Student body welcomes foreign exchange students


Lea Mercedes

Jenna Williams drinks a strawberry lemonade while at Olive Garden.

Avery Reid and Zak Hicks

German foreign exchange students have come to Altoona where they stay with their hosts and attend school.  This experience is a new thing for both the host and the exchange student. Both have to adapt and learn how to communicate with each other.  Exchange student Lea Mercedes is hosted by Brooke Long. Jenna Williams is hosting Evelyn Janetzky. They arrived April 2 and leave are April 30.

The exchange students have to be prepared to come to another country.

“We all learn English at a young age, so I was prepared with translating and speaking English,” Mercedes said.

The hosts have to change their daily routine and also to living with a new person.

“I have had to get up a lot earlier for school and also figure out my after school plans a lot earlier.  It has been different because I’m not used to having someone my age living with me and coming with me everywhere,” exchange student host Brooke Long said.

German schooling is different than American.

“In my country we take a lot of breaks during the school day. Lunch for us is an hour, and after every two subjects we get 20 minutes. In America the school day is long,” Mercedes said.

These new students have become acquainted with the students and staff.

“Everyone is treating me very nice; the students and teachers are all very friendly,” Mercedes said.

“There have been no problems at all.  Everything has gone smoothly and nicely while she has been here,” Long said.

The students had to leave their homes, families and country.

“I do miss my friends and family, and I miss being able to hang out with them any day. Even so, I am not ready to go home; I enjoy it here a lot.  I love everyone here,” Mercedes said.

Not a lot of students could do a foreign exchange program.

“I would feel scared because everything I know and I’m used to would have to be pushed aside for a little bit,” Long said.

While visiting, the students have gotten a preview of America.

“We traveled to Washington D.C. and have eaten lots of ice cream,” Mercedes said.

The host gets the opportunity to be the exchange student’s guide during their visit.

“This whole experience has been great.  It has all been very fun,” Long said.

The foreign exchange student is given the opportunity to visit another country, and get to understand more about it.

“I love it here,” Mercedes said.