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Anderson Family Hosts A Second Serbian Student

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After witnessing her older brother Srdjan's experience, 18-year-old Aleksandra Ristic would make her journey to live with George and Vickie Anderson of rural Raymond and attend Lincolnwood High School as a foreign exchange student for the duration of the 2017-18 school year.

"I saw my brother come here and I wanted to improve my English," said Ristic. "I wanted to see something new. I love to travel."

Because the Andersons hosted her brother almost seven years ago, Ristic's family requested she be placed in the same home.

"The family requested and wanted her in this area if possible because Srdjan loved it so much," said host mom Vickie. Ristic is the first girl out of 13 exchange students, and will more than likely be their last as they've adopted four sisters, who make their home a little busier.

Ristic's hometown is Paracin, a municipality in the Pomoravlje District of Central Serbia, with a population of over 24,000.

Prior to coming to the United States, she had taken English classes in high school, but her teachers weren't very fluent in English, so she didn't learn the language as much as she had hoped.

Fluent in Serbian, she is also familiar with German after studying the language for a month in Austria, where she was able to meet people from all around the world.

"In the beginning, it was more difficult doing homework with translation, but she has improved well," said Vickie.

In Serbia, Ristic attends 12 classes a day, with her schedule changing every two weeks from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. She also said she was able to choose her classes here, but back home she attends different classes each day.

A junior at Lincolnwood High School, she is studying management, probability and statistics, biology, English 4, math, government and global, advisory and world history. Ristic added she enjoys her math and statistic classes.

Not only is she enjoying her classes, she is also involved in extracurricular activities, including volleyball this past fall. She is also thinking about playing softball in the upcoming season. Ristic hopes to graduate from Lincolnwood in the spring so she won't have to return to school once she arrives home, where most of her friends will have already graduated.

Following her high school graduation, she plans to further her education in Serbia in computer or dentistry work, where schooling is less expensive.

When she isn't at school, she enjoys shopping, playing volleyball,  four-wheeling, and has enjoyed the dances she has attended so far, including homecoming this month.

Ristic also enjoys attending some youth events with her host family's church, the First Baptist Church in Litchfield.

In her home country, it is common to spend a lot of time with friends, so she enjoys being able to hang out with friends, as well as skiing, spending time and traveling with her parents, watching movies and going to the gym.

"When Srdjan was here, Lamar, who was living at home, would take Srdjan out to do things, so her experience here is a little different than her brother's," said Vickie.

She recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago and St. Louis, MO, when her brother came to visit during his winter break from college in Louisiana.

When asked about the changes she's encountered, Ristic said the countries are very similiar, but there is a lot more fast food and "sweets" here.

Ristic admits she was "a little nervous" when she first arrived and felt slightly homesick during her second month here, but she has enjoyed her experience as a foreign exchange student, and looks forward to the duration of her time in Raymond.

by: Bethany Martin


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