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ELC Santa Barbara Student Spotlight: Eliane Kottler January 12th, 2016

Eliane is an 18 year old from Switzerland. She recently completed her course at ELC Santa Barbara.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself…

I am from the German part of Switzerland, which is in the north. I work in the hospital as a nurse. I finished my education in the summer. It took me three years to finish. I took a break after that and that is why I am here in Santa Barbara.

I came to Santa Barbara in August and stayed with a host family. I have been learning English at ELC for the past 16 weeks. I just finished my course last week. The host family I was staying with was so nice and friendly. It was nice to live in the moment together. They enjoyed sharing different parts of their culture with me. They taught me bus etiquette, for example, I did not know that young people should sit at the back of the bus and not talk too loudly.

What are your hobbies?

During my free time I love playing sports. I like soccer and any other sport but my favorite sport is volleyball. But now I just like going to the gym to do cardio and lift weights.

Did you experience culture shock when you came to America?

Nothing really shocked me. I like the fact that in the USA people are more relaxed. For instance, during breaks, I see bus drivers chatting with co-workers and with people on the street. The work atmosphere is not so strict… it’s more normal and humane. In Switzerland no one would do this.

People in Santa Barbara are really open-minded, generally friendly and in my eyes, happy. I didn’t see people who are mad.

What do you miss the most about your country?

My loved ones! I can’t wait to see my friends and family again. I haven’t seen them in such a long time. It will be nice to share moments together and to talk not just through cell phones but face-to-face.

Does your family have any Christmas traditions?

Yes! The whole family comes together on Christmas Eve for dinner. We then do a secret Santa gift exchange and enjoy each other’s company.

What’s your favorite food?

My favorite food in America is sweet potatoes. I didn’t know that we had them in Switzerland. My host family cooks it every week and I love it! I like to eat it in salads or by itself. I like to eat healthy. I do not like McDonalds. I like to eat fresh food.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

My mom inspired me, basically because she is also a nurse. When I was younger I wanted to be just like her.

What are some challenges you’ve faced while working as a nurse?

As a nurse you have a lot to handle… Every single day new there are new patients so you always have to handle people of different ages and different personalities. It’s not easy but that’s what makes it interesting.

Why did you choose to come to Santa Barbara?

I came to the U.S. to figure out what I wanted to do with my future… I will still work as a nurse, but with time I will figure out what to do – I will decide if I will continue my education or continue to get work experience in my job.

How have you grown in the time that you have been here?

I feel more secure about myself. I am more focused on myself, and my needs – but not in a selfish way. I have learned to stand up for myself and for what I want to have and to reach for.

What do you like about ELC?

I like the fact that I’ve met people from a bunch of different countries. I have made friends for a lifetime. It’s cool because even when I leave they can come visit me in Switzerland or I can go visit them in their country.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

My advice is more like a quote… this helps me a lot in life: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It’s like my mantra; I try to live like that. What it means to me is that you have to try something even if you don’t know what it will be or what you will see because maybe you will meet people you wouldn’t have met if you stuck to your routine… It was a big step for me to come here but it was the best decision I have ever made. I will come back for sure. I don’t know when or for how long but I know that I will.

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