The international students viewed the dolphin show during their visit to the Indianapolis Zoo, one of several outings they took during their stay. (One student was absent that day.)
By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications
Scecina Memorial High School again played international host when eight students from Germany and two from Luxembourg visited from March 22 through April 8. They were here for a short-stay program, which lasts 2 ½ weeks.
The 10 students enjoyed American mac and cheese and shopping, especially for Levi’s denim, which is much less costly in the United States. Many also said they found Americans, specifically Hoosiers, to be more approachable than what they’re used to in Europe.
“The people are very open and friendly,” said Helena Mai, a 17-year-old from Luxembourg on her first visit to the United States. “I feel like Europeans are very reserved.” One of the reasons Helena chose to visit Indiana was because of the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things,” which is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.
The visit was made possible through Scecina’s International Student Program, headed by John Hegarty, and Scecina's partnership with Foreign Links Around the Globe, known as FLAG.
“Like always, Scecina’s community welcomed this short-term group with open arms and made sure the students had an excellent trip!” said Sara Britt, Scecina’s FLAG coordinator. “Because of the faculty and teachers, the German students were able to participate in classrooms and experience an American high school and because of the wonderful host families they were able to see the city and experience U.S. culture first-hand.
“Quite a few tears were shed at the airport meaning real connections were made despite them only being here for 2 ½ weeks. From my perspective this was another successful program and FLAG look’s forward to Scecina welcoming the next short term group in the fall!”
The students attended school several days at Scecina. The other group day activities sponsored by FLAG included: a walking tour of Indianapolis, a tour of the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library, shopping at Circle Centre mall and the outlet mall at Edinburgh, a tour of Marian University, Indiana Caverns in Corydon, and a going-away party at the Eastside Knights of Columbus. The students also made cultural presentations about their countries to Scecina students. It was an all-American visit, thanks to the Scecina hosts, who welcome the teen-agers into their families and provide a home-away-from-home.
One host, Jan Miller, has no real connection to Scecina, except she has been hosting exchange students.
“I have a deep desire to experience people with a different background than mine,” she said. “Each new exchange student who comes into my home broadens my global experience.”
“Even though the students participated in several activities, the consensus seemed to be that the host families were the best part of the visit," said Britt. "Students were so appreciative and grateful to be welcomed into their homes and their daily lives."
Scecina is hosting 26 international students from China, India, Thailand and Nigeria for the whole school year. Scecina also hosted short-stay students from France, Australia, New Zealand and China this year. Stay tuned for more information if you would like to become a host family for Scecina's International Program, either for the school year or for the short-stay program.