Grandview Heights High School is hosting two exchange students this school year.

Grandview Heights High School is hosting two exchange students this school year.

Fabian Petschke and Marco Stroppa both say they are looking forward to improving their English and to gaining the increased independence a year away from home will bring them.

Petschke, who will turn 17 next month, lives in a community that lies on the outskirts of Berlin.

“It’s a lot like it is here (in Grandview),” he said of his hometown. “But the people are a lot different.

In his hometown, people mostly associate with their neighbors, Petschke said. In Grandview, though, everyone seems to know everyone else in the community, he said.

“Everyone’s much closer and people know you when they see you in the street,” Petschke said. “There are some good things about that.”

As for the life of a student, “school is school” whether it’s in Germany or Grandview, he said.

The main difference is that in Germany, a student can pick his or her school but does not have much choice of classes and subjects, Petschke said.

“I think it’s nice that you can choose your classes here,” he said.

There is also a lot more homework in America, Petschke said.

Stroppa, 17, hails from Lodi, a small community near Milan.

Like Petschke has found, Stroppa said Grandview is a more closely knit community than his hometown.

“Here, you know everybody and everybody knows you,” he said. “I like that.”

The freedom to choose more of your courses in high school is a welcome change, Stroppa said.

“I’m looking forward to being able to take some subjects I couldn’t in Italy,” he said.

Stroppa said he believes living a year in America will make him more independent.

“I think I’ll learn things and learn how to get by on my own,” he said. “That’s important to me. “My brother (was a exchange student) five years ago in Texas and it was so awesome for him,” Petschke said. “I think that’s what made me want to do it, too. I want to be able to meet new people and have new experiences and get better at speaking English.

“And I want to have fun,” he said.

Both students are playing on the GHHS football team.

“I’m really interested in American sports like football and basketball,” Petschke said.

He said he hopes to take some of the trips to the west and east coasts and to Niagara Falls offered by the organization sponsoring his year in America.

For Stroppa, “right now, I just want to get to know Grandview before I start thinking about where else I might want to visit. I’ll probably let my (host) family suggest some places we can visit.”

So far, he’s quite happy in Grandview.

“I love it here,” Stroppa said.

“Everyone has been so friendly and made it so easy for me to come here,” Petschke said.