Austrian student experiences Carlsbad life


Victoria Smith

During the austrian exchange program the austrians stayed with Carlsbad High students. They got the opportunity to experience american culture.

Monique Dufault, A&E Editor

For Austrian Benjamin Gruber’s two-week international trip, he decided to travel 9,595 kilometers to California from his home twenty kilometers away from the city of Vienna. He now envisions a different setting from the landlocked country he calls home.

“We could choose between London, Russia, and California,” Gruber said. “I thought California was the most interesting.”

When coming to America, Gruber looked forward to many of the Californian experiences that CHS students enjoy on a regular basis.

“In California, I have experienced surfing and eating fast food,” Gruber said. “Also, I have experienced the sea by going kayaking and swimming. I am also looking forward to going to Disneyland with my host family.”

Imagine going to a country for two weeks, that does not speak your native language, and staying in a home completely alienated from what you find comfortable. Many high school students in America who learn the minimal language requirements would not thrive in a similar situation, but Gruber considers it unproblematic.

“I speak German, English, Latin and Russian,” Gruber said. “The language here with its slang and different expressions is no problem for me. I understand everything — well kind of everything.”

The schooling that students in Austria receive is very different from the school experiences of typical American students. The vast majority of high school students in our country endlessly complain about how not enough freedom is given to choose classes amongst countless other things, but students do not think of how different it would be in another country.

“From what I have seen, school here is a little bit easier than in Austria,” Gruber said. “At my school, you cannot choose what you want to do. You get your subjects, and you have to do those ones; but here, you get to chose everything. In Austria, we have more breaks and shorter lessons, but we do not have the same subjects everyday or every other day like at this school. Everyday it is different, and we have different subjects to learn every day. Also, during our breaks you can do anything you want.”

For host families, Austrian exchange students bring a new outlook to Carlsbad and the things to do in this city.

“It’s fun to show him the beach and different restaurants we have here in Carlsbad,” junior and host Natalie Ridpath said. “I also like learning the differences between Carlsbad and Austria.”

Through Image Doctors, the student and host family form a strong bond of friendship.

“I have been to Austria once before and hope to go back soon, so that I can meet Benni’s family and friends,” Ridpath said. “Hopefully after he leaves, we will remain in contact and continue to be friends.”