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Eureka School Hosts Multiple Exchange Students

December 4, 2012, 5:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Eureka School Hosts Multiple Exchange Students

It isn't unusual to see foreign exchange students in South Dakota schools, but they don’t often make up ten percent of the high school student body.

Foreign exchange students make up nearly a quarter of Eureka’s junior class this year. It wasn't exactly what they were hoping for when they signed on to the foreign exchange program.

"My reaction was kind of, ‘Wow, I'm going to a farm,’" Irmelem Melkild of Norway said.

"I first Googled it on Google maps and I had the wrong Eureka. I googled the Eureka in California, so I was really happy to be in California. But then I found out that I'm in South Dakota," Alex Rastel of Germany said.

But now that they're here, the students say they're happy they were assigned to Eureka.

"I really like it here. I really like my host family, my friends," Carolina Correa of Brazil said.

And the town seems to like them too. The visitors represent four different countries.

Of course, there are perks for kids in Eureka when foreign exchange students come. They learn different perspectives from different countries. A foreign language teacher says he sometimes relies on the students in his class.

But there are perks for the exchange students coming to Eureka as well.

"Well, you know people better; you can know everything better. And you can have more opportunities like people get to know you and you get into sports and activities," Correa said.

And the five students had each other to help adjust to American life together.

"I know lots of people. I made friends. My English is improved and I feel like I have another family here," Giacomo Gentili of Italy said.

So for five students from abroad, small town South Dakota didn't turn out all that bad.

The countries represented are Norway, Germany, Italy and Brazil. Some of them played football, volleyball and now play basketball for Eureka too.

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