Students reflect on year in Devils Lake

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
Left to right:?AFS?students Nicole Corinaldesi (Italy) and Lene Gara (Norway) and host parent Roxie Hawley.

After a year in Devils Lake, two exchange students would highly recommend spending some time abroad.

Nicole Corinaldesi of Italy has been living with the Mack family and Lene Gara of Norway has been staying with the Hawleys.

“It couldn't have been better,” said Gara.

Both students agree the school system in the United States is much different in their home countries, but it was a fun experience.

“We have different high schools,” Corinaldesi explained. Each school has a focus on one aspect, such as the arts, cooking, athletics, etc., along with the basic classes — and they have different classes each day.

“It is totally different,” she said.

The girls also had to learn to use lockers and combination locks while in Devils Lake.

“We don't have lockers,” Gara said of her school in Norway. “It's really cool. I like it.”

Both girls said they will have to attend school for one more year after returning home.

The teens participated in a number of events while living in Devils Lake and made a trip to California earlier this year with their host families.

“I've learned so much this year,” Gara said.

“And not just the language,” added Corinaldesi.

Both girls admit they miss the food from their home countries and cannot wait to get home. Corinaldesi said she looks forward to “eating real pizza again.”

Gara said the temperatures in Norway are comparable to North Dakota, just not as extreme.

“Compared to Norway it's a lot colder in the winter here,” she said. “And here it's warmer in July and August than Norway.”

Corinaldesi said temperatures do not get colder than 28° F in Italy and she would offer this advice to anyone visiting Devils Lake: “Don't go there in the winter!”

Gara agreed: “It was harsh. I'm glad it's over.”

Gara said she plans to visit the area again someday, but in the meantime her host mother is planning a trip to Italy.

“It's a lot easier to say good-bye when you know you're going to see them again,” said her host mother, Roxanne Hawley.

Both girls would encourage local students to travel if possible and they would encourage local families to serve as hosts for visiting students.

“People like Lene save for it, it's a big deal,” said Hawley. “If no one hosts, their dream is unfulfilled.”

For more information on the AFS program, contact Hawley at (701) 351-5013.