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From Europe to Texas

Students discover diverse culture in Permian halls

Mariana Veloso, Staff Writer

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The chance to go to another country for a year with a new language, new culture, different people and an alternate way of life is only taken by those with the courage to explore this globe. To accept this challenge during one’s adolescence, along with voluntarily enduring a contrasting school system, shows much maturity out of this year’s foreign exchange Seniors Lara Thiry and Benedikte Haldrup.

“Most people would just go straight into college for more education and stuff, but I decided I wanted to do something different and get a good experience of another culture and stuff,” Haldrup said.

The transition into this new environment brought each of these girls much diversity.

“I’m from a place where it’s very cold all the time. It snows half the year, it rains 80% of the time,” Haldrup said. “So to come to Odessa, Texas where y’all freak out if not even an inch of snow and it rains like three days of the year, it’s crazy.”

The schooling system, however, was the most contrasting in the way of life of these students being that Thiry is from Belgium and Haldrup is from Denmark. They were already presumptuous of American schooling due to what they had seen in the movies.

“For me, [Permian’s] really an American school, like the football games and the cheerleaders and everything like the bus. I love the school buses and the yellow buses,” Thiry said. “Everyone’s just like ‘Why do you like it?’ and I’m like ‘Because it’s, like, in the movies’.”

Not only did they have a sense of what school would be like, both girls had to have prior knowledge of the English language, something they both have known for years already.

“We have to take a third language from 5th grade and you start taking English in 1st grade actually,” Haldrup said.

Another main difference between the schooling in Europe is their focus on education as in they leave extracurricular activities to be done outside of school.

“In Belgium, it’s more like classes: I had thirteen classes and it was for a week,” Thiry said. “And I didn’t do electives at school like I did theater in Belgium but as a hobby after school, not during school. In school, it’s just classes, study and that’s it. We don’t have a life at school.”

Now that a year of conversion has gone by, these seniors are getting ready for graduation and all the goodbye’s to come.

“What I will miss the most? The people I met here, my families and my friends, all my teachers, every one that I met here because that was really like the thing that I prefer here,” Thiry said. “Every time I’m like I love Odessa, everyone is looking at me like why do you love Odessa, because the people are so nice.”

As they head on their way back home, they will always carry parts of their newly discovered Texan pride.

“I’m not going to stop saying y’all,” Haldrup said. “I love Texas, if I were to ever move to the states I would definitely move to Texas. I can’t even imagine moving to anywhere else. Texas is just the best state.”

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The student news site of the Mojo Nation
From Europe to Texas