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Foreign French Friend Brings Fun to Kansas City

Hosting an exchange student proved an unforgettable experience.

Junior+Liz+Oltjen+and+French+exchange+student+Caroline+Escudero+posed+for+a+picture+at+the+top+of+Skydeck+Chicago+in+Sears+Tower+Oct+27.+
Junior Liz Oltjen and French exchange student Caroline Escudero posed for a picture at the top of Skydeck Chicago in Sears Tower Oct 27.

Junior Liz Oltjen and French exchange student Caroline Escudero posed for a picture at the top of Skydeck Chicago in Sears Tower Oct 27.

Submitted by Liz Oltjen

Submitted by Liz Oltjen

Junior Liz Oltjen and French exchange student Caroline Escudero posed for a picture at the top of Skydeck Chicago in Sears Tower Oct 27.

Liz Oltjen, Reporter

Proudly waving an American flag as I walked through Kansas City International Airport to meet my French exchange student, I can’t say I was fully comfortable with the idea of hosting a stranger in my home. Sure, my mom and I had been planning all the things Caroline and I would do together for months; we had a set schedule nailed down to a tee. However, it wasn’t until seeing Caroline walk through the gate beside all the other Frenchies that I realized she would be the biggest part of my life for the next three weeks.

After a long drive home from KCI, the first thing I’d show Caroline would be her room. My mom transformed my college brother’s camping-themed man cave into a girl’s dream room with fluffy pink pillows, hanging lights and a polka dot comforter. Of course, we had an American flag sitting on the desk. Caroline loved every part of it.

Hosting Caroline was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

The first weekend Caroline and I spent together was my favorite. Before coming to Kansas City, Caroline mailed me a letter sharing her interests; she loved amusement parks. I got a group of friends together, and we went to the Worlds of Fun Halloween Haunt. From riding the Patriot twice, to the Mamba three times in a row, Caroline and I had a blast.

The next day, my parents and I took Caroline to a Kansas State football game. We spent the day driving around the Little Apple and shopping at different K-State merchandise stores. Once Caroline and I bought our K-State shirts and stuffed ourselves at a delicious taco restaurant, we were ready to cheer on the Wildcats.

Following the weekend, Caroline and I went to school for a few days before leaving on our trip to Chicago. Upon arrival, we ate delicious deep dish pizza and did plenty of shopping. We maxed out our time by going on a boat tour, getting a view from the top of the Skydeck and John Hancock tower, taking pictures at Millennium Park and eating endless delicious food. Chicago was Caroline’s favorite weekend in the states.

My last couple days with Caroline was spent eating Jack Stack barbeque and making s’mores at a bonfire with friends. We watched “Bridesmaids,” and laughed for hours. Caroline and I still make jokes with each other using lines from the movie.

While we didn’t want to acknowledge it, our goodbye came faster than either of us ever expected. On the way to the airport, we stopped at Donutology – one last classic American experience before she left. Next thing we knew, were standing at the gate. We both walked away with one last “au revoir” for now, until I visit her in Paris this July.

Hosting Caroline was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I learned about her culture, and she learned about mine. While exposing Caroline to the typical life of an American high school girl was a lot of work, it proved to be an unforgettable experience. I would easily choose to do it all over again.

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The online newspaper of Notre Dame de Sion