Sibley's Exchange StudentsSibley hosts four interesting European students this year.
By: Scribe Staff, Sibley Scribe
This year, Sibley is hosting not one but three full-year exchange students, and one short-term exchange student. The three long-term students are Yevginy, from Russia, Solveig, from Denmark, and Francesca, from Italy. The short-term exchange student, Lucie, was from France. We talked to each of them about their experience here in Minnesota, and more specifically at Sibley.
The most logical place to start was comparing their school at home with Sibley. When asked about their impression of Sibley, the consensus was that Sibley was different from their school, but easier. According to Lucie the scheduling is very different. The schedule here is the same every day, but in France, students have different classes each day. She has math for three hours on Mondays, for example. Francesca mentioned several differences, including the longer day here. In Italy, they are only at school until 1:00 PM, and teachers move from class to class instead of students. Yevginy mentioned that in Russia, you usually go to school with the same people all the way through and that there were only eleven years of school there. Solveig talked about the activities offered here, the school spirit that just isn’t found at European schools, and, the most interesting thing, that in Denmark, you call your teachers by their first names.
The students all said that they enjoyed the extracurricular activities here. These are not generally a part of school life in their countries. They participated in activities such as Key Club, Book Club, National Honor Society activities, and sports events. Solveig participated in Nordic Ski, and they all participated in GOFA and homecoming, events that never take place in Europe.
Students coming to the US always comment on the food, too. In France, for example, students have between one and two hours for lunch, and dinner doesn’t begin until 8:00 or 9:00 PM. Yev mentioned the portion sizes of meals ; “no wonder one of the problems that exchange students face in the US is gaining extra weight that they did not have before coming here.” Solveig mentioned being pleasantly surprised by how good some of the food was here.
These students decided to come the US for different reasons too. Lucie was here mostly to work on her English, but she specifically was interested in coming to the middle part of the country since she had already visited New York and the western US. According to Francesca, the US was portrayed as a place of excitement and she wanted to experience it first hand.
They have made several friends here and some have been able to do various historical activities. Solveig, for example, has been to Native American museums, and Lucie went to visit some of the famous places in St. Paul such as the Hill House and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Some of the common refrains when they were asked about their impressions of Minnesotans were that they were “kind,” that they believed in the “American dream” and that they were somewhat “religious.” They also mentioned that everything really is bigger here…bigger vehicles, bigger houses, bigger shops. The students have all appreciated their time here and all of the people they’ve met.