Grandview Heights may be a small community, but for Thiemo Alpinice, it feels just right.

The high school junior is from Interlaken, Switzerland, and is spending the school year in Grandview as a exchange student.

"My hometown is about the same size as Grandview," he said. "We have about the same population and my school's about the same size. It's not so different."

At his home school, students change classes during the day, just as they do in the United States.

"But we don't change classes individually," Alpinice said. "We do it as a group. We have week schedules, so we have certain classes on a Monday, then different classes on Tuesday and other ones on Wednesday."

There's another slight difference, he said.

"We have five minutes between classes, so it's not as hurried," Alpinice said.

A triathlete in Interlaken, Alpinice has joined Grandview's junior varsity football team.

"I like football. It's completely different from what we have in Switzerland," he said. "I never played it before I came here. It looks extremely aggressive."

Alpinice, interviewed Aug. 31, said he was looking forward to watching his first Ohio State University game that night.

"People get really excited about it," he said.

He's excited about getting the chance to spend a year in the U.S.

"My first priority is the language," Alpinice said. "I want to speak better English. That's why I'm here in the USA. When I leave, I don't want to have any problems writing or speaking English."

He said he doesn't have a bucket list of places he wants to visit.

"I'm not here with a list of all kinds of places I want to see," Alpinice said. "I just want to see as many places as I can. I want to learn about the culture."

One of the aspects of school culture he likes is that students from different grade levels intermingle.

"You have four grades here, and if you're watching a game, you have students from all ages playing on the team together," he said.

In Switzerland, "we only see the students from our own grade at school," Alpinice said. "We don't have sports teams at school. If you want to play a sport, you join a club or a team outside of school."

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