Host Sisters Bring New Cultural Perspective To Flower Mound

Devon Regal, Editor-in-Chief

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The first day of school is difficult for all students, but the experience is slightly different when school is thousands of miles from home.

Juniors Ellis Letteboer and Claire Rosso are host sisters from the Netherlands and Switzerland, respectively. For the past two months, they have been adjusting to the unique lifestyles of Texans and living out fantasies about American culture. However, these adjustments have not been without hiccups.

“I thought it was going to be like all the cliches I’ve seen in [television] series,” Rosso said. “[But] I’m always surprised by stuff.”

Rosso and Letteboer were most surprised by the lack of everyday elements of European culture that they had grown used to, like an active lifestyle and buildings in close proximity.

“We bike a lot in the Netherlands— almost everywhere we go— so it’s weird to go in a car everywhere,” Letteboer said. “And when we go into town, you can walk everywhere. My [town] is smaller than Flower Mound, and we don’t have high buildings, just cafes and stores.”

The differences in how school is structured also proved shocking. Rosso expressed her surprise at the realization that American schools have classes that last 18 weeks.

“Here, your schedule is the same every day,” Rosso said. “In Switzerland, we have 45 minute periods and each period is different every day.”

Dress code provided another unique obstacle for Rosso and Letteboer, who were not constrained by the same rules at their respective schools.

“I like wearing short stuff, and I can’t now [because of] dress code,” Rosso said. “We can wear whatever we want to [in Switzerland]. I came in with a bikini top on once.”

Through the organization that brought them here, Youth for Understanding, Rosso and Letteboer were free to choose nearly anywhere in the world to study. They decided on the United States for a number of reasons, but were primarily drawn by the cultural traits they had seen in the media.

“I saw a lot of TV shows about American quarterbacks and cheerleaders, and that interested me a lot,” Rosso said. “I watched [shows like] Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why, and Pretty Little Liars.”

Based off of what they had seen in movies and television, Rosso and Letteboer developed dreams of what they wanted to do once they got to the United States. For Rosso, the dream consisted mostly of one event.

“I want to go to prom,” Rosso said, “with a beautiful dress.”