Exchange students share stories

WARREN – Foreign exchange students say that everything is bigger in the United States and that people have been very friendly to them during their stay with host families in northeast Ohio.

The Altrusa Club of Warren hosted its annual Foreign Exchange Student Night where the nine guests shared their personal experiences of being with their host families in Ohio.

Darryl Anderson, community coordinator of PAX Academic Exchange, said 20 students is the most he has ever had stay in northeast Ohio. High school students ages 16 to 18 from Spain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Thailand, France and Belgium are among those staying.

Anderson said the older teens are more mature and less likely to be homesick. He said the Italian students come to America to do their senior year of high school and are excited about the experience.

“This is my largest group I have ever had,” he said.

Hjalte Froholdt, 15, of Denmark, is a student at Warren G. Harding High School, where he is a sophomore and plays football.

“I like the respect that people show to others saying ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am,'” he said.

Marc Prats, 17, of Spain, said he would like to study journalism or marketing after high school. He attends Brookfield High School, where he runs track and plays basketball.

Julia Jakob, 17, of Germany, attends Lordstown High School and enjoys soccer and tennis.

Nicholas Demichele, 17, of Italy, said “everything is bigger here” referring to malls, grocery stores and food portions. He said in Italy sports are a hobby. He plans to study criminal investigation to be a police detective.

Kristin Ellegard, 17, of Norway, said she plans to study abroad, although she’s not yet done with high school.

Emilio Bordona, 18, of Madrid, Spain, attends Howland High School where he plays soccer. He said in Spain students get out of school at 5:15 p.m. each day. He plans to study economics and business.

“Students in school here have more free time,” he said.

Pinja Pesonen, 17, of Finland, who speaks three languages, said when she first thought of the United States she thought of Hollywood and New York City but found she likes “the real America” in Ohio. She plans to study law.

“I like people. Everyone here is so friendly,” she said.

Chiara Sterle, 17, of Italy, said she dreamed of being an exchange student. She wants to be a translator and study languages. She plays volleyball in Italy

Pau Valdez, 18, of Mexico, said she plans to study languages and enjoys “fake” tacos and pierogies. She attends Brookfield High School.

Anderson said host families have already signed up for 2014.

The Altrusa Club is an international organization with clubs in 13 countries. It was organized in 1917.

The local club has been holding a dinner for foreign exchange students for more than 20 years and has enjoyed bringing together hundreds of students over the years.

For more information on the program and the club, call 330-372-5525.