Academy welcomes Scottish teen for her senior year

Natalie Netzel Staff Writer

September 23, 2013

NEWBERRY — Kirsty Marr traveled thousands of miles from Scotland to Newberry to study abroad her senior year of high school and is enjoying every moment.

The 17-year-old from Dundee is staying 10 months in Newberry and while there are a couple of things that aren’t her favorite — namely, the heat — she is enjoying her time with her new American friends.

Marr is staying with Mark and Audrey Waldrop, her host family. They have a two young girls, one of whom is close to Marr’s age.

Marr went through a foreign exchange program called Foreign Links Around the Globe. She said she had the option of the Academy or Newberry High but chose the Academy because it’s smaller and has a more intimate atmosphere.

While this is Marr’s first exchange trip, she said she spoke with other people who experienced other trips and got their feedback about the program.

Her parents in Scotland are happy she’s enjoying her American stay. Her father is a driver for a train and her mother works in a supermarket. She also has a 21-year-old brother who is headed to Australia next year.

She said the Academy is “a lot smaller” than her school.

“My school has 750 people in the school but it also has six years,” said Marr. “We don’t have lockers and there are not as many sports there. The classes are also different.”

Marr said that in America math is broken into algebra, geometry and other disciplines while in Scotland, it’s all combined,.

“There’s also more homework here (Newberry). We get homework every day,” said Marr.

Marr said the churches in Newberry are more modern than those in Scotland, which also has a lot of cathedrals and castles. Marr is visiting a Latter Day Saints church with her host family.

Marr has taken advantage of the swim team for the Academy and is also involved with the Junior Civitans organization. She said she wasn’t too involved in Scotland because she worked part time in Dundee.

Marr doesn’t have her driver’s license yet since the public transportation is so reliable back home. She said everybody drives in America which is not the case in Scotland.

Marr’s hobbies are not far from American hobbies as she said she enjoys sports, painting and sewing. In fact, she’s investing her sewing and artistic skills by taking a stage costuming class at Newberry College.

“I’m taking a stage costuming class at Newberry College which is a good thing because that’s what I want to do,” said Marr. “I want to go to Edinburg College for costume design.”

However, that doesn’t mean she’s not open to seeing what other American schools have. She also would like to see California and Washington, D.C.

She has also visited Spartanburg, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head with her host family and the swim teams.

One thing she has noticed is the southern accents. “Some are harder to understand than others,” she said.