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Foreign exchange students at a local high school share their experience

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – Being away from your home country to be an exchange student can be scary.

Being away from your home country to be an exchange student means living with strangers, making new friends, and becoming a part of a new community.

“They have agencies in different countries that help students that would like to study abroad, and I just visited one of them, and I was just talking to them that I wanted to study in the U.S.,” said foreign exchange student Ji-Yun Park.

Park says before being able to become an exchange student you must fill out an application, and apply for a Visa.

After that, you can choose things such as the classes you want to take, the climate you would like to live in, and the size of the school you would like to be at.

“Academic level, the classes, and the people I was going to be around those were really my priorities, so Sioux City and Heelan happen to meet all those requirements and all the things that I wanted, so I came here,” said Stela Rosa Marra, also a foreign exchange student.

The students say it can be difficult at first, but it does get easier with time.

“My first year was quite hard to be away from my family because I was only 14, 15, and I missed my mom a lot especially, my dad too, but I had trouble with my host family my freshman year. I’m living with a different family since my sophomore year, and that felt like a hard time for me,” said Ji-Yun Park, Foreign Exchange Student.

But even through the hardships, the students say they desire to meet their academic goals is much greater.

“My goal is to go to college in the U.S. so coming here gives me a greater opportunity of matching the curriculum, and the requirements I’ll need for going to college here,” said Marra.

Both Park, and Marra say they are grateful for this once in a lifetime experience.

Heelan currently has a total of 6 foreign exchange students.

School administrators say it’s more than they have had in many years.

Xava Parra

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