POTTERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) — With the school year starting up soon, exchange organizations are working hard to find host families for exchange students, like Elisa Urso.
“I’m so excited, but a bit nervous. I think it’s normal, but I’m excited,” Urso said.
She is an exchange student from Milan, Italy. She arrived in the United States just three days ago. She said she already is noticing differences between Italy and Potterville.
“The fact that every house has a flag, an American flag. In Italy we are not so patriotic,” Urso said.
For her host mom, Susan Gorbe, Elisa is her sixth year-long exchange student.
“We joke that we don’t lock the door. We just keep letting them come in,” Gorbe said.
The two were paired through Greenheart Exchange, which places around 750 students like Elisa in families across the country. That’s why they are always looking for host families.
“This is a great opportunity to experience other cultures. If you don’t have the opportunity to travel to Europe or South America or Asia, you can have that culture come right into your own home,” Dave Schuchaskie, Regional Manager at Greenheart Exchange, said.
Amanda Osborne’s home has been filled with 13 kids throughout the years from CETUSA.
“I just say, take the plunge, join the craziness with all of us, because it’s so much fun,” Amanda Osborne, host mom and regional director for CETUSA, said.
Osborne said the experiences not only opened the exchange students’ eyes to what we have here in the United States, but her eyes as well.
“My favorite parts are just seeing my country through their eyes every year, you know, and appreciating all that we really do have here,” Osborne said.
For exchange student Elisa, who is heading into her junior year of high school, she’s ready for the school year.
“She’s going to play volleyball here. Yeah tomorrow I start practice,” Elisa and Susan Gorbe said.