Written by Carrie Martin, Academic Year
While this pandemic has been difficult for each of us personally, it is a global crisis that has greatly impacted exchange students from around the world. Imagine experiencing a global pandemic in another country away from your family and friends? Luckily, we have amazing host families that kept them safe and took care of them as their own children.
This school year I was blessed to oversee 17 international high school students, each of whom has become near and dear to my heart. While some had their stay cut short, others remain here and all of them deserve to be celebrated!
It was so fun to witness Nico’s transformation while he was here from shy and reserved to outgoing and funny! I really enjoyed getting to meet this amazing young man!
Meet Nico from France
Lodi High School
Hosted by the Uhrich family
-What has been the highlight of your time here?
A lot of things were crazy and unbelievable during my time in America. If I had to choose some, I would say the Los Angeles trip, the soccer season and obviously going to Hawaii with my host family!
-What is your favorite part of American culture?
Weirdly people in California were way better than I thought. Everybody’s friendly, everybody smiles and everybody’s nice.
-What was the best part of school in the US?
I’ve never had teachers as nice and funny as I had this year. My classes were all very interesting and I made friends in every single one. School ends at 2:10 pm, which is the perfect time to practice after school everyday. The school I was in did a lot of events, and that was so fun ! The sports events were full and that’s where we can see the culture differences.
-Tell me about your host family…what impact have they had on your life? What do they mean to you?
My host family is the best thing that happened to me. I don’t even have words to say thank you. They impacted me a lot and about a lot of things. That’s kind of hard to explain but I grew up because of them. They made me visit amazing places, they were always there for me, they made me laugh, they made me happy, they helped me to make good decisions, they offered me too many gifts. I could never meet people like them. I’m probably not the best exchange student, but I’m the luckiest for sure!
-How has this experience changed your life? How have you changed? What have you learned?
I’m not the same man. This experience has definitely changed my life forever. I would never have thought I could have changed as much as I have. I personally grew up, I don’t think the same way, I act differently, I feel happier now. And I will never forget the people I met and who taught me a lot of things, my host family, my friends, that girl, the other exchange students, my host family’s family, my teachers and coordinators or even just people I met once.
-Why is it important for families to host?
Honestly, hosting someone isn’t easy. I have already hosted and I have already been hosted so I know what it is. Hosting is very fun and good because you teach a lot to your exchange student. He or she gets to experience his or her year with you, so if there’s one thing your exchange student will remember forever, that’s his or her host family, the moments spent with it, all the good times.
-How have you been impacted by the pandemic?
I had to go home early. That was literally the worst thing that ever happened in my life. I would never think that something like this could happen. Just writing about it makes me sad, I lost the life I created and was living.
-What are you doing to pass the time while at home?
Weirdly I’m doing chores all day long while I listen to music. And that’s pretty good actually. I do some workout and I study for my driving lessons.
-What is the first thing you want to do once restrictions are lifted?
I’m gonna see my friends, play soccer and get a haircut haha!