Photo by Tucker Henderson
Simon Resing and Irene Viménez are two new foreign exchange students who will be attending school in New York Mills this year. 

By Tucker Henderson


Among the new students at the New York Mills High School this year, two of them claim the distinction of coming from the furthest away.

Irene Viménez and Simon Resing are both foreign exchange students this year and are excited to learn more about the culture of the United States. Both students hail from larger cities, and although they have only been in the country for about a month, they are already adapting to small town life in America.

Viménez, who is in 10th grade this year, comes from Alicante, Spain, a city on the southeastern coast of the nation which hosts a population of just under 340,000 people. She is staying with the Nick and Angela Sonsalla family.

Resing, a junior at NY Mills High School this school year, lives in Berlin, Germany, which he calculated, had about 2000 times the population of NY Mills, rivaling with a whopping three million people. He is staying with the Billy and Elizabeth Schwartz family.

As the warmer months come to a close and Minnesota’s cold and snowy ones are on the horizon, both exchange students can’t help but look forward to holidays in the United States, especially Christmas.

“I heard it’s a lot different,” said Resing. “It will be a lot different I think.”

“Christmas, for me in Spain,” said Viménez. “We don’t have a lot of snow, or a snowy Christmas.”

“Me neither,” Resing agreed. “We don’t have very much snow.”

Alongside the other holidays, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, they are looking forward to taking different classes not offered back home and experiencing school in America, some of which they have already gotten a taste of.

“The grades are a lot more crammed,” said Resing. “One missing assignment, you go from an A to a C. But in general, it’s easier.”

“Yeah, you can retake a lot of quizzes,” agreed Viménez.

Among other parts of high school, there have been a few culture shocks that stand out the most.

“The public displays of affection,” said Resing. “You can’t hold hands or hug in the corridor, that’s not like at home. Or the dress code, the first day I was dress coded because I had a Budweiser t-shirt.”

Viménez agreed with the dress code rules especially. “A lot of things are so different.”

The two have several parts of their daily lives that they miss from back home.

“My family and friends,” said Viménez. “And the food,” she quickly added.

“Surprisingly, the language, I think,” said Resing. “I like German. Other than that, the people obviously.”

Despite the culture shocks, the two students have a lot of things they’re looking forward to, especially meeting up with new people.

“I think learning the language,” said Viménez. “Seeing the different classes I’m not able to in Spain. For me, I really like the lake and I have gone to church. That’s something really different in Spain, so I like that.”

“It’s a lot different, but I like it,” said Resing. “I like the rural life.”