Foreign Exchange Students at Woodgrove

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Foreign Exchange Students at Woodgrove

Written by Erin Kaplan, Special Contributor to the Woodgrove Outlander

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Five foreign exchange students from all over the world are attending Woodgrove High School for the 2015-2016 school year. Tasawar Drupak from Bangladesh, Wilma Ohlsson from Sweden, Lucie Plaumann from Germany, Mohammad Bani Issa from Jordan, and Blanca Alaejos Pardo from Spain, have chosen to attend Woodgrove High School for the year.

Many benefits come from participating in a foreign exchange program including educational, personal, communication skills, and life–long friends. Studying abroad allows students to form lifelong ties and enduring networks. The program is not only for the international experience; however, it is also for learning purposes. The host family gains most of these benefits as well, as they are engaging with someone from another country for one year.

Woodgrove Principal Sam Shipp feels that exchange programs are an important part of a thorough education. He said, “The sharing of ideas through student foreign exchanges is something that makes all of us more culturally aware, competent, and understanding.”

Participating in an exchange program, whether it’s hosting or studying abroad, allows one to think globally and be understanding of those outside their home country. Becoming global is important, especially as our society is becoming more advanced in technology and most work crosses international borders. Being ‘global’ also leads to increased world peace which leads to a safer world. Individuals who study abroad gain confidence, which then helps improve their communication skills.

German Teacher Effie Hall describes foreign exchange programs as “life changing.” She said, “I think it’s a wonderful experience. The key is to make sure that the family who is accepting the exchange student is willing to offer a real experience for the student and show them what living here is like. “

In regards to the exchange program, Guidance counselor Donna Kelly says, “I believe it’s a wonderful experience for the students and for Woodgrove! I especially like having students who not only work hard for the year, but want to get involved in activities.” The students who participate in activities get the inside scoop on America, and leave with knowledge on the American culture, allowing them to have a better understanding of those outside their home country.

“My English has gotten a lot better since I’m here. I also feel more self confident and independent,” said Foreign exchange student Lucie Plaumann. “I also plan to move to London after my high school graduation, so I figured it would be helpful to speak English. And I really wanted to know if the high schools in America are like they are in all the movies. (She says they are).” It is proven that those who study abroad are more likely to purse projects in other countries because they have strong communication skills.

A huge aspect of participating in this program is the relationship you develop with your host family. Sophomore Susan Cahan says,” My favorite part of hosting Lucie are how close we’ve become, almost like sisters. We hang out a lot, and I’m even visiting her in Germany this summer.”

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