Alexandra Goch is pictured at Springfield High School Prom with her American family — Vicky and Matt Krueger and daughter Sydney.

Young woman from Poland happy to be in Springfield

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to come here,” says Alexandra Goch, 17, of Poland, who is attending Springfield High School as a participant in the Nacel International Study program and is living with Vicky and Matt Krueger and their daughter, Sydney, on a farm near Springfield.

“I always wanted to come to the United States of America since I was a little child,” Alexandra said during a recent interview. “My parents always said I was too young, but they agreed that I could do so at age 16.” 

Alexandra is fascinated with life in the America.

 The best, she says, is the people.  “I like American people the most,” she said.  “People surround you with happiness.  If they’re happy, then you’re happy, and that’s how it is here.  When we walk down the street here, people acknowledge others. They say, ‘Hi! How are you?’ That’s really nice,” she said.   “In my country you have to be independent; people don’t talk to each other if they don’t know each other. That’s the thing that I don’t like about my country.  It would be weird if you talked on the street to somebody you didn’t know.” 

Alexandra grew up in Poznan,´ a city of 550,000 in West Central Poland.  She comes from a big city in a small country to a small rural community in a large, complex and diverse United States.

“Everything is much bigger here. “Your smallest state is three times bigger than our country,” she said. “Streets, cars, houses, buildings are much bigger here than in my country.”   When I got to Chicago, I ordered a small coffee… and it was like large coffee in Poland!” 

But, she has found a small rural community that she loves. “Springfield. It’s a really nice town. It’s small but people are extremely friendly and very helpful,” Alexandra said.

Life on the farm is “different, but fun,” she added.

Alexandra appreciates family living. “When I came here I didn’t expect my family to be so great,” said Alexandra.  “They make me feel like I’m one of the family. I don’t feel like a foreigner.” 

Alexandra feels somewhat isolated in rural America because she was accustomed to having the convenience and availability of public transportation in the city.  “We have trains and buses and subway to take you wherever you want to go,” she said. 

Springfield High School is much smaller than her school in Poznan.´  Springfield school: “It’s better,” she said. “You get to choose what you want to study. Teachers are very helpful; and they are available after school for anyone who wishes additional help,” she said. “There’s nothing like this in our country. We have to do everything on our own. That’s why I decided to come here; I didn’t like the education in my country. It’s really hard. I don’t know why teachers require us to do so much on our own because teachers are there to teach.”

As a junior at Springfield High School, Alexandra is studying ag, food science, college biology, FST (functions, statistics and trigonometry), sociology, music, English and American history.   She is getting acquainted with the game of softball.  “I had never held a ball and never saw a game,” she said.  She has learned how to throw and catch a ball, and swing the bat.  “It was hard. I had so many bruises on my body,” she said. 

Alexandra speaks Polish and English fluently. “I taught myself English,” she said. “I watched English TV shows, and read American newspapers.”  She had the opportunity to speak English in frequent communication with uncles, aunts and cousins living in Philadelphia.  She studied French and German languages in elementary school. “I am trying to teach myself nine languages,” she said.  “That might seem crazy, but I hope someday to be fluent in five languages.”  She hopes to work as a professional language translator.

Alexandra has a diversified ethnic background, claiming French, Ukranian, Polish, German and Jewish ancestry.  “I grew up in a big family. My parents were born in Poland, we consider ourselves Polish but we’re really not,” she said. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old, and she lived with her grandparents for awhile, and in recent years with her father, with whom a strong relationship.  Her father has his own company, importing cars from Germany and selling them in Poland.  “We spent a lot of time in Germany,” she stated.   Her mother works as a secretary.  

Alexandra arrived in Springfield during the Christmas / New Year holidays, and will be in Springfield until May 25 when she will fly home to Poland. She plans to return to Minnesota in August to attend St. Paul Preparatory School to finish her high school education. St. Paul Preparatory School is a private high school; it was established in 2003 as the first school in the Nacel International School System. She wants a high school diploma from an American school.  She plans to attend college in California or Florida, “Where the weather is warmer,” she said, and she hopes to relocate permanently in the United States.   Her dream is to eventually have a family; and have her father live with her family. “I hope to live in the United States,” she said.  “I was always hoping to move to the United States and stay here. That’s my goal and I hope it will come true.”

 “I’m off to a good start to realize that dream,” she concluded.



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