Welcome to South!

Five foreign exchange students walk the halls this year.


Megan Haug

Alyssa Poe studies hard in her 5th block class. Poe is from Australia.

Goodbye Mom and Dad. Goodbye friends. Goodbye school. Hello to a foreign world where everything that once felt comfortable is now continents away.

The many foreign exchange students attending South this year are experiencing this wild experience. Among this group of students are Alessandro Russo, junior, Simon Wolff, junior, and Penelope Laporte-Guiyardi, junior.

“My favorite food from home is Schlesische Pfefferkuchentunke,” said Wolff. “We usually only eat it during special occasions, but it’s still my favorite.”

To many, this word may just look like a bunch of letters, but it is actually a German dish. Wolff was selected by his German town’s congressman to come to America. Given this opportunity Wolff spends his time at South enjoying school and playing soccer on the JV boys soccer team.

Laporte-Guiyardi is from France. She went from visiting local bakeries to splurging on all of the junk food in America. She transitioned her love for tennis to America and plays for South’s Girls Tennis team.

“I’ve seen so many movies about what America is like and I always wanted to see it for myself,” said Laporte-Guiyardi, “but it is actually very accurate.”

Common things like driving everywhere are overlooked by many Americans, but to Russo from Italy it seems very strange and different. After a friend got Russo involved in a program, Russo was able to come to America. Now that he is here he runs for South’s Cross Country team.

“My least favorite thing about America,” said Russo. “is that you need a car for everything.”

“My favorite thing about America,” said Laporte-Guiyardi, “is school.”

While this may be an unpopular opinion for most of South’s students, Russo and Wolff agreed too. They explained that the mood of the school and the teachers is very different from all of their home countries and it is an exciting new experience.

“In school they are excellent students,” said Stephanie Vences, Spanish teacher. “They are highly motivated, very respectful, and have great behavior.”

As a teacher Vences said she helps the students get accustomed to specific South things that they may not have been aware of and tries to help them feel as comfortable as possible. She helps them past any language barriers then watches them excel in class.

“I would for sure return to America in the future.” Laporte-Guiyardi said.

The other two foreign exchange students are Selim Osman from Turkey and Alyssa Rose Poe, from Australia.