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Exchange Student Joins Hime and a Home

Eva+Heijsteeg+is+discovering+what+America+has+to+offer+by+bonding+with+her+host+family.+
Eva Heijsteeg is discovering what America has to offer by bonding with her host family.

Eva Heijsteeg is discovering what America has to offer by bonding with her host family.

Eva Heijsteeg is discovering what America has to offer by bonding with her host family.

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While most high school students were preparing to go back to school last summer, junior Eva Heijsteeg decided to travel to the United States from the Netherlands and begin a new adventure.

“A friend of mine told me she went to do this. So, I searched it up and signed up for the classes,” Heijsteeg said.

Students from foreign countries are offered the opportunity to travel and attend school in the United States. Each student is assigned to a host family that will care for them during their stay.

“The host family pick[s] the student that they want and when they did that and everything is like done and finished and they’re sure about that you can come and those kind of things. They called me and said, ‘yeah you have a host family and they live here and they have a daughter and a cat and that kind of thing,’” Heijsteeg said.

Each host family is presented with a list of programs offered when choosing their foreign exchange student. Jeana Herrera, a Spanish teacher at Independence High School and Heijsteeg’s host mom, chose the Ayusa program.

“The program itself has really good reviews. It’s worldly, it’s known world wide. That the people that work in the program, that I have met have been there for years and have lots of experience. It’s people that know what they’re doing. That have given me advice and makes you feel confident that you made a good decision,” Mrs Herrera said.

“I didn’t have to choose the place, the family, and the school. So pretty much, the program chose for me. I didn’t know I was coming to Independence until a Friday night. They called me and said I needed to get here Monday morning. It was kind of fast,” Heijsteeg said.

Since then, Heijsteeg has been staying in the Herrera’s home and adapting to her new environment.

“It’s really fun and you learn about a new country, it’s a new language and that kind of stuff,” Heijsteeg said.

Not only does this experience help Heijsteeg, but it also benefits Mrs Herrera and her family.

“The person it benefits the most is really my daughter. So, that is the main reason that we have Eva. It is because she’s an older sister and she really does have the two little brothers experience. My daughter is very energetic and Eva is a person that’s mature and calm. So, she teaches my daughter those skills. I think that’s important, that kind of balance,” said Herrera.

As Heijsteeg connects with her host family, she hopes to continue her journey in America.

“I think I want to go somewhere else, like when I’m older, I’ll travel around the United States,” said Heijsteeg.

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Exchange Student Joins Hime and a Home