The Austrians are coming, the Austrians are coming


Marianna Marsden

Students from Vienna, Austria came to Carlsbad. They were able to go to their hosts’ classes and experience American culture.

You might have noticed a few new faces walking around campus, and no, it’s not a freshman orientation. These individuals hail from a place a little farther than Valley Middle School: Austria.

Several students got the opportunity to host an Austrian exchange student for two weeks; junior Cameron Penn was one of these students.

“I had wanted to be a host family for a while, and my parents finally agreed to host a foreign exchange student this time around,” Penn said. “The process was relatively easy; I just signed up and filled out an application to match me up with an Austrian. It was a bit like online dating.”

Host families had the freedom to show their Austrian guests around Carlsbad and other attractions native to California.

“This experience has been a lot of fun and given me an opportunity to do a lot of touristy things I don’t normally do,” Penn said. “We’ve gone to Six Flags, Sky High, lazer tagging and gone to the beach a lot.”

The two weeks flew by for both the Austrians and their host families. Days were spent shadowing their American hosts around school and getting a feel of what American high school is like.

When describing the differences between people in America and his homeland Austrian, sophomore Florian Kronberger had only positive things to say.

“Americans treat guests with respect and are very hospitable,” Kronberger said. “I’ve made a lot of friends, and I think people are a bit more open here than in Europe.”

Our foreign guests were all tenth graders from the same school in Austria, and each had their own favorite parts of their visit.

“My favorite experience has been going to the beach because in Austria, we don’t have any beaches and the only countries that do are not nearly as nice as they are here,” sophomore Luca Valhovic said.

No matter their interests, all the Austrians agreed that this experience has been one they’ll never forget and that they are thankful for all the friends they made.

Junior Emma Wood hosted two Austrian girls, admitting to being a little nervous at first, but then realized how easy the process was.

“It was fun to get a different perspective; culturally, we’re pretty similar, but there’s always those little manurisms that they do differently that we don’t usually take notice to,”  Wood said. “They just want to have the American experience, and I was happy to be a part of it.”