Despite the fact that 15-year-old foreign exchange student Nestor Mantilla claims to have eaten more vegetables during his stay in Montevideo than ever before in his life, he says he has had a very satisfying first couple of months in Minnesota.


Despite the fact that 15-year-old foreign exchange student Nestor Mantilla claims to have eaten more vegetables during his stay in Montevideo than ever before in his life, he says he has had a very satisfying first couple of months in Minnesota.

In fact, all of the four exchange students at Montevideo Senior High School for the 2010-11 school year have been pleased with all that they have learned, and all of the experiences that they have shared with their host families and peers.

Mantilla, a 10th-grader, is staying with the family of Mark and Jen Dissell. He is from Madrid, Spain.

Senior Carlos Rouco is from La Caruna, Spain, and is staying with the Mortenson family.

Renee Warmbold, who comes from Salzgitter, Germany, is 15 years old, and is in the 10th grade. He is staying with the Coil family.

From Taiwan comes 16-year-old 10th grader Shanna Huang, who is staying with the Sanborn family.

In these first couple of months, some aspects of American culture have been somewhat difficult to adapt to. One big change for Mantilla and Rouco, the Spanish students, has been mealtime differences. In Spain, lunch is eaten after school, around 2:30, and supper starts at 9:30 p.m.

The American school system has also presented many differences from the students’ schools at home.

“At my school in Taiwan, we learn mostly through memorization,” explained Huang. “Here the class is more like a discussion of the subject.”

The other students agreed and added that the teachers here are more like friends.

Rouco was presented with the challenge of studying American history for the first time, but says that his teacher, Ron Rezsel, “Explains the history well and makes the class fun.”

Warmbold was impress­ed by biology teacher Butch Halterman, saying, “He is funny, crazy, and makes the class interesting and not boring.”

Another difference in the school that all of the students can identify with is that, in their schools at home, the students stay in one or two rooms for the whole day and the teachers move around.

The students are also getting involved in many extracurricular activities.

Mantilla is trying American football for the first time, and plans on joining the wrestling team this winter.

Rouco and Warmbold are both on the crosscountry team, and both plan on participating in swimming and track later this year.

Huang is on the backstage crew for the fall play M*A*S*H*.

Although they are all thousands of miles from home, the four foreign exchange students at MSHS have fit right in.

They are excited to be here and look forward to the time they will spend with their host families, peers, and the people of Montevideo.