Foreign Exchange Luncheon Hosted by NC Administration


This year’s foreign exchange students gather for a group portrait after having lunch with NCHS administrators.

Ari Gallego, Reporter

Early this school year, Natrona County High School’s (NCHS) principals had lunch with foreign exchange students in the Tower Room. The main point of this meeting was to get to know each other and welcome them to the school and Wyoming. 

During this get-together, all students talked about their countries, traditions, day-to-day, school, and other topics they thought would be interesting about their homes. Simultaneously, the principals shared what it’s like living in Casper, Wyoming, and answered any questions the students had about the U.S.

“The most interesting part of the meeting was hearing the exchange students talking and everything they said,” Mr. Downs said.

During the meeting, all principals were curious about why foreign exchange students had chosen to come to Wyoming but, sadly, no one chose Wyoming, Casper, or NCHS. The students come here with a program regulated by the U.S. government which allows them to be in the United States for a school year with a host family and attend a public high school, but they don’t get to decide where. As described by the United States government, “The J-1 Visa offers cultural and educational exchange opportunities in the United States through various programs overseen by the U.S. State Department.”

“I thought it would be a better idea to have lunch because people get less nervous when there’s food around and it’s less awkward than just staring at each other,” stated Mr. Downs. 

When going to a new country it is essential to have references or figures to go to in case something is wrong, this is why having this lunch was probably a wonderful idea. It’s important to receive and introduce the students to the school and its principals. At the same time, it’s also crucial for the principals to know their students. 

“I thought it was really helpful. Now I know who to go to in case I have a problem,” said one of the exchange students, Ella Viola. Mr. Downs added “We wanted to be sure that we could be there to help them and provide resources.”

Mr. Downs concluded by pointing out how he and the other people that attended the meeting are looking forward to having lunch again before Christmas to see how everyone is doing.

Names and countries of the exchange students: 

Praewa Puttisuknirun (Thailand), Marina Sánchez de Lamadrid Llatas (Spain), Emma Medina Sáez (Spain), Ariadna Gener Gallego (Spain) Ella Juel Olsson (Denmark) Katerina Bruhova (Czech Republic) Pamina Andree (Germany) and Alice Birungi (Uganda).