Graphic of Lina and her Family
Graphic of Lina and her Family
Photo by: Ava Yoblonski

Exploring Cultures: Lina Struijcken a Netherlands Exchange Student

From the Netherlands to the U.S.A a Dutch Girls Adventure

Foreign exchange student Lina Struijcken arrived in the United States on Aug. 28 with the intent to immerse herself in a new culture. Struijcken possesses a strong moral character, which like laminated glass, remains unshattered in the face of adversity. She expresses this through her interest in working with children. One of the notable cultural changes Lina has observed here is the lower age requirement to get a driver’s license. She explains that allowing young people to drive gives them a chance to explore more and develop a sense of individuality. 

Photo by: Evan Olson

Some of Struijcken’s favorite activities include; hanging out with friends, trying new U.S. foods, and meeting new local people. The United States has introduced her to new foods that are not available in the Netherlands. She notes that American fast food is less healthy compared with the Netherlands, where there government imposes more restrictions on processed foods. Despite this, she prefers American food, appreciating the delicious difference of ingredients used in it. 

She spoke about how her host family chose her from two other candidates because of her unique personality, and their desire to learn about Dutch culture. Lina shares,

“They’re kind, and every weekend, we do something together.”

She is grateful to the Cottenceau family for the freedom they provide, which allows her friends to stay over, and they consistently have a great time together.

Struijcken said that her host family bears a resemblance to her family back home, giving her a sense of comfort. She also observes that her host family pays more attention to her comings and goings than her family in the Netherlands does. This shift made sense to her as she is in a new environment, and both families are kind. She is happy to experience something new with people she does not know.

Lina with her family back home.

Struijcken describes that her time in Wisconsin has been somewhat underwhelming so far. As a child, she dreamed of the typical high school experience she saw in movies, waving to Troy Bolten and gossiping about Gabriella’s to becoming a cheerleader or having pep assemblies. She, however, remains optimistic about her time here. Struijcken has enjoyed attending the football games and the homecoming dance, especially feeling the energy of the mosh pit. She was in the middle and loved the explosive energy striking people one by one.

Struijcken would not trade this experience for anything and is extremely happy to have emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States.

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