Exchange Students: Bienvenido! Willkommen! Sveikinimas!

By Anna Avila and Jaime Estarellas | Special Correspondents

Exchange Students at Parrott Discuss School, USA

Every year at Parrott new exchange students come to study because of the good teachers, the wide variety of classes, and the great facilities of this top school in Eastern North Carolina.

This year four students from outside the United States are attending APA.

Each of these students know a different culture, language, skin color, clothes and religion.

The four foreign exchange students – Gustavo Diaz from Ecuador; Kim Siebert of Bavaria (Germany); Jamie Estarellas from Spain; and Emilija Baranauskaite from Lithuania – discuss what it is like to travel to  another country that is completely different from their own, with different language and with different expressions.

Diaz said that he barely speaks English and that he is finding it difficult to understand the classes and the people around him, but he is getting better.

Siebert discussed her basic understanding of the English language and said she can understand her classes and what the people say to her, but she is having a hard time because she is missing her parents and all her friends from Germany.

Estarellas finds it not too difficult to understand Americans.

And Baranauskaite said it is hard to say what she thinks about America since she has been here for only two months and she lives in a small city (Greenville).

All three students showed their likes and dislikes from there experiences here, and gave a little bit of information of their homes, and how America differs from where they live.

Imagine your own feelings if you were away from home, in another country ten hours away from your family and friends, and just how hard that would be for some people.

Below are the exchange students’ responses to multiple questions about life in America, school, and their homelands.

  • Jaime Estarellas of Spain


“I will tell you my own experience and what I think of this school: Let’s start with what I think and the big differences that I think that are the bigger ones.

“Personally, I don’t miss Spain because I’m always doing something and I’m always having fun and I don’t have time to think about home.

“The only thing that bothers me a little bit is the fact that I can’t drive and that makes me depend upon someone who can drive me.

“My American family is so nice, but I cannot always ask for them to drive me somewhere.

“One of the huge differences between Spain and the USA is that in Spain I can walk everywhere.

“I don’t need a car, but instead, in the USA, I would have to drive everywhere

“The difference between American and Spanish education is that the Spanish is based more on theory and the American education in difference from Spain is quite difficult.

“I personally believe that the Spanish culture is very original although there are some quite large differences, the food is very different but for example the religion or traditions are very similar.

“I think America is an incredible land full of opportunities and very athletic.

“I have been delighted by the way they have treated me because they have welcomed me as one of their own and have given me much attention.

“The American diet is super different. Unlike Spain, we eat very well and healthy but we do not do as many sports as in America.

“Instead, in America, we do not eat so well but everyone does sports.”

Kim Siebert of Bavaria (Germany)
  • KIM:

Kim said she felt sad about being far away of her country.

She said that she missed her home and her bed and her friends.

She also said that she missed the players on her basketball team.

She thinks that German schools are different to USA schools but not too much (except that in Germany schools are harder than any school here).

She said that she’s enjoying her stay here and she’s having a lot of fu

Gustavo Diaz from Ecuador
  • Gustavo:

“The education here I like more because in Chile it is very different and it is more structure and it is not diverse like here.

“The lifestyle is very different because for example this state as big as southern Chile, because it is quieter, but where I live, the city is more similar to Boston through the lifestyles.

“I love it because it is an amazing country and I like it because it is very similar to Chile but more advanced.?

“Most people try to interact and talk with me to get to know a different culture and are very kind in that regard, but other people usually fluctuate.

“The food is more homemade than in US.

“For example, at the end of classes the housekeeper waits for you at home with the food, and we rarely ever go out to restaurants to eat.”


Emilija Baranauskaite from Lithuania


  • Emilija

“In Lithuania, the education system puts more pressure on students than here.

“You learn math but you can choose if you want algebra or calculus, etc., but in Lithuania you just learn math, like everything.

“And we are taking three science classes (bio, chemistry and physics) you have to take geography and we have to foreign language classes. So we learn a lot more stuff than you

“Lithuanian people are not that open, Americans tend to speak a lot and mostly it’s about nothing important At home we speak only when we have to. But people here are nicer, more open-minded

“I like it here but south is not for me it’s too hot, and I think that it’s a problem having a country this big, people here are fighting a lot more about their different opinions, and here some people are more naive.

“People are really nice, they ask me the basic questions about my home and after that they just disappear.

“I feel like a circus monkey a little, but few people are really nice and really helpful because they understand how scary is to live in another continent with strangers and not being able to speak your language

“We don’t eat as much junk food and sweets as you do here.

“People at home eat more meat (not fried!) and mashed potatoes and always vegetables.”

“Here I have a lot more to choose from, and it’s kinda nice.

“But it’s literally impossible to eat healthy here.”




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