Dreams really do come true!
This is exactly how Valeria Nemteanu and Aizada Kaiymova both feel. Aizada and Valeria are foreign exchange students at Arapahoe Public School for the 2018-19 school year. Both girls are in the senior class at Arapahoe High School.
Ever since Valeria and Aizada were little girls they both dreamed of being an exchange student and traveling to America. Both girls are apart of FLEX — Future Leaders Exchange even though they hail from different countries.
Valeria comes from Moldova, located between the Ukraine and Russia. She lives with her parents and grandmother while her older brother studies at the university. Aizada, from Kyrgyzstan in central Asia, is the youngest of six girls and also has twin brothers that live at home with her and her parents.
Valeria and Aizada are very excited to be in Arapahoe and to be involved in the community. As an exchange student they are required to have 50 volunteer hours. Valeria said she looks forward to helping at the library or perhaps the nursing home. Extracurricular activities such as vocal music, band, speech, art and sports are something Valeria and Aizada both look forward to participating in. Aizada was already a valuable part of the volleyball team this year.
Both girls agreed that one of the biggest differences they’ve experienced while at AHS is the length of the school day. Aizada commented that her typical day at home is done around 2:00 pm and then she may take some extra lessons after going home, but here she doesn’t get home until after 6:00 pm because of sports practice. She has also really enjoyed trying all the different foods that we have available and the different techniques that are used.
Both girls agreed that in America portion sizes are really big compared to their countries and a lot more food is wasted. In America our meals tend to be “easy” compared to the slower way of cooking and preparing meals that they are accustomed to.
Valeria and Aizada both love their American families. Dan and Kate Warner are Valeria’s host family. And she has loved having four younger “siblings” and getting to play with Kallan and Creyton and do things with the girls like wash dishes. “I love them very much and know that I can trust them and they will always be there for me and try to help me with my problems just like a teenager in America.”
Celebrating Halloween was a fun first experience for Aizada, especially with her “siblings” Kade and Eve. Aizada’s host parents are Anthony and Karme Fisher. Living on the farm has been a big adjustment, but she is excited to try something new and different. Being able to play sports and spend time with her younger “siblings” is something she really enjoys.
“Everyone here is so nice and they are helpful and smile at you. I like it. That is not like at home where no one smiles or looks at you. No one says ‘hi’ to someone they don’t know,” commented Valeria. “But it still has been hard to make friends.” “This experience has taken the pink glasses from my eyes and helped me to understand that to be different is normal too.”
Both Valeria and Aizada will leave sometime in either late May or early June to travel back to their home countries.