Ben Barthelemi of Belgium is currently enrolled as a senior at BHS. He came to America because he has always had interest in its importance in the world, also because he wished to become fluent in English and discover a new culture.
Barthelemi says what he most likes about being here is, “the people in general”. He also loves the food here; Beto’s burritos, peanut butter treats and Dr. Pepper.
A behavior that Barthelemi doesn’t like about America is that, “everybody wants to be first in sports, only doing it to be an All-State Star. In Belguim people do it just for the pleasure and if they win that’s nice.”
Barthelemi explains how it is to live with his host family, “The host family I live with always tries to be the best they can, makes me want to be better like that always.”
As a whole Barthelemi feels that the people here in Bountiful are much nicer than they are in his country. As a result, he thinks he will go back a nicer and more tolerant person than before.
Tony Hsieh from Taiwan is a junior at BHS. He came to America to receive a better education and to see more of the world.
Hsieh loves how out going and nice Americans are. Things he enjoys most about Bountiful is the LDS religion and high school dances.
Hsieh came to America five years ago, without knowing any English. He says that it was very hard to deal with the hardships of racism and language barriers when he first lived in America, in Chicago. It took him two years to become fluent, stating that the ESL program helped a lot.
The biggest differences here compared to back home, Hsieh says, are the food that he really misses, and the difference in social life.. Hsieh says, “Popularity is a big deal here. Taiwan is more loving.”
Hsieh states that living with a host family is, “totally different...” He does miss his own family, but says has learned how to, “rely on myself and the Lord.”
From Hsieh’s experiences here he believes he will take home a stronger character, more independence, better social skills, ability to deal with hardships easier and his conversion to the LDS religion.
Mattes Kuhlmann, a junior at BHS, is an exchange student from Germany. He came to America longing to gain more self-confidence, to learn English and to meet new people.
Kuhlmann’s favorite things about living here are the food; his favorite being hamburgers, all the opportunities and all the activities possible; such as hiking, leisure activities of the city, golfing, etc.
A negative behavior that Kuhlmann doesn’t see much of in Germany but that thrives here is kids ditching class. On the other hand people in Germany drink alcohol more, but Kuhlmann explains, “that is just part of the culture.”
The biggest differences that Kuhlmann has noticed here compared to Germany are the big cars wasting gas, the food, and America’s school spirit, because in Germany nobody likes school, they only go to learn. Kuhlmann will be taking home with him more self-confidence, experiences that will benefit him in future jobs, the English language, and more kindness.
All in all the BHS foreign exchange students have loved their time here. Barthelemi, Hsieh and Kuhlmann each feel they have benefited greatly from living here and will miss it.