BRITT | Anja Schneider, of Switzerland, who is attending West Hancock High School this year, said she came to the United States for a lot of different reasons.
She said she wanted to see both the big cities and the small towns, improve her English "and meet new people."
She is staying with the Jennifer and William Rosin family, in Britt.
"My host family is very nice," she said. "I like it here."
Schneider, 16, who came to the United States through Youth for Understanding USA, said some things in America are what she expected.
She said the home of her host parents looks like "a typical American home in the films."
Other things surprised her.
In Switzerland, sports are not part of the school. Those who are interested in athletics participate in clubs outside of school.
Schools in Switzerland also don't have homecoming.
"I like the school spirit here," Schneider said. "I think that's very cool."
Schneider played volleyball back home with a club team. This year she is playing for the Eagles.
Volleyball practice started a few weeks before classes began at West Hancock. Schneider said this helped her to make friends right away.
She's also participating in speech at West Hancock and plays French horn in the band.
Schneider said the other students ask her a lot of questions, noting the first one is usually "How is the weather in Switzerland?"
Schneider is from Safhern, which she said has a climate similar to Iowa's even though it is near the mountains.
There's also a lot of farmers there, just like in Iowa, she added.
The other West Hancock students also ask her to say something to them in Swiss-German, according to Schneider.
She speaks Swiss-German at home. Swiss students also learn French and English at school.
Schneider said she enjoys her classes, but understanding what her teachers are saying can be a challenge sometimes because English isn't her first language.
She said she is looking forward to how Americans celebrate Halloween and Christmas. She also is curious about Thanksgiving.
Schnieder returns to Switzerland in June. She plans to train to become a nurse.
Jennifer Rosin said this is the second time her family has hosted a foreign exchange student.
"Anja has been a fantastic addition to our home," she said. "We love learning about her culture and sharing ours with her as well."