Exchange students spend semester as Cavaliers


Ben Schneider

Canti (left) and Hrouda stand in front of Clover Hill.

This semester, Clover Hill is hosting two exchange students from Europe: Lukas Hrouda and Samuele Canti. The students signed up to go to America through exchange student agencies that placed them at Clover Hill after finding host families for them with children at the school. The two students will attend Clover Hill through the end of the year to experience life in another country.


Hrouda is from the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. He is here in America for the semester because he wants to meet new people, become more self-reliant and improve his English. 

Hrouda knew he wanted to study abroad as an exchange student because his parents both did it when they were younger.

“Both my parents did this so they know it’s a great experience, so I knew I wanted to do it too,” Hrouda said. 

He came to Clover Hill through an agency called Green Heart, which found a host family for him at the school with freshman Andrew Morin. 

His main impression of America is that there is so much space compared to European countries. 

“[America] is bigger, and everything is wide and far apart,” Hrouda said.

The distance between places was a culture shock for him because one of the most significant differences between America and Europe is that everyone drives everywhere in America because of the distance between places and the lack of public transportation. 

“[I’m most surprised by] the driving everywhere, like that parents or friends have to take you everywhere,” Hrouda said. 

Other differences he has noticed between America and the Czech Republic are the diversity of people in America and the more laid-back nature of American schools, which manifests itself in a more relaxed dress code and classroom environment compared to European schools. 

So far, he has enjoyed his experience at Clover Hill; his favorite part is seeing how similar it is to high schools in American movies. 

“It’s all just a great experience,” Hrouda said. “I love seeing how it’s almost exactly the same as the movies. It’s probably like the same thing. You wouldn’t actually expect it to be.” 

At Clover Hill, he has become involved in film club, and during his time in the United States he has traveled to places like Washington D.C.



Canti is from a small city called Modena in northern Italy. He took the opportunity to come to America as an exchange student after seeing American movies, which made him want to experience the country.

“I’ve seen a lot of American movies and I’ve always dreamt about the American life,” Canti said. “I’ve always heard about this opportunity to come and I wanted to do it.”

He came to Clover Hill after finding a host family at the school with senior Charlie Redding and freshman Campbell Redding. During his time at the school, he has become involved with the soccer team, playing for the varsity squad. 

His top impressions of America are that everything is bigger than in Italy and the people are outgoing and polite. 

“It’s really different,” Canti said. “Everything is bigger: the roads, the places, the markets. I love the people; they’re easygoing and talk to you. You can pretty much make friends with anyone here. They’re all really polite and really fun to be with.”

The necessity of driving was the most surprising part of life in America for Canti. In his hometown, cars are not nearly as important as they are in Chesterfield County. 

“Everything is further here,” Canti said. “You gotta drive to get everywhere. I’m used to being able to walk everywhere, but here you gotta take the car and here you can drive at 16. This is one of the things that shocked me most because you can’t get a license until you’re 18 in Italy. I have seen some classmates driving and I’m not used to it.”

His favorite part of his exchange trip so far has been Clover Hill because it is a calmer environment than schools in Italy.

“The school here is a better experience than in Italy,” Canti said. “I mean you’re more relaxed and in Italy you stay with the same classmates for like five years, but here you can change classes and know a lot of people.”

Though he prefers American schools to Italian ones, he feels the opposite way about food. One part of America he considers to be worse than Italy is the pizza.

“I’ve tried [American pizza] and, I mean, it’s not the same,” Canti said. “But I have to say, I’m not going to be that classic Italian guy that criticizes the thing you did, so I must say that it’s not bad. It’s acceptable.”

While he feels there is room for improvement with American food, especially the tendency to put cheese on everything, he has really enjoyed some of it. 

“Everything I ate here was not bad,” Canti said. “And I’ve been to the Italian restaurant, Sergio’s, and I have to admit it’s good. I had lasagna the first time and pizza the second time. You kind of feel like being home, you know?” 

Though he returns to Italy in June, his experience as an exchange student has made him consider coming back to America in the future as a college student. 

“I’m thinking about how there is the possibility to come in one year to go to college here,” Canti said. “So I’m considering that; I’m not sure yet, but I might.”