Foreign Friends

Exchange students from Germany, Poland bring diversity to school

Creating diversity throughout the school, Sterling High has hosted foreign exchange students since before the early 2000’s.

This year, we are hosting two exchange students.

“We live in a community where there’s not a lot of diversity,” Principal Dr. Bill Anderson said. “I think what the program provides for us is a big window of what it’s like to be in a situation where you’re coming from a different country and may not be part of the regularity.”

Antonina Kacperska

Junior Antonina Kacperska, an exchange student from Poland, expresses how even the smallest things we do here in Sterling are different from her home town.

“School works different in Poland, and I think I like it more” Kacperska said. “We go to school for schoolwork from 8:00 to about 2:00. If you attend a music school then you have choir and stuff like that. We don’t have activities in schools like America does.”

On the other hand, junior Nelson Bartsch, an exchange student from Germany, thinks having extracurriculars in schools is a good thing and expresses his interest in sports.

“I think having extracurriculars in school is better,” he said. “In Germany my mother had to drive me 20 minutes to another town to do them. It’s much easier to have them in school. I will do track this year. I look forward to it because I like it and I did it for three years in Germany.”

For Kacperska, not being involved in many school activities and living in a small town has proven to be difficult.

“I miss everything about my town,” she said. “ I had two million people in my city in Poland and there was always something to do. Here the town is small and I have nothing to do.”

While it might be difficult to get involved, Kacperska can see the benefits of living in such a small town.

“In Poland I lived in the city and not really in the house. I was always doing things and taking care of myself and had to make sure nobody robbed me or anything like that. I had to grow up quickly and take care of it, but here in Sterling you know everyone and if something bad happens you can just call someone,” Kacperska said.

Nelson Bartsch

In regards to our political system, Bartsch finds himself agreeing with the minority of Sterling.

“A lot of people like Donald Trump here, and I don’t really. I think abortion and gay marriage is okay, but I don’t think the government should control it. I think the people should be able to decide what they want,” he said.

Kacperska feels the same way.

“I feel like Trump is not good at all. I’m scared of what he could do,” she said. “I don’t understand discrimination. I was surprised because Sterling is more conservative than Poland is, and I wasn’t expecting that. I think if you can have God, why can’t same sex people get married. It’s the same thing with abortion. If you want to do it and you’re not hurting me with your decisions, then I don’t care if you do it.”

Despite their differences, both foreign exchange students seem to be fitting in and enjoying their time in America.

“I think Tosia and I are doing fine. I think we fit in well and can make friends here” Bartsch said. “I am enjoying the food and the people, and I’m excited for what new things I am going to do in the rest of my time here.”