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The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Exchange students find new experiences at LHS

Students enjoy food differences, class size changes, and language abnormalities

Exchange trips are not new to Lawrence High, but exchange and host students alike never fail to gain valuable insight about each other’s cultures. 

This year, 22 students from Costa Rica stayed with various host students and their families. They accompanied their host students to school, listened in on classes, and explored extracurriculars. Despite the fact that most of the exchange students had already graduated from high school, there were many distinct features of Lawrence High, like the size and opportunities offered, that differed from their schools back in Costa Rica.

“[The school] is actually pretty big, there are a lot of people here. I’ve really liked it, and the people here are cool,” exchange student Bryan Parajeles said. 

Parajeles, hosted by sophomore Jack Bauch, has been enjoying getting to know Bauch’s friends. He pointed out, however, that there were some negative implications of the size of the school but that generally it was beneficial. 

“When there are a lot of people, it could be more annoying sometimes to hang out somewhere, but it also has its good moments like you can create more team sports,” he said. “In my case, in my high school, we don’t have a lot of students so we cannot create and join sports and art as easily as you guys do.” 

Freshman Drake Herrin’s exchange student Kendall Oses also noticed differences in the environment of classes. “People take classes seriously, the teachers are doing hard work to teach,” he said.

Outside of school, Oses was hit with an immediate contrast in the living environment. 

“Most of the houses in Costa Rica don’t have second floors or basements or something like that,” he said. “The houses are big here, I’m very comfy actually.” 

During their time spent in Lawrence and around the Kansas City area, each exchange student experienced a wide variety of activities with their host students. 

“We’ve gone to the mall, the Oak Mall in KC, we went to a trampoline park, and tonight we’re going to go cook dinner,” Bauch said of a few of the activities he’s done with Parajeles. 

Not only have the exchange students gained a unique experience in a new school and country, but host students have also learned new aspects about Costa Rican culture. Bauch explains some of the more interesting things he learned from Parajeles, one of which was fun new words in Spanish. 

“‘Hablando paja’ means ‘speaking straw’, it’s like yapping,” he said.

One of the more common exchanges was cuisine. In addition to picking up a few new phrases, Bauch also became exposed to a different food culture. He learned that Parajeles’ family often has rice and beans for breakfast, something that is unusual in America. On the other hand, Parajeles tried out, and enjoyed, a popular American style of cooking: barbecue. 

“I’ve been here more times, because I have more family here, but it is different,” he said. “I really like Kansas, food is very cheap, and [Jack’s] barbecue is amazing.”

Regarding advice for those thinking about hosting exchange students in the future, Bauch provided an insightful element host students should provide to maximize positive experiences for their exchange student. 

“Definitely have a group of friends they can go hang out with to introduce your student to, it makes it a lot more comfortable for them,” he said.

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About the Contributor
Marcus Souders, Reporter
I'm a first-year writer on the journalism staff. When I'm not writing, I enjoy playing violin and viola or playing baseball, and watching football whenever it's on.

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