An Exchange to America


It is strange to think that America has a culture. Americans live in this culture every day; it is second nature. But the fact is, America does have a culture that is vastly different than most of those on the globe.

Levin Berger is an exchange student here at Leesville from Glarus Valley, Switzerland. He arrived on US soil just before school started. But why Leesville Road High School? Levin’s exchange student program, International Experience (iE), chose the school to help aid him in his international journey.

Berger came to America not just for academia but to learn about the American culture. Every year, students from various countries fly thousands of miles to learn the American ways. Through iE, foreign students choose the country they wish to learn from.

“Life is better here because in Switzerland, people say quality has to be good, and if it’s not that is not okay. But [Americans] are open minded and kind. Here the life is enjoyed more,” Berger said.

Upon arriving to North Carolina, Berger was surprised at how “normal” us North Carolinians sound. He was expecting a deep southern drawl, not the mixed northern-southern accent. He began learning English four years ago and is incredibly fluent. Back home, Berger grew up with a Swiss-German language, which he says is very different from standard German.

The high school Berger attended ran from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m, a much longer day than an average Leesville student pushes through. In his school, students cannot choose their nine classes — everyone is given physics, physical education, biology, and other core classes. Students there do not have electives; Berger wasn’t even sure what an elective was.

Berger and the Walkers, his host family, have had many adventures over the weekends. So far, he has braved river rafting and skiing, but his favorite experience has been dinner at Leesville Tap Room. “[There were] all these posters of baseball and football stars, and then the burger which completely blew my mind. No seriously, that moment was really crazy for me ‘cause almost all typical things of America were there and I couldn’t stop smiling that evening,” Berger said.

So far, Berger doesn’t miss his life back home. “[In Switzerland] the fun gets forgotten,” he said. He has debated whether or not he will move to America later in life, and so far he is definitely leaning towards moving here.

Meeting Berger was refreshing; to see his eyes widen at American wonders and new experiences was surreal. Each experience that is common and every-day for Americans, is new and thrilling for him. The United States really is an incredible country, and most of the time Americans don’t realize just how amazing this country is.


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