September 19, 2003 - Austin Daily Herald: RPCV Harry Stevens brings exchange students from Ukraine

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ukraine: Peace Corps Ukraine : The Peace Corps in the Ukraine: September 19, 2003 - Austin Daily Herald: RPCV Harry Stevens brings exchange students from Ukraine

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 11:51 am: Edit Post

RPCV Harry Stevens brings exchange students from Ukraine

RPCV Harry Stevens brings exchange students from Ukraine

Exchange students settling in to new surroundings

By Cari Quam/Austin Daily Herald

Alex Rossiiskii, right, an exchange student from Ukraine, talks about becoming a fan of American football and the Vikings as Kristine Forgard from Norway and Nina Skyum from Denmark look on during the exchange student reception Thursday evening at the Austin Public Library. Behind them is a list of the countries that the exchange students in attendance were from. The country of Togo, located in West Africa, had the most checks, representing students. Christine V. Johnson

Alex Rossiiskii arrived in Minnesota last month only to find the airport has lost his luggage. When he met his host family, he was visibly upset and only had the clothes he was wearing and a plastic bag tucked under his arm.

"Here, the plastic bag under his arm was for us," Tami Fett of Lyle said, touching the wooden necklace around her neck.

The lone plastic bag contained Ukrainian gifts for his host family. Fortunately, the airport found his luggage soon after he arrived and shipped it to Lyle.

"These kids really go through a lot to come here," Tami Fett said.

Thursday, Rossiiskii was proudly wearing a new Minnesota Vikings shirt during the foreign exchange student reception at the Austin Public Library. He was among about 20 other students from 10 countries attending either area high schools or Riverland Community College.

The students spoke about their experiences in Minnesota. Austin High School has six foreign exchange students and Riverland has more than 60 international students. Some have been here as little as a month, others two years.

The reception was meant to introduce the students to the community and discuss cultural differences and new experiences.

Two sports have become Rossiiskii's new favorites during his month stay in Lyle.

"Now I can say I'm a Vikings fan," Rossiiskii said, pausing while audience members applauded and laughed. "I'm very happy to say last Sunday the Vikings won."

He also has taken up golf at his host father, Randy Fett's, golf course, Holiday Park.

"I want to open a golf course in Ukraine," he said.

Rossiiskii, 15 and a student at Lyle High School, is among eight Ukrainian students visiting the area. Three others attend Austin High School and four Ukrainian students attend Riverland.

Riverland started a partnership with a Ukrainian technical college last year and with the help of Austin resident Harry Stevens, has been able to attract Ukrainian students to the college. Stevens spent two years in Ukraine in the Peace Corps.

He was also instrumental in bringing four exchange students to the area through the FLEX program. Three students are from Ukraine and one is from Russia. Part of the FLEX program requires them to volunteer.

Oksana Herasymchuk of Ukraine took tickets at the Glenn Miller Orchestra concert at the Paramount last month as a part of her volunteerism requirement.

"It was fun," said Herasymchuk, who is staying with Lance and Snow Pogones of Austin. "In Ukraine, we didn't see such orchestra."

Many students from Togo are making their way to Austin to attend Riverland. A student a couple years ago found out about Riverland on the Internet. He told friends and family of his positive experience here and now there are about 20 students from Togo attending Riverland.

Marcel Edoh of Togo has been in Austin two years. A woman at the reception asked him what he thought of the winters.

"The first winter I saw was bad," Edoh said as fellow students laughed with him. "But, you know, you put coats on."

Stevens asked Kristine Forgard, of Norway and a student at Austin High School, if anything unexpected had happened during her stay here.

"Everything was just like I thought it would be but just bigger and better," she said.

Stevens responded, "That's because she's Norwegian. It's Minnesota, right?"

Among the laughter and questions came reminders that getting to know these students will be educational for everyone involved.

"I think we'll learn much more from them then they'll learn from us when it's all said and done," said Amy Wangen, Riverland public relations director and host mother for two students.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at

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Story Source: Austin Daily Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ukraine; Exchange Students



By Anonymous ( - on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 5:13 pm: Edit Post

i study in Ukraine in the vinnytsa pedagogical university.Have i any chance to go to Sweden as an exchange student.Thanks.

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