An Experience to Cross Oceans For

An introduction into the minds of the PLHS foreign exchange students.

Catherine Boatwright, Feature Editor

A person builds their life for 17 years. They leave this life for 10 months and build it in another country. Only to leave it forever after those 10 months are up. This experience may seem doleful, but the student exchange program can be considered exciting and informative.

Every year at PLHS there are four families that graciously host four foreign exchange students. This year there is a student from Spain, two students from Denmark, and a student from Sweden.

One student, senior Daniel Windlund, has been attempting to adapt from his home in Sweden. Thus far, he is trying to balance adjusting to not only a new country/state/city, but a new culture as well.

“Nebraska is much different than home,” Windlund said. “I like Papillion a lot. It is a very good school even though it is much bigger than my school back home.”

Windlund is experiencing all the aspects PLHS has to offer: playing on the varsity football team and attending his favorite class – American History.

PLHS can be a difficult transition from other schools around the world, but the foreign exchange students seem to be doing okay.

“[Senior Pablo Arenas] has adapted very well to me, my wife, and my kids,” host parent Mr. Joe Pilakowski said. “It has been an amazing experience to have someone from another country be a part of my family.”

However, the adaptation is still in progress for the young Spaniard.

“Pablo is used to waking up late,” Pilakowski said. “Then he usually eats lunch at three and dinner at 11. This is not a huge issue because he is learning to adjust, but it is taking some time.”

Even though it may be difficult acclimating to a new country, it is a “great way to experience a new culture and practice English.”

The foreign exchange program in which a student studies for a period of time, usually 10 months, in a foreign country. This exchange is not a year in their life, but a new life in a year that can make an immense impact.