So last week the local newspaper Tri-county news published an article at June 7th, written byJean Doran Matua. So for all the family and friends back home who don’t have Facebook or haven’t seen it yet. The link to the article is at the bottom.
A school year can seem long and painful, or it can go by in a flash. So much depends on your perspective, and on your attitude.
Four of the students who walked through graduation will probably agree that this past year went by pretty quickly. (Except maybe the winter.) Four exchange students from Europe completed a year’s study at Kimball Area High School last week.
Lea Schmidt is from Seeheim-Jugenheim in southeastern Germany. Her host parents are Tracy and Paul Hanan.
Linn Habberstad is from Jönköping, Sweden. Her host parents are Tom and Karla Ehlinger.
Emma Gobes is from Zeist in the middle of the Netherlands. Her host parents are Jo and Rod Olson.
Ruben Overdevest is from Amsterdam, Netherlands. His host dad is Zach Boser, a.k.a. Mr. Boser the science teacher.
All agreed that winter is very cold here. And all four students missed their friends and families from home. They had a few other interesting observations, too.
They love the openness of people here in Minnesota. We’re outgoing and have lots of activities, whether it’s just hanging out, enjoying bonfires, eating out, or going to the movies. Emma noted that people here just do what they want to, like shooting guns. Minnesota people are nice. Ruben also liked that all the sports are through the schools (rather than special clubs not affiliated with schools as is the case in most of Europe).
There are a few things they don’t like: exchange students aren’t allowed to drive, and there’s no public transportation here. You can’t go anywhere without a car, and it’s sometimes uncomfortable always having to ask for a ride from others. Emma also noted that here fast food is cheap, but healthy food is expensive, the opposite of how it should be.
Foreign exchange students at KAHS for the 2016-17 school year were, from left, Lea Schmidt from Germany, Linn Habberstad from Sweden, Emma Gobes and Ruben Overdevest both from the Netherlands. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.
Surprises await all exchange students, no matter how much they prepare for a year abroad. Lea was surprised at how our teachers are so open. Ruben is amazed at how kids younger than he can drive, but he can’t.
Besides the obvious – family and friends – there are a few things they missed during their year here. All four of them missed their bicycles, and the ability to get wherever you want by bicycle. And it’s inevitable that they will miss the food from home, like European chocolate (not waxy like American chocolate), tappas, and Swedish pizza (that was Linn’s contribution, and something we’ll have to investigate further). They noted, though, that Chinese food is better here than at home.
Lea says she loves her host parents (and sibling too), and will miss them. She is here for a few more weeks.
Linn says the Ehlingers became a second family to her, and that her sister Hannah is now also her best friend. She loves the Ehlingers, and also her host grandparents (Ron and Diane Knaus).
Emma wants to thank her host parents for the wonderful year. She hopes to see them one day in the Netherlands.
Ruben really appreciates his host dad, saying that he really felt like a dad to him.
This was Emma’s third graduation from high school! She’s 18 and she’s finally done with high school. Ruben is done as well. Both Lea and Linn will have another two years of high school once they return home.
Being an exchange student can be a scary experience, going to live for a year with a new family in a new country. Thanks to all four host families, this was a great year for these four students. I’ll bet (a Swedish pizza) that their host families were enriched this year too.
I hope you’ll consider hosting an exchange student; it can be for a few weeks up to a full year. Your lives won’t be the same.
The source is: http://kimballarea.com/schoolsx/kimball-schools/64742-kahs-bids-farewell-to-four-exchange-students