Newsworthy Nictié


Nictié smiles at the camera. Photo credits to Nictié Kalthoff

Bella Bonasera, Writer

Imagine going to live alone in a country you barely know for a year. That’s pretty scary. Now imagine doing it in the middle of a global pandemic and that country’s presidential election. Nictié Kalthoff (‘23) doesn’t have to imagine it. Kalthoff came over from Mainz, Germany this year with help from Partnership International and FLAG International as part of the foreign exchange program. She chose to enroll in the program for three reasons: to improve her English, become more independent and experience the American way of life. 

“It’s a lot different,” Kalthoff said, “The thing that I like the best, and this might sound stupid, but everything is so big. The schools are huge. The cars are huge. The stores are huge… It was an event when I went to Costco for the first time at the end of my quarantine. I was like, whoa!” 

Kalthoff started her time here at BFA about a month after the school year began and didn’t waste any time in getting involved with school activities.

“I’m in Interact, which I really like. Doing stuff for the community is new to me because the community is so small. That wouldn’t work in my hometown. I really like that, and it’s cool that they do stuff for other people like the coat drive… or the Halloween event in Taylor Park…Then, [I have been involved in] drama and improv team…and International Club… The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon was so fun. All this stuff made me make more friends [and] helped me get to know people.” 

When asked what her favorite thing about her BFA experience has been so far, Kalthoff replied, “I think my favorite thing at BFA was definitely [our theater performance of] The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon. That was awesome.” The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon was a one-act play put on by BFA’s Theater department in November of 2020. 

Although Kathoff has had memorable moments with extracurriculars, she has had troubles in school with the pandemic hanging over her head. 

“It’s special, definitely. I think it has good and bad parts. On one hand, it’s really hard to make friends with a mask, and people don’t talk to each other. Like, I was told that Americans are so nice and open, and they will talk to you…that’s not wrong, but with the mask on my first school day, nobody talked to me… It’s really a burden. But, on the other hand, I feel like, thanks to this pandemic, I’m able to appreciate the whole exchange a lot more than others. And I can always brag about the fact that I went on exchange during a pandemic, and it’s like a level up,” Kalthoff said. 

That’s not the only thing she can brag about. The United States just held their 2020 Election, and Kalthoff was here to witness every moment. 

“[It was] interesting. Definitely. I was really excited to come in an election year because it’s like you experience the whole thing going on, and really the spirit in the country before such a big election. And… it’s not just any election [because this was] Trump versus Biden. I feel like it really taught me a lot about not making people feel uncomfortable with my own opinion, to be respectful and listen to others, because not everybody I talked to ha[s] the same opinion as I do,” Kalthoff said. 

However, in the end, there’s no place like home. Although Kalthoff is having fun here, there are still going to be things she misses from home. 

“Well, my parents, of course, and I have a little brother, he’s 10-years-old. But I’m not crazy homesick … It happens randomly when you’re like, oh, right now I [would] like to hug them, or I would like to be with them.” 

Kalthoff has jumped through hoops to be able to have her own American experience in the year 2020, and she couldn’t be any more positive about it. 

 “I’m really grateful to be here,” Kalthoff said, smiling.