Get to know Lincoln’s 2021-22 exchange students


Savanna Kenney

Lincoln’s exchange students sport their grade’s color at lunch on the last day of spirit week. The students this year are from Jordan, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. (From left to right) Ella Rasmussen, Nina Durner, Jan Stedler, Marco Interlici, Federica Soffientini, Iria Maria Saez de Tejada Ruiz and Lama Issa. (Bottom row) Federica Sapporiti, Alice Svanberg and Marta Olavarrieta.

Each year, high school students from around the world leave their homes to visit a new place, stay with a host family, and immerse themselves in a new culture. This year, Lincoln is excited to welcome 12 students from all over the world; Jordan, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Italy.

 Lincoln’s Nurse Mary, who has been a part of the staff for 27 years, says exchange students have been hosted for as long as she has been at the school.

Ergon Student Exchange is an exchange program between Italy and Oregon or Washington. Many Italian exchange students attending Lincoln this year are doing so through Ergon. Ergons mission, according to their website is “to offer a true-cross cultural opportunity that will provide a transformative experience for both the host family and the student and establish life-long friendships.”

Many exchange students visiting Lincoln this year were chosen to visit Portland randomly through their agency, such as senior Marco Interlici from Italy.

“With my agency [being sent to Portland was] random …but I am really glad to be here because I love the people and I love the place,” Interlici said.

Many of the exchange students have expressed their love for Portland, and America in general.

“I like the kindness over here [in America],” said Jan Stedler, who plays on the varsity football team at Lincoln and is visiting from Hanover, Germany. 

 Nina Durner, who is here on a scholarship from the congress in Bundestag, Germany, feels lucky to be placed with her host family, who has a variety of cool animals that she enjoys interacting with.

“I love this family, I really like them.” she said.

Alice Svanberg from Gothenburg, Sweden and a senior at Lincoln this year, felt a major pace change once she arrived in America.

“Everyone is so busy all the time, it’s always go, go, go. The tempo is different and is the opposite from Sweden,” she said.

Other students also experienced cultural differences at Lincoln. Jacopo Durat, a senior from Italy who speaks four languages: (German, Italian, English and Spanish), mentioned some differences between American and Italian schools.

“The amount of time spent studying [at Lincoln] is very little compared to Italy. There are a lot of projects and technology implementations which I really enjoy,” he said.

  Durat and fellow Italian exchange student Federica Soffientini noticed a large difference in teaching and school structures in America versus Italy. At Lincoln, classes and students change location every hour and a half. In Italy, each student is in the same classroom and with the same classmates all five years of high school.

“I really like the style of American schools. I like that you have to change classes and get to know a lot of people,” Soffientini says. 

Soffentini says that although she likes the class changes, there is a struggle to make stronger friends. With so much class change getting to know peers on a deeper level is more challenging as she isn’t spending all day with the same students. 

Along with the other exchange students, Soffentini desires her year in Portland to include learning and practicing English, and making life-long friends.

As these students are from other countries, they are excited to explore the unique experiences in America, Svanberg especially.

“I have gone to a drive-in movie, we try to go to different restaurants, we go shopping as well. We [her host family and her] are also planning on traveling to Hawaii, Seattle, and New York.” She said.

  Lama Issa, a junior who plays volleyball for Lincoln, likes how Portland is different from her country, Jordan.

“I really like the nature here, there are more trees … I also really like going out for dinner here.” She said,

The exchange students this year are excited to throw themselves into Lincoln’s world of possibilities. Join sport teams, participate in spirit week, and make life-long friends.