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Friday, October 21, 2016

Learning Through Immersion: The Foreign Exchange Student Program

You can learn about different countries in geography books, but 11 new Mansfield ISD high school students have chosen to learn about the U.S. culture by traveling across the globe and immersing themselves in it.

The MISD Foreign Exchange Student Program provides teenagers from other countries the opportunity to learn about the history of the United States, see the workings of U.S. government and become more fluent in the written and spoken English language.

“There’s such hope and promise in what a foreign exchange student can glean from the year-long experience.” said Holly McCanlies, MISD director of guidance and counseling. “The purpose of the program is to gain a deep understanding of a culture that’s different from their own, to make life-long friendships and to experience an educational system that is truly great.”

Gregory (right) assists Dominguez (left) in computer technology class.
Federico Dominguez is originally from Spain and attends Timberview High School. He said the decision to come to America for a full year of learning was one he felt would set him up for a successful future.

“I want to learn English because it’s a global language. I will need it for my work and life,” said the 16-year-old. “I’ve learned that you can find a lot of people from different places.”

Dominguez said he loves soccer and is on the junior varsity team at Timberview. He keeps in touch with his family back in Spain weekly and is excited to be making friends here.

“He interacts a lot with the students,” said Timberview teacher and coach Duane Gregory. “I think he’s done a good job getting acclimated and familiar with how things work in our community and our culture.”

McCanlies said that students from all over the world have taken advantage of the MISD Foreign Exchange Student Program, and she has seen how the experience has helped them flourish into well-rounded individuals.

During their stay, foreign exchange students live with host families who reside within the district. MISD has space for five foreign exchange students at each of its traditional high schools. For more information about enrollment and eligibility, visit the guidance and counseling page.