An interview with a foreign exchange student

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Recently, we had a change to the small, conservative town of Oran. No, I'm not talking about the road I live on that they finally being paved after months of having to swerve to avoid potholes the size of swimming pools. I'm speaking of the foreign exchange student who arrived last week. His name is Simon Lang, and he's basically like every other teenager in America -- besides, of course, the fact that he's German.

My friends and I all think this is going to be a great experience for us and for Simon. We keep thinking of different ways to corrupt him with our American customs, when in fact he's the one that could corrupt us with some of the crazy things that go on in his hometown. Examples include no speed limits, schools not making you do homework, and other miscellany.

I thought it might be a cool idea if I interviewed him for one of my articles. You have to understand that this was a far from professional interview, seeing as how we were all watching "I love the 70s" on VH1 while I was doing this. So here's the interview. You may find it interesting, or you may not. Either way, here it is.

Q. What were your first impressions of America the night you arrived?

A. The friendly people, bigger places, straight streets, good food, and a lot more fast food places.

Q. What is your main goal while you're here?

A. To learn more about the American way of life, make long-lasting friendships, get my driver's license and to stay away from Twizzlers and beef jerky!Q. What has been your biggest accomplishment since coming here?

A. Winning a free bean burrito the first night I ate at a Taco Bell.Q. What is your favorite class at Oran High School?

A. My English class taught by Ms. Dejournett.

Q. For the party people out there who want to know, how old do you have to be to buy alcohol and cigarettes in Germany?

A. Sixteen, yet I'm not allowed to drive at my age!Q. In one word, describe Oran.

A. Country.Q. What is the strangest question you've been asked about your culture?

A. "Do you speak German?"

Q. Lastly, what has been your favorite part of America?

A. Wal-Mart!

Like I said, it's his first week here, and as you can tell, he's still getting used to Oran life. There are approximately 5 million clubs in his hometown for every 1 club in the Cape Girardeau area so he's a bit limited on the party scene. The idea of fun for an average Oran teen is to drive aimlessly and waste gas on our little cruise strip that runs through town.

When asked how he'll cope with the long period of time he'll be away from his family and friends, the cultural differences and the language barrier, he simply told me, "The people here are cool."

And that, my friends, sounded like a reassuring enough answer to me.

Sam DeReign is a senior at Oran High School. Contact him at sdereign@semissourian.com.

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