Barrett Bentzinger

Photo of exchange students.

Escaping the Bubble

Clayton students and parents share their thoughts on the Exchange Student Program.

December 8, 2017


  • Berlin, Germany


Q: How did you end up in Clayton?

A: “So my host family and me have a very special relationship because my host father went to Germany in 1984, whereas my father has been to the U.S, so we have kept the contact. So I met [Angela Pompian’s parents] in Pennsylvania, that’s where we go for christmas, so they hosted my father in 1984, so we kept the contact, and they offered for me to come, and we are kind of friends, so that’s why I came to Clayton.”

Q: What has been the most difficult aspect of being an exchange student?

A: “To adapt a new life, to get along with your family, to manage and tackle all tasks independently, I mean, you don’t have your parents with you, so you have to see how you get along with everything. So I think this is what makes you develop this independence.”



  • Hamburg, Germany


Q: What have been the benefits of being an exchange student?

A: “Improving my english skills. Also to meet so many different people, trying to get a feel of the culture here, how things work, learn more about the country. I have a U.S/World History class, so I learn about how things work here in the government. It’s kind of like culture, people, school.”

Q: What advice would you give to CHS students looking to study abroad?

A: “I would definitely suggest that they do it. It’s such a great thing to meet new people and have a second family. You really start loving them. My host family is part of my life now. I can’t imagine my life without Julia, my host sister, because I feel she is my sister. Also, just getting to know another country and another culture. It’s such a great thing. I mean, being international, you gain a lot of experience, you improve your language skills. I would do it again.”



  • Host mother to Loris Halama


Why has there been a lack of CHS students that participate in an exchange?

“The Department of State (Foreign Relations Department in the government) is much more strict about how exchange programs take place — there are a lot more restrictions. I think it has to do with 9/11 and all those changes with visas. So, if you’re an exchange student, you have to be on a certain kind of accredited program.”

What would you suggest for making the program better?

“So what I was saying in this Strategic Visioning session was that we should do more of these two-week things, because two weeks is easy for a kid to take off school and to then have their own partner stay in their house for two weeks, and it’s more direct that way.”



  • Studied abroad in Denmark, host of Pauli Tapia Hernandez and Erik James Aslaksen


Q: What compelled you to study abroad?

A: “I think it was hosting Pauli from Chile, because she talked a lot about how fun it was, and I think the idea of meeting new people from other countries really intrigued me because I was adopted from the Philippines when I was ten months old. Hosting would probably be the reason I went abroad.”

Q: What advice would you give to CHS students looking to study abroad?

A: “Don’t be afraid to leave CHS and escape the Clayton bubble, they will be there when you get back. Nothing will change. It will feel like nothing really changed besides you. And in a good way. And then you are prepared for college, you will have friends… like everywhere.”





About the Contributors
Photo of Sara Stemmler
Sara Stemmler, Feature Section Editor

Sara Stemmler is a eleventh grader participating in her third year on the Globe staff and is the Feature Section Editor. Sara is currently a member of the CHS Tennis Team and Track...

Photo of Barrett Bentzinger
Barrett Bentzinger, Photographer

Barrett Bentzinger is a current senior at CHS. This is her first year being a photojournalist and she was perviously a reporter for the Globe. Barrett joined the staff due to her...

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