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Patty Williams must have felt outnumbered by the sudden turn of events.

Before the Carlisle girl only had to contend with Sylvia, her older sibling.

But in late August 1965, the soon-to-be eighth-grader had a second big sister. “Well, at least the one doesn’t talk back,” Patty said when asked by a local reporter.

Indeed, Marie-Anne Raymaekers of Brussels, Belgium, had a lot to learn about the American language and culture. She made mastery of English a major goal of her time spent as a foreign exchange student at Carlisle High School in 1965-66.

For decades, the local school district has hosted youths from other nations either as part of an exchange program or as the children of International Fellows enrolled as students at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks.

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For Raymaekers, a big adjustment was how to cope with the hot weather of south-central Pennsylvania. “In Belgium, it is not so hot in summer, not so cold in winter and there is much rain,” she said. While in Carlisle, she also enjoyed her first taste of sweet corn on the cob.

A year later, the role was reversed for Camille Hobbie of the Carlisle Class of 1967. It was September and she had just returned from a summer in Japan where the language barrier restricted her choice of school subject to a class on conversational English with Japanese speaking students. She made the best of it.

Before departing for Japan, Hobbie had only learned a few words and phrases. By the end of her stay, “I could talk well enough to carry on some conversation if the other person had a good imagination.”

Hobbie had made herself available to greet a new arrival to Carlisle, an exchange student named Pilar Roca from Ecuador. Both girls were American Field Service students. What impressed Roca the most about Carlisle was the eagerness local resident had in helping her get acclimated to her new surroundings.

Tour Through Time runs every Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to look at the county through the years. Send any questions, future ideas or tips to jcress@cumberlink.com.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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