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Many people don’t realize how many differences exist between European and American teenagers. Foreign exchange students Charlotte Mouret, 17, of France, Maja Struck, 15, of Germany and Kathrine Eriksen, 16, of Denmark recently helped shed some light on the differences.
All students at Los Alamos High School, they explained what it means for them to live in the United States, and what a change this country is from Europe.
In comparing Los Alamos to her hometown, Mouret said, “Los Alamos is nice, but super-small. I like to do outdoor activities here.”
Struck commented on the transportation in Los Alamos, saying that in Europe, there are multiple forms of transportation like trains, buses, bikes and walking, which is much better than the one bus system that exists here.
All three teens agreed that American school is much easier than school in Europe. They said that getting an ‘A’ is much easier in American school.
Mouret said in France, school lasts from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with an hour-and-a-half lunch break and a day off on Wednesday.
According to the girls, in Europe, there are no advanced placement classes. Homework does not count in the final grade. Choosing classes and electives is not possible, and if the teacher cannot come to school, then there is no class.
Mouret said her favorite class is health, while Struck enjoys choir, and Eriksen likes psychology.
Another major difference revolves around sports. Sports in Europe are not school-sponsored, but rather, sponsored by clubs. The girls chose to participate in school sports in Los Alamos that include tennis, cross country and track.
European and American fashions also differ. The trio said that the clothes people wear in Los Alamos are less interesting and not stylish. They also pointed out that in Europe, one would never wear sweatshirts, sweatpants, or workout apparel to school or work.
Hollister is widely popular in Europe, but the stores are very sparse here. According to Struck, there are only three Hollister stores in Germany, and to get in, one has to wait in line for hours.
Music seems to bridge the gap between European and American teens, however. All three girls said that what teens listen to here is also what European teens listen to. However, they pointed out that music is released in Europe much later than in the United States.
Though there are differences between the lives of American teenagers and European teenagers, there are also many similarities, suggesting that the two groups and are not so different after all.
BY KATELYN COLLIER AND ALEXANDRA HEHLEN