Foreign Exchange Student Joins Our Community

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By Lauren McCollum 

Given the options of traveling to either Italy, Canada, or the United States foreign exchange student Cristina Teibler said her decision was easy to make. After having watched many movies demonstrating the American culture, such as “High School Musical,” Teibler, 18, was set on experiencing our way of life by joining our Mount Vernon High School community second semester.

Senior Cristina Teibler tries an icee from Kum and Go.

School has been a big change for Teibler in many ways. She would go to school for four hours in Argentina which consisted of only a few main subjects, such as math and science. Typically she would leave before it was lunchtime which makes the lengths of our days very different for her.

“At first it was difficult to get through a whole day at school, but over time I have started to enjoy staying through lunch and especially on block days. I like having the long lunches and MTSS time to get my homework done so I don’t have any over the weekend,” Teibler said.

Teibler feels most comfortable in Spanish teacher, Sue Deibner’s, classroom. Though she is not taking a spanish class she finds herself in the Spanish room several times a day. Teibler enjoys eating her lunch and watching movies in Deibner’s classroom with her friends every block day.

Cristina is such an open and friendly person who makes everyone feel comfortable.  She was such a joy to have in our J-term class. She wrote a great story on Gabi Guardado, one of our immigrant interviewees. I think she has adjusted just about as well as any exchange student I have ever known,” said Deibner, “I believe her awesome host family has a lot to do with that quick adjustment. Cristina´s English has improved so much!  Her accent is almost gone and she discusses and jokes around with everyone like she has been here a full year, and it has only been since Christmas. I am going to miss Cristina a lot!”

Her favorite class she has been in so far is performance P.E. with teacher Preston Pedersen. The biggest reason is because Teibler enjoys being able to laugh and talk with her friends during each workout. To her it feels more open and more enjoyable than being in a quiet classroom.

Teibler has been playing the violin for about 11 years now and was thrilled when music teacher, Thad Wilkins, approached her to play in this year’s musical. She has always adored musicals and figured she might as well try it out.

“When she came here, she was already a competent violinist.  What I saw from her was a gain in confidence.  She now plays much more like she a performer.  She is much more outgoing in her personality and her playing skills,” orchestra teacher Tabitha Rasmussen said, “I love that she is so kind and helpful to her classmates.”

As far as activities go, a favorite hobby of hers along with playing the violin in Argentina is kayaking. All activities or sports at her old school you had to do through an outside club and were not provided by the school. This has also been a big change for her and makes the community feel more connected than her community back in Argentina is.

Seniors Laurel Sherman, Cristina Teibler, and Grace McCollum in spanish teacher, Sue Deibner’s room.

“I love interacting with people wherever I go here because it is so different than in Argentina. To me it is very strange when I am at a grocery store and people ask how my day is going. In Argentina people don’t usually make any small talk with strangers at all. The way people interact with each other here makes me fall in love with the United States more every day,” Teibler said.

One of the most surprising things Teibler has seen since coming to the United States is the dipping french fries in ice cream trend. Initially she was weirded out when she first saw somebody do it, but is now determined to try it before she leaves this summer.

Friendships at first were a little difficult for her to make. She felt as though she was too different and people wouldn’t want to get to know her because of it. Since being able to observe more on how we interact with each other the friendships have gotten easier for her to make, and now she doesn’t understand how it will be possible to leave the people of Mount Vernon behind. Teibler is completely in love with her host family, the Krob’s, and is so happy that they have gotten to know each other better during her time here so far.

“I really love getting to have another sister here around my age. She is the best movie watching and snack eating buddy around, so I no longer have to do both of those things alone,” said senior Haley Krob.

Teibler also decided to play on the Mount Vernon school’s tennis team this spring with her sister Haley. Having never played tennis before she was very nervous to try it out. All of her friends joined the team as well, and now nearing the end of the season she has come to enjoy it a lot.

Teibler is sad to say goodbye to the United States this summer, but has enjoyed her time here very much and is planning to come back sometime in the future.

Senior Cristina Teibler at tennis practice.