Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

Peanut butter, marshmallow cream and American football give European teenagersa taste of the USA

February 19, 2004

Football games and peanut butter may not be enough to get too many teenagers excited. But for two Eudora High School students, the popular sport and gooey condiment are a bit of a novelty.
But Pauline Missling and Kristin Heivoll are not the average Eudora teenagers. The two girls, who hail from Germany and Norway, respectively, are in the United States for 10 months as foreign exchange students.
Missling said she was here to experience culture, to be independent, and to become more familiar with the English language.
Heivoll said she wanted to come to America for some of the same reasons as Missling.
"I wanted to see other cultures and improve my English," she said. "And I wanted to try something else than everyday life."
Missling, who writes for her school newspaper in Germany, said there were naturally going to be differences between the cultures.
"The fashion in Germany is more formal (nice trousers and shirts)," Missling said. "But here it's like sweatshirt and jeans. But I never cared at home, and I don't care here either. It's OK for me."
Missling said another difference she noticed was the style of tests for students.
"Here there are lots of multiple choice questions," she said. "We don't have those where I'm from."
Heivoll said the main difference she's seen since in the United States is the fact that everyone drove everywhere.
"I'm used to taking the bus or walking," Heivoll said. "People here drive everywhere."
Missling said there are things she would love to take back to Germany with her.
"I really like the food here," she said. "I love marshmallow crÃme and peanut butter. I wouldn't get that at home very much."
On the other hand, Missling said she missed certain things from her home and culture.
"I miss the German bread," Missling said. "And Christmas is different in Germany. We celebrate on the 24th, and here it's the 25th. But I had a really nice holiday with my (host) family."
Missling is staying with Bettie Vermillion, who has previously taken in foreign exchange students. Missling said some of Vermillion's family came to Eudora to spend the holidays.
Heivoll said there was one thing about the United States she liked, but didn't get a chance to see in Norway.
"I like the high school football games," she said.
With her host family, Bill and Patty Vigneron, Heivoll attended every Kansas State home football game.
Missling said she played the clarinet and saxophone in the Eudora band, just like she did at home in Germany. Missling is also a member of the International Club offered at Eudora High School.
"We meet once a month," she said. "I think all foreign exchange students are in the club."
Heivoll is a member of the International Club, the Environmental Club, Scholar's Bowl and participated in debate as well.
Missling said she had been able to experience a few new things since she's been in Kansas.
"We went to Missouri and went on the water jet skis, and that was so fun," Missling said. "And we went to state band recently."
Heivoll said she would have one more year of high school when she returns to Norway in June.
"I will be in high school for one more year, then go on to college," she said.
Heivoll said she was considering journalism as a potential career. Missling said her parents were coming to see her graduate from Eudora and following graduation will visit some big cities around the United States, like Los Angeles.
After Missling returns home, she will have two years of high school left and she said she had no idea what she wants to do after her Germany graduation.
"I thought coming to America would help me decide what I want to do," she said with a laugh. "But I still have no idea."

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