McClain High School is hosting three exchange students for the 2016-17 school year – two juniors and one sophomore. The juniors are Jamie Discher and Carmen Vilar Cerdido from Germany and Spain, respectively, and the sophomore exchange student is Dina Piponski from Serbia.
Discher is a 17-year-old exchange student from Germany who is staying with Brenda Lester. She is a junior at McClain, is competing on the cross country team, and plans to get more involved throughout the year.
“I always wanted to travel the world and get to know as much about cultures as possible,” Discher said. “Being an exchange student is a great opportunity to do this. I really like McClain. The school is really pretty and everybody is very nice. I’m not even homesick. I feel very welcome here.”
Discher said there are many difference in the U.S. and Germany.
“Differences from Germany is that we have a very different schedule every day, so we have about 12 classes per week. We also don’t do sports at school, but in clubs after we are home.”
When Discher is at her house in Germany she spends most of her free time doing gymnastics and even trains little girls at gymnastics. She also enjoys meeting up with her friends. While she is in the U.S., most of her free time is spent at cross country practice and doing her homework.
Exchange student Carmen Vilar Cerdido arrived in Greenfield on Aug. 16 from Galicia, Spain. Cerdido, who is 16 and in the 11th grade, is staying with Melissa Bell.
When asked how she became interested in becoming an exchange student, Cerdido explained, “I want to learn the language better and experience new cultures.”
For her, there are many differences between Spain and the U.S. One major difference is schedules. Here, students start school at 7:40 a.m. and get out at 2:30 p.m. In Spain, Cerdido’s day starts at 8 a.m., includes a one-hour lunch break, then school ends at 4 p.m. She said her day officially ends at around midnight to 1 a.m. Another huge difference is that she stays in one class with the same people all day – the teachers switch classes, not the kids. They also don’t have sports to participate in or school dances.
Although there are many differences, Cerdido is adjusting well.
“I’m adjusting good. The first week is the most difficult, but I think it’s a matter of time, and little by little you adapt,” she said. “This is a very big school, with very nice people and teachers. The teachers help me a lot with the language and to understand the classes.”
Cerdido hopes to participate in swimming and leave Greenfield with new friends, experiences, and a better understanding of the English language.
Exchange student Dina Piponski is a sophomore from Serbia attending McClain. She is being hosted by Penny and Bob Montavon. A friend sparked her interest in becoming an exchange student, and she’s always been interested in the United States.
“My first impression of McClain so far is that I love it!” Piponski said. “All the people are very nice and I like all my classes.”
Piponski plans on participating in swimming, track and volunteering. Hobbies that she enjoys doing are “reading, going to different places, and hanging out with friends.” When asked what she wants to gain out of this experience, she said, “To improve on a personal level, learn better English, make friends and maybe make plans for living here in the future.”
So far, Piponski has not been home sick; therefore, she is adjusting well.
“There are a lot of differences here compared to my country,” she said. “For example, we don’t choose our classes and the teachers come to us. Also, sports are not combined with school. When you train for a sport, you do it outside of school and it is for a year.” After school in Serbia, Piponski generally goes out with friends, participates in sports and studies.