Culiat focuses on true American living experience

By Marissa Green

“I want to try new things, (to) try to live a real American life.” -Zelia Culiat, AFS Student

Throughout time, immigrants have come to America in search of the highly romanticized idea of the “American Dream.” On a smaller scale, AFS student Zelia Culiat came from Switzerland seeking to live life like a ‘real’ American.

“I want to try new things, (to) try to live a real American life,” Culiat said.

Each year, a handful of students from across the world are selected to be a part of the BSHS Foreign Exchange Student Program, and Culiat is one of them. The mixture of  personalities and experiences make for a good experience for both teachers and students.

“I have enjoyed having many cultures in my classroom.  It is always interesting to hear how school and culture is the same or different for those students in their country,” Kelly Brummond, Culiat’s AP Physics I teacher, noted.

While a school located in America is much different than one located in Switzerland, Zelia saw positivity in the change.

“(I) like the organization of the school. It’s very nice. And the activities after school. And the football games,” Culiat said. Going to football games is a new favorite of hers, joining others such as reading (in Swedish), running, and taking her dogs for a walk.

Culiat has shown striking wit and work ethic in her classes, which is the reasoning for her switching from Conceptual Physics class to an AP Physics I class.

“Zelia is a very intelligent student,” Mrs. Brummond said.

Although Zelia’s experience in America has so far been a good one, she does have some expectations that were not met.

“(I thought) my English was going to be better,” she said.

To help combat this language barrier, Brummond noted that defining words and working with pictures often helps her AFS students understand.

Zelia is from the Southern part of Switzerland–the “Italian” part. Although Zelia would have (at first) rather gone to an American high school somewhere warmer-like California-she is enjoying her time at Blue Springs.

“I think here everybody is very nice; back home they are not,” she mentioned as the biggest cultural shock she encountered. Though she feels this way, she also mentioned that she missed her family, her friends, and her house.

Just as Culiat sees the kindness in each person at BSHS, the feelings are mutual towards her.

“Zelia is very sweet and studious,” Mrs. Brummond remarked.

The differences between schooling in Switzerland and schooling in America are stark.

“My school is very small. Here, it is big.” Culiat said.

Culiat faced challenges coming to America. She misses her home and her family, although she loves her new one. Overall, she is happy to be a Wildcat, even if just for one year.