The perfect example of what an exemplary exchange student should encompass

The perfect example of what an exemplary exchange student should encompass

Martina is a 17 year old, bright young lady here for a semester from Italy. Like many exchange students, she was quite homesick when she first came to her Host Family. She quickly opened up to them about her feelings. Because of this, they were able to immediately intervene and work through this issues allowing her to overcome her homesickness. She was determined to make sure nothing was going to get in the way of her upcoming experiences here in the United States.

I think the hardest part for Martina’s initial travel to Corpus Christi, Texas was that she was having her 17th birthday only 5 days after her arrival to a new country, new city and with a new family. My gratitude goes out to the Del Angel-Marquez family for making her 17th birthday a very special Texas one! You would never know we are having to quarantine from others by the wonderful decorating the family did for Martina. It really made her day special. Her smile says it all!

Martina has jumped into distance learning and is doing an outstanding job. Her grades are all A’s and one B and she is ecstatic! Despite her focus on education she is curious and wanting to learn all about her new community. In the short time she has been here, she has gone to local a museum, experienced the coastal beaches, been shopping and visited local restaurants. She is looking forward to beginning classes on Campus and making new friends. I have no doubt she will have many!

I believe that one of the most rewarding things about hosting an exchange student is watching them as they experience new things. During our last visit, one of the things that Martina was most eager to share with me was the fact that she was able to attend her very first wedding. She had never attended a wedding before and it was so adorable listening to her talk about it with such excitement and enthusiasm. She was so cute as she described it as being, “just like the American weddings you see in movies.”

I am thrilled to see that this young lady has come to us with such openness, trust and acceptance to learn all she can academically and socially through every experience she encounters. I love that she shares her culture, not even realizing that she is doing so, by comparing her new experiences with similar ones from back home. We are all learning new things with Martina in our lives! What is so very special about Martina is that she genuinely appreciates everything, whether kindnesses are big or small, her gratitude is Bigger than Texas! She is very quick to thank everyone for anything that may help her in some way. Not just a simple thank you…but a true heartfelt Thank You!

She is an amazing young lady! I cannot wait to hear all of the wonderful things she learns that she will take back and share with her family in Italy. Her family may have to wait a while longer to hear all about her experiences as Martina has decided she would like to stay until the end of the school year. Her parents and host family are both thrilled about her decision.

Martina, you have grown and matured so much already in such a short amount of time, it is hard to believe you are the same homesick girl that came to us in August. Enjoy your experiences as we are truly enjoying your positive energy and enthusiasm!


Jenitta Rupp
ICES host mom in Corpus Christi, Texas

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