Viking Pride Around the World: Leonie Walle and Jackie Shi


Leonie / Photo credit: Chris Waage

German exchange student Leonie Walle, here for her junior year, says that even though Orcas Island High School is pretty small, “that’s what makes it special.” Leonie, 15, is here from the southern part of Germany for the whole school year. She had the opportunity to go to any random place, but decided she would most like to stay with some family friends.

The most popular thing to eat at her school back in Germany is Kebap. Not surprisingly, her German school is bigger than Orcas Island High School. The school system on the whole is very different in Germany, but she likes the way we do things here too. For Leonie, the weirdest thing about Orcas is, “that you don’t have to look after other cars, but after deer.” Let’s hope that by the time the end of June rolls around, Leonie looks for deer and not cars.

This year, Jackie Shi is joining us from Anhui Province in China. He is a sophomore this year (junior in China). Jackie, 16, participated in an exchange student program that placed him on Orcas. Not one to be upset about his lack of choice regarding where he went, he says he “appreciate[s] them a lot.” He’s found the whole island very friendly, even if it is a little hard for him to break into fast paced English conversations.

When asked about our school he says, “Well, compared to Chinese education, American education is more relaxing. In China we have to work very hard, and have about 3 hours homework everyday.” However, he adds that he thinks Orcas Island High School is a good school and everyone studies very hard. “By the way, my school in China has about 4500 students.” Another fun fact about his school in China is that they eat rice for lunch every day. Jackie says the weirdest thing about the U.S. is that we eat our potatoes with peel.

Jackie / Photo credit: Emma Thoron

Jackie / Photo credit: Emma Thoron

At the very least, Jackie wants to speak excellent English before his return to China on June 28. That means that yes, he will be here for the whole year. Other things he wants are great American friends and to learn a lot during year. In the future, Jackie wants to “study programming in the college, and I want to set up a software company.” He is proving that people from all over the world are just the same; we all cannot survive without air, water, and computers.