You may have caught a glimpse of 17-year-old Olivia Vitt in the halls of our Early Childhood Center, or perhaps at our Jasmine Kindergarten and Grades Campus on Soraparu. She has been working on her service internship here in New Orleans by spending time in our classrooms, helping in our Magnolia Kindergarten as well as visiting other classes. We asked her to tell us a little more about herself and her experiences so we can get to know the true Olivia.
Where are you from?
I'm from Soest. This is a small town near Dortmund in Germany. The federal state is North Rhine-Westphalia.
Tell us about your school.
The school I come from is the Waldorf School in Soest. The school goes from the 1st to the 13th class. Altogether we are about 350 students. We have several buildings and a big beautiful schoolyard.
How is your Waldorf school similar to ours?
I've visited several Waldorf schools to look at them, and at every school, I felt I had the same positive mood. The feeling that the school is not only a place of learning but also a place of evolving and being together. I also found this feeling very strong at Waldorf School of New Orleans.
How is it different?
At my school, you can achieve the highest possible academic qualification and do not have to switch to high school. We also have a very large schoolyard and lots of space. I am very happy for Waldorf School of New Orleans that they can soon have such a nice experience in their new building.
Why did you come to the U.S.?
First and foremost, I am a globetrotter and love to travel! When we painted postcards for the Waldorf 100 celebration with our school, I was very keen on how many Waldorf schools there are in the U.S. I have always associated America with open-minded people, friendliness, and freedom. The idea of completing my internship in such a country while improving my English was just perfect!
What is your favorite thing that you've experienced during your New Orleans visit so far?
One evening I was with my host family on Frenchmen Street, and there we listened to live music. The music was unbelievably beautiful, but what was even nicer was to see how many people danced in the streets for the joy of life as if it were not a normal day of the week but a day worth celebrating. I have never seen this love of the moment before, and I think this is what makes New Orleans special.
What's something interesting you've seen while visiting Waldorf School of New Orleans?
I've never met so many incredibly charming people in such a short time! When you go into the school, you hear singing and students playing the violin, and the best is that you look into laughing and smiling faces. No matter if student, teacher, or parent, everyone I've met was nice, friendly, and interested. I did not feel like a stranger but rather like a part of the school. I would like to thank you so much for that!
What's your favorite New Orleans food, and why?
When I told my friends that I wanted to go to New Orleans, one of my best fiends said to me, "I'm so jealous! You can eat beignets there every day!" I had never heard of beignets, and was there fore particularly curious. I must say that it is one of the best things I have ever eaten!
What German food should we try, and why?
I think everything you can buy in a good German bakery is delicious. From freshly baked bread to various cakes and pretzels. Everything is really worth a try! The good old "American Toast" cannot keep up with that.
Tell us something interesting about your home.
I live with my parents, my two younger brothers, and my older sister in an old farmhouse in the countryside. Our house was building 1776 and has its own history. Most of my village is very old. You an just walk through the streets and everything you see has its own story.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
A few years ago, we watched a movie with my class showing how bad things are in the clothing industry. From that day on, I decided to buy only secondhand clothes. This promise is very difficult to keep, and especially when I travel somewhere, I tend to buy souvenirs in the form of clothes. But I have to say that at least 80% of my wardrobe consists of secondhand clothes!