December 12, 2007 Edition

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Hiltmann enjoying time in Arkansas

Olga 'Oly' Hiltmann (from left), a foreign exchange student at Walnut Ridge High School, poses with her host family, Chance and Tatum Nicholas and Debbie and Gary Melton.
Olga Hiltmann, a foreign exchange student who is staying with Gary and Debbie Melton of Walnut Ridge, is enjoying her time at WRHS.

Olga, who prefers to go by Oly, is from Ehringhausen, Germany. Her hometown has a population of around 5,000, which makes it just a little larger than Walnut Ridge. Her parents are Viktor and Angela Hiltmann, and she has one brother, Nicholas.

Though she is a senior at Walnut Ridge High School, Oly would only be a junior at home. Some of her favorite things to do, whether in Arkansas or in Ehringshausen, are reading, listening to music, going out with friends and playing soccer and volleyball.

Oly said her favorite American foods include grilled cheese, rice and hamburgers. Her favorite food at home? Kartoffelgratin with wiener schnitzel and salad ~ potatoes au gratin with pork.

She misses her dog, Molly, and her friends and family, but Oly is enjoying her time here in the U.S.

"School has been a bit hard because of the language (because people talk too fast)," Oly said, "but it is fun." She added that her host family is very nice, as are most Americans she has met.

Oly's host family includes Gary and Debbie Melton and Chance and Tatum Nicholas. This is the first time the family has hosted an exchange student.

"We decided to host thinking it would be a good experience for our children and for us," said Debbie. "We talked through e-mail beginning in June, so we had a chance to get comfortable with each other." She added that this is probably what made the adjustment so smooth.

Debbie also said that learning each other's customs has been a great experience.

"Oly has been great," she said. "She is very polite and sweet, and fits into our family like she's always been a part of it."

The family is planning several trips close to home as well as one to Washington, D.C., over spring break. Oly said she wants to go everywhere in the United States.

(This is the second in a series on foreign exchange students in Lawrence County.)

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