Needing a break from her “Swiss life,” Justine Carrel decided to sign up for an adventure in October of 2016.
“I prepared myself for ten months, I was so ready to leave everything,” Carrel said.
Carrel is a foreign exchange student from a small village in Switzerland called Prez-vers-Noréaz, which has a population of about 1,000. Fribourg, Switzerland, the city nearest to her home is where she went to school. Carrel is from the countryside of Switzerland, so all of the corn fields in Iowa remind her of her home.
“The day I got my information about my placement I had to Google Iowa,” Carrel said. “I had no clue where it was.”
Despite what some people say about being the “new kid,” Carrel’s first day of school at Kennedy went well. The language barrier is what she feared the most, but for her there was no problem.
“I understood almost everything and even if I got a big headache at the end of the day, I was really happy,” Carrel said.
Both teachers and students seemed to welcome Carrel to Kennedy with open arms.
“I always feel really good in this school because people are really friendly,” Carrel said.
Carrel had to adjust to the daily schedule we have at Kennedy, because her former school has a weekly schedule where each day is different.
“We also can’t choose our classes, we all have a total of 12 subjects,” Carrel said.
Besides the differences in the school systems, Carrel’s school in Switzerland has unique rules for sports, too.
“If you want to play any sport, you have to find a club in your town,” Carrel said.
After receiving advice from the association and her host family, Carrel decided to go out for volleyball.
“I played volleyball when I was 12, and my mom played for a few years too,” Carrel said. “I knew a bit about the sport and I thought it would be a good idea.”
Being a part of Kennedy’s volleyball program ended up being one of Carrel’s best decisions of the year. She played on the junior varsity team and her main position was a defensive specialist.
“All of the girls were so nice with me, especially because I was lost at first,” Carrel said. “They were always there to help me or explain what we were doing.”
Carrel really enjoys being in Iowa and can’t wait to experience different American sports and activities while she is here.
“I’m looking forward to trying new things, have friends, and spend time with my host family,” Carrel said. “I’m really excited to start basketball too because I had a nice time playing volleyball.”