International student experiences fun, family and U.S. traditions

Norfolk Collegiate has a vibrant international student program at the Upper School. To celebrate their journeys and further welcome them, the Oak Connection is sitting down with our international students once a month. This is the second in the series for the 2014-15 academic year and it features sophomore Antonia, who is calling Collegiate home for the first part of the year. 

Antonia is one of Collegiate’s exchange students, and she hails from Germany. Though she misses her family, especially her two brothers, shereally enjoys living with her host family, the Walthalls. Their daughter, Brooke, is a freshman at Collegiate and a sister that Antonia never had. Antonia sat down with the Oak Connection to chat about life in America and a few other things.  

What part of Germany do you call home?
I’m from the southern part of Germany - from Munich.

Is this your first time being in the United States? Has it been what you thought it would be like?
I have been here twice before visiting my aunt and uncle who live in New York. I can’t wait to go to New York over Christmas. It’s every girl’s dream in Germany to go to New York at Christmas.

Did you leave behind any siblings when you came here to study?
I have two younger brothers, but I’m really enjoying living with Brooke. It’s like having a sister. We get to talk about clothes and such. It’s great!

Why did you decide to study in the United States?
My family lived in South Korea for three years, and I really liked being in another country and another culture. I want to live in Hong Kong one day. I visited there once and I remember the people being really friendly, and the culture is great. 

What did you think studying and living in the U.S. would be like?
I thought that school wouldn’t be as hard as it is. In Germany, we’re not given homework like we are here. Our teachers tell us that we are responsible to learn on our own, so we do more studying. 

I understand you are on the tennis team, correct? Did you play tennis at home?
Yes. I’ve been playing for eight years. I do want to try cheerleading before I go home because we don’t have that in Germany. We also don’t have clubs, so I joined Operation Smile. Back home, we have social days where we go out and work in a company and they give us money to donate to a charity.

Homecoming and Fall Fair are this weekend. Is this something that you’re excited about and why?
I’m really excited about it! I’m most excited about wearing a fancy dress and putting on makeup.

Are there any events at home that you are missing?
Oktoberfest. It’s my favorite event because I love all of the rollercoasters and the atmosphere. 

What is your favorite class here, so far? Why?
U.S. history is really interesting to me. There is so much information and events that have happened in such a short time. I also really love Latin. I’m really good at it, and I love Mr. White. His class is great.  

What would you like to do in the U.S. before returning home?
Going to New York is one, but I also really want to go paintballing because we’re not allowed to do that in Germany until we’re 18. 

What is something that people may not know about you that you would like for them to know?
I love to do fun stuff. Some people are worried about what their hair looks like and such. That’s not me. I like being with my friends and family and having a good time.