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Foreign Family

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Many people enjoy traveling. Whether it be to another town, another state, and even another country, traveling is a popular past time. The difference between them all being the amount of time spent there. Many people can’t even imagine not living with their family for more than a week. When being a foreign exchange student, it has to be done for a whole year.

In December of 2014, my family was “blessed” with a German foreign exchange student, Maike. Beforehand,  we had to discuss whether or not we would like to welcome a new person in our house. I, being the oh so welcoming person that I am, was open to the thought of having her. I had seen Maike around the halls a couple of times hobbling around on her broken ankle from the Rush cross country experience, but being a bashful seventh grader, I had never talked to her. I finally talked to her for the first time on December 10. That day she came over to our house, met our entire family, and was given a tour of the place. We knew she fit in pretty much immediately when she didn’t hesitate to shoot sarcastic comments right back at my dad and me.

Maike said, “I was excited to come to the U.S… I wasn’t that nervous because I was ready to better myself and make myself more open to new cultures.”

She was very open. Maike joked with us, yelled at us, and even got mad at us depending on the day. She fit right in with our groove and to this day we don’t hesitate to call her family.
        Aside from our benefits, the foreign exchange program really helped her be more prepared for the position she currently obtains. She is a student/associate combination. She studies in college for international business and works for company at the same time. Maike thinks that her time here really helped prepare her for the future. She said, “I’m more tolerant towards people and different opinions because I experience so many different people here and I had to adapt, especially with the language skills.”

Maike encourages all people to travel and even be an exchange student if that is something they are interested in. “Definitely do it. You will learn the language when you get there. If you really wanna do it will be easier in another country than anywhere else. People will understand you if you speak English everywhere in the world,” she said.

She was motivated to because her two older sisters, Franci and Tanja, both did exchange years. Aside from knowledge of the language, a couple things can help with an exchange year. “You must want to do it, you need to have a want to do new things and meet new people. You have to be accepting and open minded. The most important thing is that you have to make the best of every situation.”

After spending six months in a home, arguing about the real definition of football, and literally “spitting” out every word of German we could, we learned to love Maike. She is still a huge part of our lives and will be forever. We plan on meeting her multiple times in the future to just add onto the amount of countries we’ve been to. Even though Maike lives thousands of miles away, I think our relationship is described by this quote, “Distance is just a test to see how far love can travel.”

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “Foreign Family”

  1. Bodie St.Clair on February 23rd, 2018 1:19 pm

    Nice article Kaleb. It was very kind of you guys to take an exchange student into your house. I liked how you talked about you being nervous to talk to her in the hallway. I’m glad that she fit in with you guys very well. Great job!

    [Reply]

  2. Mason Young on February 23rd, 2018 1:59 pm

    Great article, Kaleb! It’s really cool how even though Maike doesn’t live with you anymore you still consider her apart of your family! I really enjoyed how you said your family is going to travel with her to several different countries! Great job!

    [Reply]

  3. Zach Fields on February 23rd, 2018 2:25 pm

    Great article Kaleb! I like how you described yourself as being “blessed” by Maike. I think it would be cool to have a foreign exchange student living with you. This article was well written.

    [Reply]

  4. Gabe Eurit on February 25th, 2018 6:08 pm

    Awesome article Kaleb! I found this to be very interesting. It is cool that your family was able to add a new member to your family. It is also cool that she gets to open herself up to new things in America. You guys have had an influence on her life that she will never forget.

    [Reply]

  5. Dixon M Collins on February 26th, 2018 11:28 am

    It sounds like you as well as your family enjoyed having the opportunity to exchange Maike. Not everyone has the chance to spend nearly a half of a year around someone from a different country. Great article!

    [Reply]

  6. Lanie Miller on August 9th, 2018 8:50 am

    Awesome article, Kaleb! It’s so cool that you guys keep in touch and still to this day call each other family. Those are the kind of people that you want to hang on to and I think it’s amazing that you guys all found that in each other!

    [Reply]

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Foreign Family