EHS Prepares for Annual Arrival of Exchange Students

Ava Fehrmann, Staff Writer

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International travel can be intimidating.  Add to that anxiety by attending a new school and staying with a new family, all while speaking one’s second language—it can prove to be a challenging task, but it is one that 14 students are up for as they travel 7,000 miles from Beijing, China.

For the past three years, exchange students have traveled from China to learn about American customs and decide if this is where they want to attend college. Here, EHS students are hosting the exchange students in hopes of making their transition as easy as possible.

Host students not only house the exchange students, they also show them around the school and take them to different classes. At EHS, the exchange students can take classes they’re interested in and participate in school events and extracurriculars.

“Students don’t only shadow their host, they also sit in on classes they’re interested in, maybe a psychology class, which is not as possible in China,” said Mr. Paur, who sets up the program and works with the exchange students.

However, outside of school it is the responsibility of the host students to show them what life is like in America and to make sure they feel comfortable during their stay. Senior Lexie Freese has been preparing for her exchange student, Ada, for two weeks.

“We have bought everyday essentials that she’ll need,” Freese said. “And we made her a welcome basket with lotion, a journal and some movies to watch together.”

Freese plans on taking Ada to places around St. Louis, such as the world market, art museum and the zoo. She also wants to take her to school events, like the ping-pong tournament, and allow her to get a taste of student life.

Other host families plan on doing similar activities. Mr. Paur and the host students have planned activities, such as a Super Bowl party, Chinese New Year dinner, visit to Washington University and bowling at SIUE.

“I’ll let them experience what the United States is like,” said junior host Jop Gielingh, “especially by enjoying the people and the culture here.”

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EHS Prepares for Annual Arrival of Exchange Students