Twelve students from San Jose, Costa Rica, stayed with students from Bettendorf High School. They arrived on Nov. 30 and left a few days ago on Dec. 11. While the exchange students were here, they lived their lives like typical American teenagers.
“I would recommend hosting an exchange student because it was really fun meeting new people that you wouldn’t ever have the chance to meet otherwise. Plus they’re all very grateful to have the opportunity to visit America,” Elaina Skeen said.
Skeen, senior, and her exchange student, Fio Murillo Castillo, went sledding, shopping, bowling, ice skating, and made gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies.
“My favorite part when I was in Costa Rica was swimming in the waterfall. Fio’s favorite part while in America was seeing snow for the first time,” Skeen said.
Hannah Hichborn, senior, enjoyed shopping at Forever 21 with her exchange student, Valeria Castro.
“While Valeria was here, we cut down a Christmas tree and decorated it, went sledding, shopping, to Iowa City, to Osaka, and to church,” Hichborn said.
Hichborn has had three exchange students and loves hosting students because she likes to show them the American culture.
Madi Hornbuckle, senior, also hosted an exchange student.
“We did a ton of group activities with the other Costa Ricans, and we all got so close throughout the time. Every day we did something from the time the bell rang to late at night because we didn’t have much time with them,” Hornbuckle said.
While in Costa Rica over the summer, Hornbuckle enjoyed seeing the different aspects of the country. Hornbuckle’s exchange student, Katherine, loved seeing the snow.
“Having an exchange student is something I would recommend for anyone. I have had an exchange student from Spain and now one from Costa Rica. In my opinion, it opens up so many new opportunities and make you a more worldly person,” Hornbuckle said.