Getting to Know Our Foreign Exchange Students

From left to right, Franka Eisentraut, Elli Biedermann, Georgina Rovira Juardo, Nam Chintawan, Camilla Carbone, Lovisa Ridderstrle, Charlotte Nusken

Lilly Keith, Writer

At the beginning of every school year, Central Hardin welcomes new students from around the world through our foreign exchange students program. These new faces are always exciting to see, but not all of us get the opportunity to get to know the personalities behind them. 


Our nine foreign exchange students this year have been a delight to get to know. 


They’re from all around the world, ranging from Germany, Italy, Thailand, Sweden, and Spain. 




Elli Biedermann, Franka Eisentraut, and Charolotte Nusken are from Germany, and they all miss their German bread. 


“Bread. Really hard, good bread. Your bread is squishy,” said Eisentraut. 


“This sounds so basic but I miss the bread most because they have really good bread. The bread is really good,” Biedermann said. 


“Bread. Just typical bread,” said Nusken. 


Our beloved Central Hardin is nothing like the schools in Germany, as they’re much more digitized than us. 


“Germany is well-developed, and we do a lot of digital work, so at school, we don’t use paper. We don’t have Chromebooks there though, we have to bring our own devices. People who cannot afford one will be supplied with one though,” Nusken remarked. 


When asked about the differences between the U.S. and Germany, only one thing came to Eisentraut’s mind: beer. 


“I saw that question and all I thought about was beer. It’s not the only thing about Germany. We are not what you think we are. We’re not always drinking beer or wearing dresses or celebrating Octoberfest activities, that’s only one state in Germany.  We’re mostly like you, just German,” Eisentraut clarified. 


Though beer isn’t the only difference between our countries. 


“We also don’t have sales tax in Germany. The first time I went to a store here I was so confused because I went to buy something and I was like ‘oh, okay, this is $10,’ and then I went to check out and it came out to be like $10.70 and I was like ‘what?’ In Germany, it’s the exact price it says it is,” said Nusken. 


Germany is a much more environmentally focused country compared to us; in fact, plastic bags are no longer used in Germany.


“We try to use as little plastic as possible in Germany. I was surprised you all still had them. We focus a lot on the planet and the future,” said Nusken. 


Violence isn’t such an issue either in Germany. 


“We are not allowed to have guns, it’s really hard to get a gun,” said Biedermann. 


Sundays are mainly viewed as a day of rest for the Germans. All stores are closed except restaurants and the bakery, and the hospital. 


“It’s like a silent day and you’re not supposed to do loud work in the house or anything that could disturb the neighbors, you get in big trouble if you do that. It’s like a resting day so most of the parents are home because of only a few in the medical field work that day. It’s more of a day for the family,” said Eisentraut.


The movie theaters in Germany are also different from ours, all the way down to the snacks we enjoy at the cinema. 


“You eat salty popcorn here. We never do that in Germany. At the cinema, we always have sweet popcorn. You can put salt on it but no one does. Here, I was ordering popcorn at the cinema and I couldn’t eat it because of how salty it was. I don’t like salty popcorn. Popcorn is supposed to be sweet,” stated Eisentraut. 


Our three German students here have the sweetest personalities, and all participate in activities here are Central, and have ambitious plans for the future. 


“I’m playing tennis and doing horseback riding, stuff that I do in Germany. I play the piano,” said Nusken, “I have to graduate in Germany, and then I want to travel the world because I love traveling. After that, I want to study Architecture at a University, I could even see myself studying abroad here. I already like the U.S., but I don’t know if I want to live here. That’s my home.”


“I’m in the theater for ECTC, for the winter we are doing Miracle on 34th Street. I’m the rich lady,” said Eisentraut, “I want to be a writer. I’m writing my first book now. It’s two girls being stuffed together by accident and deciding to run away to Copenhagen and Denmark just for fun and finding out about their lives and what they really need.”


“I’m in the drama club, art club, FFA, and German club,” said Biedermann, “I have three more years til I graduate and then I will go to University.”




Giulia Candela, Camilla Carbone, and Riki Terenghi are from Italy. 


The differences between Italy and America are quite vast. Italy is a routine based country. 


“Life in Italy is hastier than here because you have a plan for everything you have to do and you can’t waste time. Here, the people are calmer and they take their time. Life in Italy for teenagers is school-based and here is more sport-based,” Terenghi said about the differences between Italy and Kentucky. 


The school aspect of Italy is much more challenging than it is here. The classes, tests, and the teachers are all much harsher. The teachers are not nearly as caring as ours. 


“The teachers are really really friendly so I feel like I can talk to them. My English teacher, Ms. Sherrard, she’s really sweet and she’s amazing to everyone,” Carbone said. 


Being able to choose the classes they take is another highlight of American school, according to our Italian students. 


Our students here definitely have the southern charm that all foreigners hear about. 


“I feel like in Italy people are cold, and people here are really understanding of your problems, and they ask you many times if you need anything and they’re very kind if you have some problems,” Candela said. 


Schools in Italy are not as big as Central, some without sports fields. There are no class changes for students, only for teachers. 


Lifestyle adjustments are definitely some of the hardest parts for our new students. 


“The biggest adjustment is of course to get used to not seeing your family at all for 10/11 months, and it is really hard,” Terenghi said. 


Public transportation is a major factor for Italians, as cars are not the most common form of transportation in Italy. 


“I had a motorcycle in Italy so I could do whatever I want and here I always have to ask,” Candela said. 


You must be 18 to acquire a drivers license in Italy. 


In more disappointing news, Alfredo isn’t an Italian dish. 


“Olive Garden is not accurate Italian. I went and it was kinda bad,” Carbone commented. 


Terenghi played on Central’s soccer team, while Candela is considering going out for spring sports, and participates in horseback riding. Carbone is on the archery team, in the ASL club, and Earth club. 


All of our Italians plan on attending a university to study finance (Terenghi), criminology(Carbone), and engineering(Candela). 




Nam Chintawan is from Thailand. 


School in Thailand is much more strict and harsh than it is here. 


“Everything is different. We have to wear uniforms, we stay in the same class all day,” Chintawan said. “We learn a lot in Thailand. We have 14 subjects in one semester, and there’s seven subjects that we learn in one day, sometimes there’s eight. We cannot choose the subjects we take. I prefer what you guys have here.”


Students in Thailand have to deal with a lot of rules. There’s no hair dye allowed, no nail polish, no makeup, you have to wear your hair up every day, you can’t even have long hair.


Chintawan misses Thai noodles so much that her mom sends her some from home. 


“I love spicy foods. There’s nothing that I’ve tried here that’s spicy enough for me. Sometimes I’ll cook authentic Thai foods for my host family and they can’t handle it.”


Everything here is so much bigger than in Chintawan’s district back in Thailand. 


“There’s not a lot where I’m from. My district doesn’t have McDonald’s, Subway, or any other places like that. We eat steak for breakfast, or whatever we want, whenever. There aren’t really any rules regarding when you can eat something. My family does a lot of cooking at home and we don’t go out to eat much, only on special occasions.”


Chintawan plans on studying back in Thailand, or possibly here in the U.S. 




Lovisa Ridderstrle is from Sweden. 


Ridderstrle has had to go from being completely independent and living alone in Stockholm to having to depend on individuals here for everything she needs. 


“My parents lived too far out of the city and my school is in the capital so taking the train in the morning caused me to not get enough sleep.”


Asking for rides here is not something Ridderstrle is used to.


“There’s public transportation everywhere in the capital city. I could walk out of the door and walk to the grocery store or take the subway, the bus, or the train to get there.”


School here is much easier than in Sweden. 


“I spent a lot more time studying in Sweden than I do here. You have a lot of multiple-choice questions here, which we don’t have in Sweden. They help a lot, you just have to recognize the answer, we mainly just have essay questions, reasoning questions, and open-answer questions. It’s easier here testing-wise.”


Like many more of our foreign exchange students, Ridderstrle is bound to the same classroom every day and doesn’t change classrooms, but the teachers move. 


“The school lunch is also very different, you don’t have prepackaged stuff there, we have to go down seven flights of stairs for lunch because the lunch room is two floors below ground. We take a plate and metal cutlery, and you take however much you want and you return the plate, you don’t just throw it away. We also don’t have any vending machines around the school.”


There are lots of reasons Ridderstrle likes life here and also in Sweden, so it’s a tough decision on which school she prefers. 


“There are more school activities here though, more fun spirit days, more school spirit days, and the sports games here matter a lot, I think there are fun activities here.”


Sweden has some interesting features that we definitely don’t have here. 


“We have a hotel made out of ice in Northern Sweden, you sleep on beds of ice, you drink at a bar with cups made of ice, and the whole thing is just a big igloo. I’ve been and it was fun, it gets really cold, so you can only stay for a night or two.”


The majority of the country is forest and farmland, with the same cold and climate as Alaska. The capital is surrounded by water everywhere, so bridges are very common in Stockholm. 

Ridderstrle is in Cross Country and French club. She plans to attend a University after she finishes high school in Sweden, and is considering taking a gap year to travel before furthering her education. 




Georgina Rovira Juardo is from Spain. 


Time moves differently in Spain. 


I would say that in Spain we do everything with more time and calmer, since, our day is longer, we get up at 6 and don’t get home until 10:30, so we have more productive hours and we don’t have to do everything quickly, for example, we can spend an hour eating and it is normal for us and here you ear very quickly.”


There are some many different things, but the one that impacted me more is the student-teacher relationship that you have here, like here the teachers are so good with the students and they care a lot about us and in Spain, we don’t have this relationship with them,” said Rovira Juardo. 


Rovira Juardo would like to make it clear that Spain and Mexico are not the same thing. Multiple people here have confused those two countries in her presence. 

PDA is a much more normalized aspect in Spain, as it’s used every day in Spain. 


“Another thing that struck me was the subject of hugs and kisses, in Spain compared to where we are very affectionate since giving a hug or a kiss is very normal with friends and family, and also when we meet someone we give one kiss on each cheek.”


Rovira Juardo also greatly misses the food from Spain. 


“All the food, it’s just one of the hardest things for me, as I’m a bit of a picky eater. So it’s hard for me, but the things I miss the most are the Serrano Ham, the Tortilla de Patatas, the Paella, Croquetas, so yes I miss so many things.”


Rovira Juardo is in the Spanish club, is on the swim team, and the lacrosse team. After completing high school, she plans to study to be a lawyer. 


Our foreign exchange student program is one of the most exciting parts of our school year, and getting to know them is so exciting for everyone involved. We hope you all of our students this year are enjoying their experiences this year. When you return back home at the end of the year, we hope you remember your experiences here and remember that once a Bruin, always a Bruin!