The following blog post is quoted from the following article. Original article: Ukrainian exchange student attends Harrison High, shares journey by Pari Apostolakos.
Check out their website: https://www.wlfi.com/
“TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The war in Ukraine rages on an ocean away from the WLFI viewing area. For one new member of our community, the war feels much closer.
News 18 met the Ukrainian teen who is finding her home away from home in Tippecanoe County.
“It was the best time when you were sleeping, to be honest, because even if, like, you die, you’re not going to feel anything. You know? Yeah, this is what I was thinking before going to sleep,” 17-year-old Kate Medvedenko told News 18.
These were her thoughts when hiding from Russian air raids in her home in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022 when Russia invaded her homeland.
Medvedenko moved to Tippecanoe County in August after getting a scholarship to be an exchange student at Harrison High School. She said it’s hard being away from her parents and sister, who are now back home in Kyiv.
“I feel and think that they are happy that I’m here, because it was always my dream, first of all,” she said. “And secondly, I’m safe. I’m not in danger.”
When Kate arrived, the trauma of the war reared it’s head at places like a Harrison High School football game, when the sound of fireworks sent her into a panic.
“Her first night here was incredibly hard,” Andrea Gilkison, Kate’s Host Mother, said. “I didn’t realize it, but we’re on the flight path for the airport. And so, planes that are getting ready to land usually fly over our house.”
Medvedenko said she likes a lot of things about life with her host mother Andrea Gilkison and the rest of her host family.
“Here it feels much better because I have life here, not just existence,” she said.
She plans to stay in the U.S. for college. For Kate, this past year has been transformative in more ways than one.
“I’ve changed really a lot, like, I’m a different person,” she said.”
If you would like to help an exchange student’s dreams come true, we invite you to read more about hosting a foreign exchange student. If you have specific questions about hosting, check out our host family FAQ page. You can also read testimonials from our past and current host families. When you feel ready, complete our host family interest form and our area representative will get in touch with you.
You can also get involved by joining our team of Area Representatives! Help match host families and exchange students and bring the world closer together, while making a supplemental income.