Austrians take over Carlsbad

Austrians take over Carlsbad

Omar Ortega

Junior Brock Stuessi brings along his exchange student Lisa Steinwitz to his classes during her time in Carlsbad

Julius Koch, staff writer

Traveling over 4,500 miles is no easy task, and staying with a family you have never met before for two weeks can be intimidating. However, a large group of Austrian teenagers have risen to the challenge to seek the benefits of traveling abroad.

Flying to California from their home town of Borg Sankt Poelten in Lower Austria, the students arrived in Carlsbad and are staying with their host families. Many of them hope to increase their understanding of American culture in the time leading up to Sept. 18 when they will fly back home.

“We had the option of going to Ireland, Spain or America,” exchange student Philipp Denk said. “I chose to go to America because of the distance from home and the ability to learn about American culture and practice my English.”

For the Austrians, culture may be better defined as the life of a teen in Carlsbad: going to high school, hanging out at the beach, eating California burritos and simply doing the things that Carlsbad kids do on a regular basis. Our home city has a lot of benefits residents here may take for granted. Visitors help us remember how good we really have it.

“I love the good weather here,” exchange student Lisa Steinwitz said.”But my favorite part about the U.S. is how open and friendly everyone here is. People here openly express their emotions.”

With the exchange students here, students attending CHS might ask themselves how life in Austria differs from life here.

“We party a lot,” Steinwitz said. ” It seems like partying is a hobby that is more integrated in our lives than the lives of teens here.”

While partying may not be as common as going to the beach in Carlsbad, academic pursuit seems to be a universal theme.

“Our school back in Austria is characterized as a gymnasium that offers many different paths of study including math, language arts, science and music,” Denk said.

While subject matter may be similiar, the teaching style and classroom setting differ in each country

While differences may provide a challenge for cultural integration, the Austrian exchange students teach us that the similarities outweigh the differences and show the benefits of traveling abroad to benefit one’s outlook on the world.