New Territory

Nixa welcomes foreign exchange students from around the globe


Junior Lotta Meseck from Germany (left) poses with her friends Senior Payton LaRue and Zoe McQuerter for a spooky night at Hotel of Terror.

Friday night football games, homecoming and prom are typical experiences for the average American high school student. But those events are all foreign for some students. Nixa welcomed a handful of foreign exchange students this year from all over the world.

Senior Emilie Bossard is from France and has chosen to complete a foreign exchange year at Nixa High School. Bossard has had to adjust in many different ways.
“Food is one of the most different things that I have experienced so far,” Bossard said. “The way you eat super early and very quickly is very different than in France. In France we usually eat around eight or nine o’clock. My lunch starts around noon and ends at 2 p.m.”
The whole American public high school setting looks different to everyone. Junior Lotta Meseck is from Germany and had some misconstrued expectations about high school.
“I heard that the school is easy and to me it isn’t easy,” Meseck said. “It’s not hard but it is definitely a lot. Because the days are longer here than in Germany I thought that there would be not so much homework, but we have more homework.”
There are many different reasons why a student might want to study abroad. Bossard was influenced by one of her family members.
“My mom was a foreign exchange student and she would tell me all the stories about her in America with her host family,” Bossard said. “She is still in contact with her host family and she has visited them a couple of times. She never pushed me to do it, but I began watching American movies and my friend’s older sister was also a foreign exchange student. I’ve wanted to do this for as long as I can remember.”

Meseck said she is enthusiastic about the upcoming holiday season.

“I’m super excited for the winter and Halloween season,” Meseck said. “Halloween isn’t such a big thing in Europe or Germany and I think it’s a pretty big thing here. My host family really wants me to go to a haunted house, so I’m excited about that.”
Bossard was unfamiliar with some of the standard safety precautions that are practiced often in the high school.
“One thing that I wasn’t expecting here in America was tornadoes,” Bossard said. “I heard there were tornados, but I didn’t go further than that in my thinking process. I didn’t think about tornado safe rooms or drills”
There is a lot of planning and coordination that goes into the foreign exchange student process. Guidance Counselor Scott Robinson works the closest with foreign exchange students.
“I’m the Foreign Exchange coordinator for the high school,” Robinson said. “I typically collect all the applications, which we begin accepting in December of the prior year. We have a committee that meets right before Spring Break and we go through the applications and we pick what we believe are the best students.”
Being this far away from family can be hard and melancholy. In rare scenarios, it’s necessary for a foreign exchange student to return home before the end of the school year.
“Last year we had a student leave at semester break,” Robinson said. “He left just because of loneliness. He had not been away from his family for this long this far away and he just got homesick. There have also been instances where students will have to leave early because of deaths in their family or something similar.”