This year’s Montevideo High School Student body includes two exchange students from Europe.
This year’s Montevideo High School Student body includes two exchange students from Europe. Varinia Argote is from Bilbao, Spain and Leah Anderson hails from Fredericia, Denmark.
Karen Stegeman is hosting Varinia, and Leah’s host family is Todd and Alyssa Ricke.
Leah arrived in the United States back in July and attended a camp for exchange students in Pennsylvania before coming to Montevideo in August. Likewise, Varinia arrived in town in August as well.
So far, both girls are enjoying their visit to Montevideo, but both have noted differences between their school systems back home and Montevideo’s system.
Varinia said: “School is really different here. In Spain, you stay in the same classroom with the same students for all the day. The teachers are the ones who move from classroom to classroom. Here we have 50 minutes for classes, and four minutes to get to the next class.”
“We don’t have lockers,” said Leah, whose school system in Denkmark is very similar to Varinia’s in Spain. “We stay in the same room all day so we keep our school bags with us in the room.”
Both the girls said that their schools cover the same basic courses, although they do not have elective courses such as band and choir. “We don’t have choir and we don’t have band. Those who play an instrument or sing have to do that after school,” said Varinia.
Another difference Varinia noted was that all children in Spain begin school when they are two years old. She said: “Most children begin school when they are two, but all children have to be in school by the time they are six, and we graduate when we are 18. When you are 16 you have to decide if you want to go on to college.
“Everything is very different here,” added Leah. “We are getting settled. The first couple of weeks were hard.”
Extra-curricular sports are not a part of either Leah or Varinia’s schools. “The only sports we have are in gym classes,” said Varinia, “and we only have them only one day for one and a half hours a week.”
“There are sports available, but they are not apart of the high school,” Leah added.
Both girls are getting used to American cuisine. “American food is so different,” Varinia said.
“Here everything is meat, french fries. At home we have rules. We have breakfast at 8 a.m., we eat at 2 p.m., and we have dinner at 9 p.m., which is very late. Here, people eat when they are hungry.”
Leah said: “Here, the food is fat. There is butter on everything. It is different, but there isn’t anything that I haven’t liked.”
Both girls are very excited for the upcoming school year, and are looking forward to the many experiences and opportunities that Montevideo High School has to offer.
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