5000 Miles from Home: Living in Pocatello

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Updated: 11/25/2013 2:06 pm
From the mountains to the valleys to the wildlife, Pocatello was recently voted as one of the best places to retire in the US. It’s also become a new home for foreign exchange students.

Teresa Mortensen, International Exchange Coordinator for the EF Foundation explained that, “We go through all the student applications and match them up to the families here so they can have a good beginning.”

Locals already know all the great reasons to live in Idaho, but what is it like to journey at seventeen from Italy to Pocatello?

Elena Gutierrez, and exchange student from Italy is enjoying her stay in the USA. She said that. “From the first day at school everyone was asking me oh, so you’re an exchange student? That’s so cool and everyone has been really nice.”

One thing that has helped Elena feel at home in the United States is living with a host family that has an Italian speaker.

“We speak this weird mix of Italian and English, which is really fun,” Gutierrez said.

For Elena, being part of this program has meant being part of a family, and having the siblings she always wanted.

“I’m an only child and here I have two siblings and that is a thing that I love because I’ve always wanted a little brother or a sister,” Gutierrez noted.

Finally with temperatures dropping, Elena is excited to learn about winter recreation in East Idaho.

She said that, “I’m excited to go skiing and try snowboarding or sledding; it’s not something I would get to do where I come from, so I’m excited about that.”

To learn more about opportunities to host foreign exchange students or just to find out more about the program, log on to www.effoundation.org.

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