Three years ago, Mr. Richards an American History teacher hosted numerous exchange students in his room for lunch instead of the cafeteria. When the end of the year came about, he asked the students, “What would have made this year better?” They said, a place at the beginning of the year would have made the school feel smaller and “ease the feeling of culture shock.”
The current president of the club is senior Sabra Satz-Kojis and the co-president is junior Catie Coveyou. “All exchange students are really nice,” says the Coveyou. According to Coveyou, the environment of the club is relaxed and open to anyone wanting to join.
The members of the club decide the out of school activities. According to Richards, they meet about once a month over the weekend. Gatherings last year included a tour of Ann Arbor, whirly ball, and a farewell barbeque. Every year the club has a stand during the multicultural food fair with foods from the various cultures represented in the club.
Diversity is a characteristic Pioneer possesses greatly, and Richards wanted another way for students to grasp its importance. Foreign exchange students can have a positive and lasting impact on students according to Richards. A key goal of the club was for students to gain incite on cultures outside Ann Arbor and over seas. A hope for Richards is to create relationships that carry on after students return to their native countries. He would love to hear of Pioneer students traveling to visit exchange students.
Marco Engel is a current student from Frankfurt, Germany. “America is awesome,” said Engel. He is most exited to get the American experience, “the sports and everything.” Like other exchange students, this is not Engel’s first visit to the United States. Pioneer is bigger than the high school he would normally attend back home, “No pool or as many sports,” says Engel.
Richards wants kids to know the club is open to anyone. Whether they are from Ann Arbor, other states, students who have moved from other countries, along with exchange students. “My hope is that this year we will do more activities outside of school,” says Richards.
Hearing about culture, and experience of getting to know new friends are what Coveyou enjoys most about meeting foreign exchange students. “They give people incite on what it’s like to move with a new start,” says Coveyou. She enjoys hearing about their challenges and how they were overcome.
If the Foreign Exchange Club sounds enticing, stop by Mr. Richards’ room C215 every Wednesday club lunch.