Harris Lake Park

Home of the Wolves


Experiencing a different country


Sorya Lagnaux, Soso, is from Geneva, which is a French part of Switzerland. Soso has one brother named Nicolas; he is 24 years old. She is the daughter of Anne and Yuan. She is currently living with Jennifer and Josh Paskert, Braeton Nitzschke and Ashlyn. Soso is taking many classes this year, including biology, U.S. history, English, Algebra II, chemistry, choir, and psychology. She is also participating in cross country; Soso plans on being a part of basketball and track as well.

When Soso first came to the United States, she went to New York for the ten- day EF camp. She left Geneva on July 20th, and she arrived in Iowa on July 30th. Soso has done many fun things since she has been here. She has enjoyed going to football games, camping, visiting a water park, visiting Manhattan, going to the county fair, and going to a pep rally. Soso plans on going to California in March or April with some other foreign exchange students. Her family is also planning some small trips.

Soso said, “The school systems are really not the same so it is hard to explain, but in Geneva we have eleven years of obligatory school, elementary and middle. We have three different levels in middle school. Only the people in the third level are allowed to go to four year high school. Less than half of the teenagers go to high school. If you are in high school, it is because you want to go in a high level college for a long study. Some students do apprenticeships. Others go to business school or a school of general knowledge, which is a shorter study. High school is harder in my country and less fun. We don’t have sports, but we have P.E. We do not compete against other schools for sports like it is here.”

There are many other differences between Geneva and the United States that Soso has noticed. Americans eat very early.  Soso eats between eight and nine thirty at night. Switzerland also doesn’t have very much fast food because they eat a lot of vegetables. They do not eat much meat.  Soso also explained that teachers here are more like a friend. It is stricter in Geneva. Another difference is that an 18- year- old can buy strong alcohol and a 16- year- old can buy beer and wine in Geneva. They also must be 18 for a driver's license; however, they bike everywhere or take a train or bus.  Soso’s favorite part about being here is going to all of the sports games.

She has learned a lot already. She feels like she is becoming more fluent in English. Everyone has been very welcoming.  Soso said, “Going to another culture teaches you a lot. You need to be responsible and mature and know that your parents can’t do anything for you.” 

Soso plans to be a doctor and go to the University of Medicine of Geneva. She also looks forward to traveling more in her lifetime and experiencing things here like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and prom since they don’t have that in Geneva.

By Tessa Ihnen

Elementary: 105 Avenue A Lake Park, Iowa 51347 (712)832-3437 Fax: 712-832-3640
MS/HS: 905 South Market Street Lake Park, Iowa 51347 (712)832-3809 Fax: 712-832-3812