Udenlandske studerende / Devisenschüler / Foreign Exchange Students

The inside look on studying abroad


Lorin Wells

A change of scenery: Eleanor Frumkin Marqvardsen did not expect to go to Washington for school. The foreign exchange program chose the state for her, and she was expecting to go to a place such as Michigan, minnesota or wisconsin as most other U.S. bound students go. “I’m used to living in a city,” She said. “Lake Stevens is a smaller town and there’s not as many people, but I actually really like it.”

Lorin Wells, Opinion editor

Traveling abroad to study in an entirely new way of living. From a new town and school, to a new home and even a new family! The foreign exchange program certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it presents a challenge and an adventure that would be a valuable experience for anyone.

Junior Eleanor Frumkin Marqvardsen traveled 26 hours from Denmark to arrive here in Lake Stevens, inspired by her mother to research the details of foreign exchange.

“I looked into it and did some research,” Marqvardsen said. “I found a lot of vlogs about people that were in foreign exchange and I said ‘I need to try that.’”

She currently lives with her experienced host family, 5 host siblings, including junior Fernando Campuzano from Germany. At home she is missed by her family, but Marqvardsen contacts her friends and family as often as every day despite the nine hour time difference.

Although some things in Lake Stevens are similar to Denmark, such as the weather, there are many new elements to Marqvardsen’s staying here. School in Denmark starts at eight, making for some extremely early hours for Eleanor. Not only that, but most people in her home town bike rather than drive to school. Despite the changes, she has made considerable growth academically and mentally.

“I’ve been here for a bit over a month and I’ve already learned so much,” Marqvardsen said. “You just learn so much, you grow so much as a person because you learn how Americans see the world.”

On a similar note, senior Giovanni Deiana traveled here from Italy with the intention of challenging himself, leaving his family in Italy to study here in Lake Stevens.

“[My family members] are pretty happy because doing an exchange program is not something new in my family.” he said.

Deiana receives advice from his brother and cousin who both have also done the same program, and keeps in contact with his relatives and friends, working around the nine hour time difference. Deiana likes many aspects of being in a foreign country.

“It’s a really fun experience meeting new people and learning the different culture”, said Dieana. However, the complete change of scenery does have it’s downsides. “The school is completely different, the routine, when I wake up, the lunch time and the dinner time.”

Overall, Deiana absolutely recommends the foreign exchange program.

“You have to be really open-minded,” he said. “And be able to challenge yourself.”

Senior Melania Galleani comes from the same region; Milan, Italy, but wanted to try the foreign exchange program for a more specific reason. “I wanted to get better in English,” Galleani said. “Because nowadays English is a quite important language.”

Her parents proposed the idea of foreign exchange and she felt that she couldn’t refuse the opportunity.  

Despite her excitement to be here, there are a few downsides to her situation.

“I’m a senior, but I can’t drive because we have some rules to respect. Everywhere I have to go I have to ask my parents or some friends to get around,” she said. “The insurance doesn’t cover certain things.”

In Italy, having a license might be useless anyhow, considering there are hundreds of schools in Milan alone that each specialize in a specific subject, and most students take the trams and trains rather than cars or school busses to reduce the numberof vehicles on the road.

On another note, the foreign exchange program is not a cheap one.

“It depends on the program that you choose,” Galleani said. “The first one is more cheap and it’s about 12,000 euros (about 14,000 U.S. dollars) and you get to choose just the country you want to go to. And there is another program where you get to choose the city, and that’s like 22,000 euros (about 26,000 U.S. dollars).” Not only that, but other expenses for things such as psychological, medical and language tests, visas, vaccines, and pocket money are not included in the fee.

Still, like Galleani mentioned, she couldn’t say no to the opportunity of traveling to a new place and learning valuable new things.

While all the stories from each student were different, they all answered one question the same. They all recommend the foreign exchange program to the students here at Lake Stevens High School.