Nine months after setting foot in Sleepy Eye, Dario Roth, a junior from Switzerland at St. Mary’s High School is preparing to say goodbye and return home on May 29.
What he’s looking forward to the most is seeing his friends and family. What he’s not looking forward to is saying goodbye to his friends and host family, Tim and Jill Wait–and Mountain Dew.
“I will miss Mountain Dew the most. I found a place in Switzerland where they sell it, but it is $3 a can,” Dario said. “I will also miss the after school extra-curricular activities. I will probably miss more things once I’m back home and realize things are different.”
While attending school at St. Mary’s this year, Dario tried out for the football team, is a member of the track and field team, participated in the musical production and played intramural basketball.
What he said he will miss the least, is the flat terrain with no mountains and speaking a different language.
Before Dario came to Sleepy Eye he studied the English language in school for four years. Now, he said, when speaking to friends and family back home he finds himself searching for words in his native language of German.
“Now I don’t have to think about how to say things in English or how to pronounce things,” he added.
When Dario returns he will be on summer break until Aug. 24 when he will begin high school again for the next three years. Dario explained that going to a college or university are not as common in Switzerland and many of his friends have already decided on a trade that they have been studying for several years three days a week during the school hours where they receive hands-on training. Dario said for now, he plans to continue to further his studies in a college or university.
Dario said that he came to Sleepy Eye with an open mind.
“I didn’t want to set expectations so that I would be disappointed,” he added.
Over a dozen students from his grade back in high school chose to be exchange students in the United States this year and he is looking forward to hearing their experiences and sharing his own when he returns home.
“A really good friend of mine is currently an exchange student in Arizona and I’m looking forward to getting together with him and sharing our experiences when we return home,” he added.
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Dario said adjectives he would use to describe Sleepy Eye include: countryside, cold, snowy, nice, a lot of fields, corn and farmers.
While he said he has mixed feelings about leaving, one day he would like to visit again.
“I’m sure I will visit again and bring my family to see how I lived, how it is different, what we did.”