In the Life of a Foreign Exchange Students at KRHS

Person Holding World Globe Facing Mountain
Person Holding World Globe Facing Mountain
Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels

Two foreign exchange students and the foreign exchange program director share their experiences and thoughts on traveling. 

The foreign exchange program allows students from different countries to experience what it’s like to live here. They get a new perspective on life not only in school but outside of school as well. With an interview with some of the students here, they were able to give insight into what being a foreign exchange student is like. One student said, “I like my host family, I also love my friends here and just being able to hang out with them. I hope that even when I get back I still keep in touch with them. I miss my family a lot but I feel like learning new things here gets you distracted.” The program can help students make new friends and connections. Another student said, “I feel if I had to give advice to other exchange students it would be, you should do sports because you can meet a lot of friends. And of course, people here are going to ask your name or ask who you are, but if you’re not social it’s not going to be as easy I think.” Being a foreign exchange student comes with having to step out of your comfort zone. Trying new things and learning new experiences.

Mrs. Aylor is the supervisor of the foreign exchange program here at Kettle Run. This means she approves companies, looks over applications, and helps with any issues that may come along the way. She has been working her job for seven years and would like to give some insight into what the process is like. “When the company sponsors a student or helps a student come here. They are responsible for finding them a host family, making sure it’s a good match for doing home visits with the host family, and interviews with the host family. And then once the students come here, some companies have different activities that they do that introduce them to the culture.” The companies that take care of the students make sure that they feel comfortable in many ways. Whether that be through making sure the environment the students are living in is right for them and letting them get used to the new change. 

Something Mrs. Aylor thinks that students can learn and achieve is that “It’s great because they get to see and experience first hand the culture that they only saw in the movies or on TV.  Even more so, I think that we learn so much from them through these students we can experience things and have exposure to ideas, thoughts, opinions, and things we would not normally have exposure to and that helps broaden our world. It helps both sides learn that someone might be different, but that’s okay. We don’t have to be scared of them, we don’t have to be angry just because something is different from our own perspective. To me, that’s how you lead to world peace. From listening to someone else’s perspective.” Not only can we teach new things to students, but they can teach us new things and give us a better understanding of things.

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Something most people don’t know about the program is that students here at KRHS can be involved too. Students can host foreign exchange students when they arrive here. Hosting someone out of the country allows you to make a new friend with whom you can connect and learn from. You can help them by showing them around the school, making sure they’re comfortable in their surroundings, and being a friend to them in school and outside of school. If you’re interested, you can talk to your school counselor and they will sign you up to host. Students here are also able to travel out of the country as well. Students are pretty much able to visit any country. With the two-week program, teachers can chaperone on the visit as well. The school usually offers visits to France every other year as well as Northern Spain. If these visits seem interesting to you, the program will soon be advertising a trip to Austria next year in April of 2025. 

Ms. Fort is a teacher here at KRHS. She teaches Latin and is part of the foreign exchange program. She makes her foreign students feel comfortable here when she says, “I let them play a simple game with the students in my classes. So then they can get to practice speaking in English, talking with our native English speakers, which is predominantly the students in all of my classes. So sometimes it’s games, sometimes it’s going outside and taking a walk around the outside of the school just to admire the place we’re in. As well as whenever they have questions or concerns or want to seek advice I could just be that one-on-one contact with them.” Making the foreign students here feel comfortable is something that everybody here should partake in. In the end, making the students feel welcome.

Foreign exchange students can learn from us, but we can learn from them. It lets people here have a better understanding of what life is like outside of here. KRHS provides a positive and comfortable atmosphere to foreign exchange students. Hoping to make them feel welcome and have a good time on their visit.


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