Eight exchange students at Heights High

Heights High AFS exchange students: (front row, L-R) Joy (Germany), Adrienne Yelsky, AFS advisor, Cris (Argentina), Melinda (the Netherlands); (back row, L-R) Siyael (Tanzania), Yuco (Turkey), Martin (Chile), Aita (Senegal). Not pictured is Leo (Brazil).

Under the auspices of the AFS student exchange program, Heights High welcomed eight foreign students. Meet these students (last names omitted in accordance with AFS policy):

Siyael from Tanzania, hosted by the Bailey family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: The friendly, helpful teachers, especially in science. AFS club is really fun. In Tanzania I attend a boarding school, so this is very different.
Next year: Study for the Tanzanian National Exam to qualify for college entrance.
Comment: I love learning about the African-American culture. I have learned that American life is not the same as what we see on TV and in movies.

Aita from Senegal, hosted by the Bailey family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: The teachers, the diversity, and the classes are only 50 minutes—not two hours like in my boarding school. The AFS advisor rocks!
Next year: Finish high school, then attend college.
Comment: In the United States, I see boys washing dishes and cooking. In Senegal, only women do that. In my country, I wash clothes by hand. I am very grateful for the opportunity to study here and also to meet people from all over the world.

Melinda from the Netherlands, hosted by the Hawthorne-Sollisch family.
Favorite thing abut Heights High: Playing sports as a school activity, the variety of classes offered, and the AFS advisor.
Next year: Attend police academy.
Comment: Americans are very open to new things and are easygoing. And, they go everywhere by car. At home I ride my bike everywhere; I miss that freedom.

Joy from Germany, hosted by the Ethridge and Humphries families.
Favorite thing about Heights High: The school spirit and all the activities and events. Students are open and interested to learn about different countries. I love the AFS club, the advisor, and meeting people from so many countries.
Next year: Finish high school, take a gap year and then study pharmacy or engineering.
Comment: I like that Americans are easygoing, spontaneous and so friendly. They say "hi" even if they don’t know you. I have learned that Americans take their car everywhere.

Leo from Brazil, hosted by the Wise-Bailey-Rubicz family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: The school’s commitment to athletic teams, and meeting new people.
Next year: Finish high school, then attend college.
Comment: Each season of the year is lived differently here, and I have learned that Americans are not lazy, as I thought before I arrived. I miss the warm weather and beaches in Brazil, but I love to travel and learn about the United States.

Martin from Chile, hosted by the Kauffman-Wisniewski family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: That we get to change classes and have a locker. In Chile, the students stay in the classroom and the teacher moves around.
Comment: People here volunteer to help the community and everyone seems to know everyone else, like a big family. Adults here trust teenagers more. This has been the best year of my life!

Cris from Argentina, hosted by the Yelsky family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: Playing tennis on the team, and double bass in the symphony and jazz band; the friendly teachers who are so willing to help me. The AFS club is the greatest. I have made some great friends here.
Next year: Attend college and study industrial engineering.
Comment: The schedule and whole school is so well organized. I did not know that it was so hard to get into college here and that good athletes can get scholarships for college.

Yuco from Turkey, hosted by the Henderson-Lammers family.
Favorite thing about Heights High: Athletic opportunities as part of the school, meeting new and interesting people, the interactive media class and learning how to shoot, edit and produce videos.
Next year: Attend college to study electric and communication engineering.
Comment: Most Americans are not familiar with world geography, they are not sure where Turkey is located. People here are very friendly and are interested in other people.

AFS is a nonprofit international exchange organization for students and adults. The local chapter is run by volunteers, and has been active at Heights High for more than 52 years. Heights High teacher Adrienne Yelsky is the school's AFS advisor.

Heights High students also go abroad for exchanges. Janine Walker, a junior, is on an exchange in Thailand.

Applications for new host families are now being accepted for AFS students arriving this August. For information on hosting a student or volunteering, contact Adrienne Yelsky, a_yelsky@chuh.org or 216-371-3733; Carla Bailey, seabail@aol.com; or visit www.afsusa.org.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison at Heights High.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 11:45 AM, 03.27.2012