American Dream


Lillyana Brastad, Web Editor

After Covid-19 and online classes postponed foreign exchange students’ chances of spending a year in America, Glacier Peak has been able to host seven students from various countries for the 2021-2022 school year. Among the seven, Milan Donkers, Gio Kaikatsishvili and Josi Krüger have shown Grizzly pride by involving themselves in school activities.

Netherland native, Milan Donkers, describes American high school as just how it looks like in the movies, with his favorite part being the sports games, such as football and volleyball. Donkers attended many games with friends and has been described as one of the most spirited people there.

“They’re so much fun to visit and to be there with friends,” Donkers said. “It’s exactly how I thought it would be, it looks like in the movies. With the cheerleaders, the band and things like that, it is so cool”.

Donkers is a very outgoing person, who easily made a lot of friends when he arrived in Snohomish, this September. Being involved in activities such as varsity tennis and attending many football and volleyball games allowed him a lot more opportunities to meet new people. Donkers has been spending his time in America visiting many different local attractions with fellow exchange students and is improving on his English, as it is important for him to become more fluent in the language.

“When I finish high school in the Netherlands, I want to study international business and it is an English study,” Donkers said. “I think it’s important to speak good English because a lot of people in the world speak English.”

German exchange student, Josi Krüger, has been learning English since third grade as it is taught in many German schools teach it. She came to the school to experience the American dream and to see the world from a different point of view, arriving in Snohomish in mid-August. Life here is a lot different here than in Germany, Krüger misses the food and her family but loves American and the school’s culture.

“My favorite parts of American high school are going to football games, teachers talking as if you’ve known them your whole life and getting compliments in the hallways,” Krüger said. “I just feel very welcomed at GP.”

Exchange students loving American school spirit is not uncommon, Krüger loves how everyone comes together at football games to cheer on their team and sing songs. School spirit is nonexistent in Germany, with no student section at sports games, no pep assemblies and no bond between teachers and students. Krüger enjoys being able to experience the culture of American students.

Gio Kaikatsishvili loves to share information about his home country of Georgia, he brought students of all grades together during grizzly period to share a presentation and answer questions. Wanting to come to America since he was a little kid, Kaikatsishvili is realizing how different America is from Georgia, which is in Eastern Europe, he is amazed by the differences in cultures.
“From my very childhood, I’ve been obsessed with American pop-culture, popular TV shows and history,” Kaikatsishvili said. “I always wanted to learn what makes a country so different from others which enabled Americans to become a beacon of freedom and democracy in this world.”
Kaikatsishvili is thriving in American high school, enjoying the numerous opportunities available and the students who have welcomed him. As Donkers and Krüger also explained, exchange students love the community American high school has, compared to many schools in Europe, with students engaging in activities together and showing pride in their school.
“I consider myself as a very integral part of this community and the biggest reason for that are the other students who are just amazing people and who have been very welcoming and warm towards me as an exchange student,” Kaikatsishvili said.