all pictures courtesy of Wikipedia
Wheat Ridge High School has a great opportunity to welcome in exchange students from around the world.
These students travel with companies called EF (Education First) and AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study), they do so much around the world, all dealing with schooling and education for students in many different countries. The companies offer trips for all students as well as do the exchange program. The Farmers welcome six exchange students this year; two from Germany, one from Norway, Thailand, Italy, and Sweden each. Most don’t know about the exchange program, so here is what you are missing!
Jessica Dossena is a senior exchange student from Crema, Italy. She loves the environment and the mountains. Dossena also loves how open the school is and how she can always be herself. She said, “In Italy, if you don’t behave in a certain way, everyone makes fun of you. Here, everyone is so open-minded and nobody made fun of my accent.” Her favorite thing about Wheat Ridge is how the teachers are so real with the students and that they want to bond with each one of their kids. Dossena loves going to Starbucks and Taco Bell because they don’t have Taco Bell in Italy, and they have two Starbucks in the whole country; she is going to miss this a lot. She said, “San Francisco in October was so much fun! I really liked seeing the ocean. But all the little things that happen every day and what truly makes me happy about coming here.” Dossena participated in cross country, girls swimming and is currently doing girls tennis for the spring season. She loves everyone she meets and is going to miss everyone.
Elena Fleischer is a junior exchange student from Germany. She came for the second semester of this 2020 school year. She said,, “I love every moment I’m here.” Fleischer likes learning the piano, playing with dogs, and hanging out with her friends. The things she will miss the most is going to Panda Express, having off hours, and the friends she made here. Fleischer came here because America interests her and she always wants to try new things. Her favorite thing about Wheat Ridge is that “everybody is really nice and nobody is judging you for anything.” Fleischer is playing girls tennis this spring season as well. Overall, she thinks everyone is super nice and she really likes it here in Colorado.
Elin Littmann is a senior exchange student from Norway. Littmann loves Panda Express and going up to the mountains to ski with her host family. “The mountains are beautiful, I love being up there, ten out of ten,” she said with enthusiasm. Littmann is also the only exchange student that has a host brother and sister who currently attend Wheat Ridge High School. She loves being involved in the school environment too, like going to games and being able to hang out with so many different people. Something she will miss the most is the view of the mountains and being able to see them every day. Littmann’s favorite thing she did in Colorado was going night skiing and going to hockey games. Littman participated in cross country, girls swim, and dive, and is currently playing girls tennis. She has made bonds that will be unbreakable in her time here, she could never forget Wheat Ridge High School.
Ida Hallgren is a senior at Wheat Ridge and is from Sweden. Hallgren transferred from Arvada High over to Wheat Ridge at the end of October. She says one of her favorite things about the high school scene in America is the “high school spirit, like wow. The football games and basketball games are so much fun. In Sweden, we do not have high school spirit, sports or fun assemblies, so I will miss that.” She loves going skiing up in Steamboat with her host family. Hallgren loves the sight of the mountains and going up there, “The mountains are so beautiful!” She loves the Colorado weather as well, “even if it can go from 80 degrees to 10 degrees in one day,” she says with a laugh. Hallgren participated in cheerleading at Arvada High, did the fall play at Arvada, and is currently playing tennis for Wheat Ridge. She has had so much fun here in the states and will miss every part of it.
Amy Niamsum is a senior from Thailand. She has loved her time here, and she loves all of her friends here: “they are all so nice and friendly to me.” That’s also one of the things she is going to miss is the friends she has made here because of all the fun memories she has made. Niamsum says the best thing she has done in Colorado is going skiing since it was her first time ever. She loves going out to lunch, and anytime she can, she is with friends, going somewhere new or trying something new. She is really appreciative with how generous students are with their licenses because they are willing to take her to lunch or help her experience even more things. “I’m so jealous kids here can drive at 16 because in Thailand we have to be 18,” she said. Niamsum was a cheerleader for Wheat Ridge for both the fall season and the winter season. “Being a cheerleader was my best experience ever,” she says with a big smile on her face. She is also competing in tennis this spring. Niamsum came here for an experience she would never forget, and that she did.
David Pungartnig is a junior from Germany who joined the Farmer family for the second semester of this school year. He has loved every second here, from going skiing to going to lunch with all the friends he has made here. “The best thing I did here was ski at 11,900 feet; it was super cool,” Pungartnig said. “It was really cool to think in another language other than German, even if it was a little more difficult.” The thing he loves most about Wheat Ridge is the atmosphere and how many different kinds of people there are. Pungartnig also loved all the different kinds of food that are here, his favorite being Panda Express. He is currently participating in track and field for this spring season. Pungartnig has loved every second here and has made memories and friends for life.
Overall, the exchange students have loved it here so far. These exchange students leave such an impact on American lives by introducing us to new cultures and new ways of life. If you haven’t gotten a chance to meet them, find them in the halls and get to know what it is like to be in a new school in a new country far away from home.