Welcome, exchange students


Caitlin Walsh

 Put yourself in the shoes of an exchange student. Arriving to a completely new country where everything is different: the culture, the people, the language and more. It sounds frightening, doesn’t it? This year, West Ottawa has welcomed nine exchange students to our school. They have arrived from places like Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy and Spain. Two of the exchange students were kind enough to answer some questions and help us get to know more about them. 

What is the scariest part about living in America?

  Andrea Lefevre from Denmark said, “The scariest part is coming to an entirely new country where you don’t have your friends and family around. You have to make new life for yourself here.” 

  Matilda Salmi from Finland said, “Lunch time is probably one of the scariest parts of the school day. Not having a lot of friends or knowing a lot of people makes it hard to choose where to sit.”

What do you like most about America?

  Andrea: “I have always been fascinated by America, I love that there is more variety here, and everything is just bigger.”

  Matilda: “The thing I love about America is that the people here are so warm and nice. They compliment you a lot more here.”

What are some differences between America and your home country?

  Andrea: “The difference between America and Denmark is almost everything: the school, the food, the amount of homework, and there are so many more people here compared to my last school.”

  Matilda: “In America, I’ve found I have a closer relationship with the teachers here, I know about their kids and their kids’ names rather than in Finland, I don’t know nearly anything about them.”


  The next time you see an exchange student roaming the halls, don’t be afraid to say hello or start a conversation. Andrea from Denmark says that she and most of the exchange students want to meet new people and are very open to talking to anyone.