Bella Patterson- From Switzerland to Grand Rapids


Payton Field , Staff Writer

Picture this: A deep blue river runs through a valley of green luscious grass and tall breathtaking mountains. The light blue sky is clean and the air is crisp. It’s a perfect postcard view.

For new sophomore student Bella Patterson, this was her reality. For the past 10 years, up until now, Bella lived in Zurich, Switzerland.

“When I first moved to Zurich, I was only 6 years old,” Bella said. “Even though I was far away from the rest of my family, it was a lot easier to adapt to everything around me.”

In Zurich, the customs and traditions are very different than they are here. Each day Bella’s school schedule would be constantly changing. At the beginning of the week, she would be provided with a weekly schedule (instead of a daily schedule). She had an hour and a half lunch break and during that time period, Bella could go wherever she wanted.

According to Bella, the school days at FHC are not as entertaining and interesting as they were back in Zurich. The days would go by faster, each Wednesday was a “day off,” and throughout her breaks, she could leave and go wherever.

“Living in Zurich, I had a lot more freedom,” Bella said. “People would go out and take the unique and amazing public transportation, such as: trams, trains, and boats. It was also very safe there. I could go into the city by myself and not have to worry about anything happening to me.”

Her school was six floors high and each room had a window overlooking a beautiful view. According to Bella, she doesn’t like how some of the classrooms upstairs don’t have windows. She would rather look out and enjoy the scenery, rather than look at a brick wall.

Once she moved back to Michigan, the adjustment from her old life to her new life was clearly challenging. Bella says that moving back to Grand Rapids was harder than moving to Zurich due to the fact she was traveling to a “foreign country”

“Most of my life was spent [in Zurich] and it was very hard to come back and fit in with everyone,” Bella said. “It has taken so much longer to adapt and I am still adapting to things here.”

One of the few things Bella enjoys about living in Grand Rapids is being closer to her family. She has 6 siblings, all older than her; and, because she lives here, she can spend more time with them.

“Of course I miss things from Zurich, but living here, I enjoy being closer to my family and being able to drive,” Bella said.

Another thing Bella enjoys is her US History and English Block with Laura Stiles and John Fisher.

“Bella is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen,” Stiles said. “She has tremendous empathy and at the same time, is very critical in her learning.”

Although U.S History and English are new and exciting subjects to Bella, she misses the classes and information she learned back at home. In Zurich, she learned how to train for job interviews and write resumes.

“[If I had to describe Bella in three words it would be]:kind, wise, and confident,” Stiles said.

Whether Bella be learning in the beautiful city of Zurich or in the city of Grand Rapids, her perky, intelligent, and gracious personality will take her down the road to success.

Bella 2“Living in Zurich taught me to be independent, but now living here, I am learning to try new things and adapt to change,” Bella said. “That is what being a part of FHC has taught me.”