Morenci's exchange students: Claire Van Bon 2012.10.17

Written by David Green.

claireClaire Van Bon knew when she signed up with a student exchange program that she would face new challenges and experiences in America. She's certainly getting her fill.

"It's quiet outside," she said.

Coming from the Dutch city of Oss, with a population of 58,000 people, to the rural Morenci home of Bryan and Jennie Hilton, it took a while for Claire to adjust to the silence of the night. No trains, cars and people on the street throughout the night.

"I used my iPod music to fall asleep at first," she said.

At home, she's accustomed to taking the train around the city or even hopping on a bicycle to transport herself. Now she's dependent on her host family or other students to drive her into town.

There are also some stark differences in the school system. In the Netherlands, her high school has 5,000 students. Sports, band and other activities are all separate from school. That's only for academics. The schedule varies from day to day at her school and some days she's not in class the entire day.

"School is a lot different," Claire said. "You can listen to music. You don't have to do your homework. It's your own responsibility. Here, you're forced to do everything."

Clair has a sister at home in Oss. Her mother directs a medical office and her father formerly owned a furniture store. She's already finished high school and will attend college next year to study hospitality and event management.

She's looking forward to a trip to Holland, Mich., hoping she can find a store selling some Dutch food.

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