the same students in all our classes. Also, everyday is a different day and the lengths of our day and our classes change every day,” Grosser said.

Lorenzo Orlando, Div. 035, was born in Genova, Italy. There he attends Liceo Classico Gmazzini. He is here through a program known as Educatius International. Orlando is only here for the first semester but wishes he could stay longer.

“Six months feels like a long time, but I know once it comes time for me to leave I am going to want to stay longer,” he said.

These students each have their favorite things about Lane.

“I really enjoy participating in the play,” Risso said. “I did drama for about a year back home so I wanted to be involved in it here. I am also really excited to be in Irish Club.”

“I have a lot of fun in Cross Country,” said Risso. “I wanted to do it, so before I came here I emailed Coach Roof and he said I can join.”

There are also a couple things the students find odd about the school, the country, and living with their host families.

“In my school we stay in the same classroom and the teachers switch classes. There are only 300 students in my school and we get out of school and 1:00pm so we don’t have lunch in school,” Orlando said. “In Italy teenagers do not have cars because we cannot get our license until we are 18, but here it is normal to have a car when you are 16 or 17; at home we just drive scooters. Also, the way friends hang out here is different, like in Italy we hang out a lot during the week days as well as the weekend because we don’t get as much school work, and the drinking age is 16. My host family makes all of us eat together as a family, which is something I do not do at home.”

“In Argentina academics are not stressed as much in high school as [they are] here because college is much easier to get into, and it is also free,” Risso said. “We only have four hours of classes a day and we have 11 subjects instead of eight. We have different classes every day and every 80 minutes we get a break.

Risso has also had to adjust to a different style of family life.

“My host family is very warm and close, and my family back home is not really like that,” he said. “But my family does eat together and because the parents in my host family usually come home at different times we do not eat together, which is a little weird.”

The students all agreed that even though they are missing their senior years at home they do not regret taking the opportunity to come to Lane.

“I left friends and my family and I’m going to miss activities at school, but it is all worth it,” Risso said. “Right now I feel like a year is too much to stay, but I think once it comes time to leave I’m going to want to stay more.”

“I miss my school but at least I will be spending half my last year with my friends,” Orlando said. “I also left my family and I broke up with my girlfriend to come here, but I’m glad I came. I am only staying until the end of first semester and I think I’m going to want to stay here longer.”

“To come here I did leave behind my friends, family, and a boyfriend,” Grosser said. “I love it here and the atmosphere and how big the school is, but I think a year is enough for me.”