Foreign Exchange Students Join EHS

Cassi Reaka, Life Editor

As all EHS students have been adjusting to the new school year, this year’s foreign exchange students have been adjusting to a whole new life. While the idea of moving across the world to immerse oneself in a new culture and meet new people may sound exciting to some, very few people actually do it. 

Senior Nataliia Oliunina is from Ukraine. She decided to participate in an exchange program after her English teacher told her about students who were finalists in the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program, a scholarship program for students to travel to the U.S. “She told me about their ‘perfect American experience,’” Oliunina said.

Sophomores Julie Lebailley from Belgium and Javier Guerra from Spain both wanted to experience a new culture. “I thought it would be a unique opportunity to learn a bit more about the world we live in, and [see] how different everything is once you leave your country and culture and take a look outside your comfort zone,” Guerra said.

All three students agree that the school is “really big,” but with a big school comes a wider variety of classes, sports, and clubs. “It’s the advantage of a big school and provides great opportunity,” Lebailley said. “I took classes that did not exist at my school and [they] are very interesting.”

Guerra’s least favorite thing about EHS is a frustration shared by many students: the hallway traffic. “I wish people would use one of the doors to get out of the stairs into the hallway and another to get in,” Guerra said. “It can get stressful at times.” 

Lebailley and Oliunina are looking forward to going to prom this year. “I’ve always seen it in movies and I want to be able to live it and see what it’s like,” Lebailley said.

“Prom’s really an ‘American experience,’” said Oliunina.

All of the exchange students are excited to meet new people and experience new things this year. Oliunina said, “I started this adventure because I want to tell other people about my country and I want a better future for myself.”