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West Campus Foreign Exchange Students Love Muhlenberg 

Megan Chaney and the West Campus Foreign Exchange Students

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (9/26/2014) – KenCo News was extremely honored to meet up with Mrs. Megan Chaney today, who serves alongside her husband, Dr. Brian Chaney, as local International Exchange Coordinators for EF High School Exchange Year.

Mrs. Chaney made it possible for reporters to also speak with four Muhlenberg West Campus Foreign Exchange Students on several topics, including how their presence in Kentucky has impacted their lives.

Reporters spoke with Anthon Thorup of Denmark, Alberto Gualdi of Italy, Helene Bjordam Lauritzen of Norway and Aaron Bircher of Germany.

The program itself allows students from foreign countries, by choice, to come and attend a local school in the United States. According to Mrs. Chaney, there are several steps for the students, as well as the parents, in attaining this goal. Each of the four students that attend the West Campus stated that it was their own personal ideas to come here, and not ideas of their parents, though the parents did inevitably agree to let them come. Over 2500 Foreign Exchange Students visit the United States every year. This is made possible by the Coordinators and local families that host these students during their stay. Kentucky alone hosts around 120 students per year, with Muhlenberg County having an average of 2-4 students annually.

Anthon Thorup, the student from Denmark, stated, “I just wanted to visit a new country, meet new people and learn about the U.S.” Anthon also stated that this has been a true adventure for him and that he very much enjoys it.

Of the many aspects that KenCo News learned about these students, one of the most impressive was their love of Muhlenberg County and Kentucky in general. All four students readily and ecstatically agreed that their favorite aspect of Muhlenberg County was that of the citizens. Students stated that the people in Muhlenberg, and Kentucky in general, were very polite.

“People are really friendly,” the students said, “always asking how you are doing, how you feel. Here, people are really nice and polite. It’s not like that back home. We feel like they want us here.”

Another aspect of Muhlenberg that the students were very pleased with is that of the extra-curricular activities, such as sports, band shows, and other activities. Mrs. Chaney stated that in the home countries of these students, these activities were not available at all, making their time here a true adventure.

The true impact of the Foreign Exchange program was seen during the interview when then students all agreed that when they go home, they will stand up for America and inform their own fellow citizens of the niceness of our country if one happens to say something negative regarding the United States.

Mrs. Chaney and her husband have both not only been coordinators for this cause, but have also been hosting a student every year for the past 11 years, this year’s student being Aaron Bircher of Germany.

Other local families hosting Foreign Exchange Students are Ted Tucker and Adam Abney, hosting Anthon from Denmark, Kara and Jon-Michael Perry hosting Alberto of Italy, and Jim and Nancy Propes hosting Helena of Norway.

Mrs. Chaney went on to state that the Foreign Exchange Program is actively seeking more local families to provide temporary homes for students for the next school year. Chaney said that anyone wanting to do this would have to go through a simple process of applying, an interview and a background check. Once this was achieved, Coordinators would check applications of students and match them up with local families.

This program has changed the lives of many Foreign Exchange Students, as well as local families. If you would be interested in taking part in this exciting opportunity, you can check out the details and apply at  www.efexchangeyear.org . KenCo News strongly urges local families to consider this.

On a final note, Mrs. Chaney did also state that the program was also seeking Emergency Families for short-term and last minute situations, for unexpected occurrences that might happen. The application process for this is the same.

For further information, you may also contact Mrs. Chaney at 270-543-8480.

KenCo News has plans to interview the individual families of each student in the near future.  

J.L. Graham
KenCo News