Simon Veltens: A man amongst boys


This past week, the Spartan Oracle interviewed one of our amazing foreign exchange students Simon Veltens. He took us through the culture change involved in coming to America from Belgium, the country he’s lived his whole life.


Simon described the change of school atmosphere from Belgium to America and listed the differences. He explained his school in Belgium was much more strict and that he “Couldn’t wear shorts over my knees, no tank tops, no shirts or tee shirts that look like for the beach”. He also explained that the teachers at OA care more about the students, as students and teachers develop almost friendships here, but in Belgium it is a lot different. Teachers come to school just to teach and “they don’t care if you’re sad or moody, (and) they don’t talk about their private life.” Simon also said he doesn’t even know most of their first names. When describing the school curriculum, he said the students don’t choose their classes, they all take the same classes like Math, French, and Science, for the same amount of years. 


Simon also discussed the difference in food and environment. He said that the food isn’t much different because he used to eat a lot of fast food in Belgium and his host family here in Orcutt cooks almost every night and eats pretty healthy. The country’s terrain is much different than this part of California because Santa Maria is situated between a lot of hills, but Velten’s explained, “Belgium is super flat, we have one “mountain”, but it’s more of a hill.” 


Simon said that he misses his family and friends a lot but his favorite part of America is how nice and polite people here are. 


Simon also mentioned how when he first moved here, everyone said that he would love OA because it’s like one big family and he says it really is. That should make every student of OA grateful and appreciative to be apart of this one big family.