Freshman Shares Story of Transition From Austria to America


By Josie Huffman, Reporter

Sophia Koppensteiner, a freshman here at Greenwood, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Vienna, Austria, when she was four. She then continued living there for seven years before she decided to move to Bowling Green with her mom to be closer to family.

While she was there, her parents taught her both languages at the same time, but she grew up more familiar with the German language. She still had to learn how to read and write English when she moved here because she wasn’t around people that spoke English as often. She says, “It helps me understand different cultures and people more and it also helped me learn other languages better. I think it enhances my mind.”

For her, the most difficult part about learning English was understanding literary elements, such as idioms and metaphors because she always took things literally.

Her favorite food there that we don’t have in the U.S. is a jam-filled dumpling topped with melted butter, poppy seeds, and sugar called Knödel. However, this treat can sometimes be served with a vanilla creme instead. Sophia says she prefers the sweet version of this food, but they have savory versions as well.

She also enjoys a food called spätzle. This is a soft egg noodle that often goes well with different types of meat. Though Sophia was a pescatarian until the eighth grade, she now eats chicken and fish to have more options and to make it easier for herself and her mom when it comes to eating meals. Now that she has moved here, she really enjoys eating at Mexican restaurants because they aren’t very popular in Austria.

In Vienna, she attended a German private school called Kripvendorf Private Schule. She then transferred to Cumberland Trace in the middle of her fifth grade year. She is now a 14-year-old freshman here at Greenwood who always tries her best to do well in school. She never lets her friends or classmates down and is always kind to everyone. She is motivated to do well by her teammates and classmates during school or after school activities.

Sophia used to play volleyball, but quit this year to travel and visit family. She recommends traveling to Vienna and Salzburg because of the beautiful palaces they have there.

She enjoys rock climbing and has been on a climbing league for a year now. She also just started dancing at Dance Arts at the beginning of the school year where she does tap and jazz.

Besides sports, Sophia likes to travel, learn about different cultures, and make friends. She also enjoys watching movies, participating in KYA and KUNA along with spending time with family. She is very friendly, never failing to make people feel happy and being there for people when they need it most.

In school, Sophia really likes the freedom here at Greenwood and prefers the block schedule over periods. Her favorite subject in school is P.E. However, her favorite core class is Chemistry because she can relate it to her everyday life.

Her favorite moments at Greenwood are that she got accepted into Student Council and the friends that she’s made along the way. She is excited for how this year will turn out for her and knows that it will be a great year with amazing people.

When she graduates, she plans to go to an Ivy League school or Emory University. While she is there, she wants to get her medical or law degree before becoming an FBI agent later on in life.

Sophia is a great team player who has great things ahead of her in life. She makes above average grades and is always a cheerful person. Even though she went through a big transition in her life, Greenwood is glad to have her here as a student!