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Casper's Cool Kids

Isabel Mank

Isabel Mank (click for larger version)
10/01/2006 - Casper's Cool Kids? Yup! Even though Isabel Mank was actually born in Germany and lived there for thirteen years before moving to Austria! "I've always wanted to live in America since I was six years old!" Isabel shares. A trip to New York and then to Tennesee convinced her that the people in America were so friendly that she had to come back. Well, she did and we in Casper, Wyoming are so glad to have her!!!

Isabel's older brother and sister, Daniel (23) and Janina (19), had visited foreign countries as exchange students, Janina in New Zealand and Daniel in Michigan. They shared their excellent experiences and Isabel decided to give it a try. For the past five years she has been diligently studying the English language as part of her preparation. Isabel and three friends left Austria simultaneously as participants in the foreign exchange student program, all to different places -- one to Australia, one to Italy, one to England and Isabel, of course, to America. While most people, including Isabel's three friends stay away from home for only six months, Isabel decided to come for a year!

While in America, Isabel is staying with a host family, the Gulles. "My aunt is involved in placing the foreign exchange students with host families," host mom Gail Gulle tells us, "We decided we would like to host a student. Isabel's was the first letter and picture we looked at. As we went through all of the others we kept saying, 'No, I think we want Isabel.' We could tell she would fit in because she likes horses and we own horses, she loves to dance and so does our daughter, Karley. We're not sure we could ever have another exchange student because Isabel has been so perfect!"

"The Gulles are very nice," Isabel says. "They help whenever I need help and there is never a wasted minute. They always have something to do and we just go from one place to another!" Isabel enjoys the two Gulle children, Karley (10) and Kyle (5) and Gail chuckles, saying Isabel has given her husband Steve and herself insight into the teenage years. "It is really cool having a girl from Germany," Karley says. "You learn a lot. You get to learn about how they live and they get to learn how you live." The experience for the children was one of Gail and Steve Gulle's motivations as well.

Gail and Steve encourage others to host an exchange student. "So many kids want to come here. It's good to give them the opportunity."

Isabel is attending Natrona County Public High School and loves it! She says, "The school offers more than the ones in Austria. It is different and more fun. You get to meet more people because in Austria you only have one class and the teachers rotate for the different subjects instead of having separate classes for separate subjects. And there are lockers! You did not get a locker in Austria. The teachers are nice and there are more sports teams."

Isabel loves to swim, ride bicycles and downhill ski. She plans to try cross-country this winter and is doing something that is totally new to her this year -- cheerleading. "There is no cheerleading in Austria and she wanted the whole American experience," Gail says.

What Isabel loves best about Casper is the mountain and the people. We're so glad you're here, Isabel -- welcome to Casper!!!

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