5,000 Miles Away

A feature on junior Carlo Puca.

Jazmyn Hill, Reporter

Imagine being in a completely different place; maybe it was a mandatory move to a different school, or perhaps a transfer to a city miles away from the familiar countryside.

Junior Carlo Puca relocated from a small town in Germany to the United States on August 1 to join Timberland High School for a chance to experience the American way of life.

“I want to experience the difference between studying in my home country, because I was only used to studying in my country,” junior Carlo Puca said.

Eager for a challenge, Puca said he signed up for the opportunity to learn and study in a way that was different from what he was used to.

“I’ve gotten to meet new people and learn a different way,” Puca said. “I wake up earlier. [Also,] America does presentations and ask questions here and there.”

The German native said this in comparison to the learning process where he is originally from, where the school day consisted of more interactive learning aspects within the classroom. However, the difference in learning styles is not the only change that awaited Puca.

“You have to adjust the language barrier, how bathrooms work, and  basements,” Puca said. “What if we don’t get along or see [eye to eye].”

However, a friend of Carlo said that she believes that he fits in perfectly in America.

“He is such a sweetheart,” senior Clarissa Bruegenhemke said. “He’s exceptionally good at soccer, and open to making new friends.”

Bruengenhemke said she befriended Puca over Snapchat long before he signed up for the foreign exchange program.

“I believe that  the biggest benefit of the foreign exchange program is for [students] to experience a different country and culture,” counselor Tammy Braun said. 

Though Braun  said that she had only met Puca a few times, the counselor said that the junior is very polite and and ambitious.

Puca said he was initially nervous about studying abroad, and leaving everything that he knew behind to learn a completely new way of life. This lead to Puca experiencing slight homesickness.

“I miss the healthy food in Germany,” Puca said. “Though I like the food here, I still miss Germany’s [cuisine].”

Despite Puca’s mixed emotions, he joined Timberland High School’s soccer team.

“High school life is exciting, very huge,” Puca said. “Football games, and lots of friends. There is always something to do.”

Throughout the years, Puca said he envisioned a picture of unity and society in comparison to the United States, specifically within high schools. Puca said he believes the nation upheld his beliefs well, as high schools represent more than just a place of learning, but a place where one’s peers can come together for a chance to socialize and form bonds with each other.