The 2023-24 Foreign Exchange Students of CHHS

Introducing the 2023-24 Exchange Students
Exchange students Alice Tomasovic and Thea Vandermissen sitting together during power hour. (Sept. 26)
Exchange students Alice Tomasovic and Thea Vandermissen sitting together during power hour. (Sept. 26)
Emily Tester

The 2023-24 foreign exchange students of CHHS come from four countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark. They have all been interviewed about their personal experiences in American high school life so far. 


Getting to know your fellow students is important. Hopefully, you learn something new about them. 


Juul, Netherlands

Courtesy of Juul Lammers.

Juul Lammers is 17 and from the Netherlands. She decided to become an exchange student in the United States because her uncle was an exchange student. She also wants to meet new people, improve her English, and live the high school experience somewhere different.


Lammers’ family was happy and excited for her to do an exchange year. However, they were sad to not see her for such a long period of time. She calls and keeps in contact with her family and friends every week. 


In the Netherlands, Lammers has already graduated. She didn’t want to go to college at such a young age so she decided to do an exchange year here. Lammers says the students are a lot different here. Our style differs from the clothes students wear in her home country. The school system is easier in the U.S., except for English. She says the teachers and students are nicer than the people at school in the Netherlands. 


“Everyone is really open here,” Lammer said. She is a big fan of Kentucky’s southern charm. 


Lammers misses her transportation. In the Netherlands, she rode her bike everywhere. Unlike America, citizens usually ride bikes to get around, and she misses that ability. She says everything is close in the Netherlands and it takes little time to get around. This is simply not the case in America where distance is a normality from place to place.


Additionally, Lammers says that the food in America is unfamiliar. In her country, they do not serve school lunches. She noted that in the Netherlands, the food is drastically healthier. When her family goes out to eat at her home, it’s usually because there’s an event. In the U.S. it is much more common to eat out regularly.


Currently, Lammers is part of the yearbook staff and plans to do cross-country. She wants to go to University in her home country. 


Anna, Denmark

Courtesy of Anna Mossing.

Anna Mossing is 16 and from Denmark. She wanted to do an exchange year in America because her brother did it a few years ago and had a good experience. In Denmark, it is common to have a gap year for an exchange year, attend a boarding school, etc. 


Like Lammers, Mossing misses the transportation in Denmark. She says it is much easier to get around in Denmark than in America. To go places now, she has to ask for transportation instead of relying on herself. She also misses the food back home. An abundance of food sold in America is illegal to sell in Denmark because it is very unhealthy. Of course, Mossing misses her family and sometimes gets homesick. 


A factor in school that Mossing is a fan of is the schedule. In Denmark, students have classes with the same people all year. She likes that she has new classes and can meet new people regularly. Mossing says the teachers try to create more of a relationship with the students; in America, they seem to care more about the students. 


Mossing is on the yearbook staff. She is not sure if she will come back to America, and hopes to get a higher education in Denmark. 


Thea and Alice, Belgium 

Thea Vandersmissen is 18 and from Belgium. She has already graduated high school and wanted to do an exchange year to figure out what she wanted to study at University. She is the first in her family to do an exchange year in America. 


Vandersmissen misses her family and boyfriend greatly. 


From her perspective, the school system in America is not as challenging as that in Belgium. Vandersmissen likes the teacher-student relationship. She explained that the teachers in Belgium “don’t care.” She is also a fan of the people here; the students are nicer. 


Like Lammers and Mossing, transportation for Vandersmissen has been a big difference. Instead of being able to go wherever on her own, she has to ask for someone to take her and pick her up. Vandersmissen used to ride the bus to get around, here she has to rely on others. 


Vandersmissen is in the French club and Teen Court. She wants to come back to America for vacation, but is not sure if she’ll come back for her studies. 


Alice Tomasovic is 18 and from Belgium. She wanted to come to the U.S. to live the American high school experience. Tomasovic says that she has seen movies about this phenomenon and wanted to experience it herself. 


Tomasovic likes the teachers’ relationship with the students. She says the teachers in the U.S. want the students to improve themselves. 


Tomasovic is happy in America and says she doesn’t miss anything about Belgium. However, she does not want to live here after high school because it is expensive. 


Tomasovic is on the soccer team at Central Hardin. 


Len, Germany

Emily Tester

Len Saenger is 17 and from Germany. Saenger wanted to do an exchange year in America to experience American high school. He also has the goal to improve and speak better English. 


Saenger says he misses his family, friends, transportation, and the food. He does not like the food or the transportation in America. In his home country, Saenger can ride the public train to wherever he needs to go. In America, he has to rely on others to get him places. 


Saenger says that sports are a big difference between America and Germany. There are no high school sports in Germany, only clubs. The schedule in Germany is also different, as it remains the same the whole year. 


Saenger is in Pep club and FBLA, and plays soccer. He plans on attending school back in Germany after this year to pursue craft training. Saenger wants to add that Hamburg, Germany, is a beautiful city. 


For some of our foreign exchange students, it is difficult to communicate with other students. I encourage you to reach out to these students and converse with them. Get to know them on a personal level, you might just make yourself a new lifelong friend!


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    GabrielleOct 3, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    I think this article is really cool and I will most definitely try to talk to one of them.