Jessica Ty

SHS students Dominic Toth and Terra Johnson participate in foreign exchange.

Kruthi Munugeti, Reporter

Going to a different country alone can be a daunting and exciting experience. Foreign exchange students experience a new country first hand when they go leave what they know to live with their host family. When thinking of a stereotypical foreign exchange student, most teens immediately think of someone going to a different country and having fun everyday, but in reality, foreign exchange students have to learn to live a “normal life” in their new environment (in addition to having fun and being a tourist, of course.) Exchange students learn to go to school, fulfill house-hold responsibilities and do everyday activities in a completely new country. Though it takes time to adjust, by living in a new country and doing normal things that other teens do, foreign students widen their global perspectives and cultural knowledge while abroad.

Junior, Dominic Toth is a foreign exchange student attending SHS from Hungary. He is an international swimmer and is here in America to perfect his athletic abilities. He has made new friends on the swim team and hopes to make more during his time in the States. When he first landed in the US, he felt excited to start a new chapter of his high school experience. When asked about the differences in America compared to Hungary, he believes that there are pros and cons to both areas.

“I came to America to learn English, because I want to be a pilot when I am older,” says Toth, “I am from Budapest, Hungary and I enjoy swimming, photography, and the outdoors.”


While Dominic shared his initial feelings about coming to America, junior Terra Johnson shared her feelings about going to Italy as a foreign exchange student. Making the decision to be a foreign exchange student was a tough one, but Johnson believed that it was the best choice for her. By making adjustments to her classes and her junior and senior year schedule, Johnson will be right on track to graduate when she comes back from her amazing journey. From learning some Italian to meeting her host family, preparing for Italy has been a task for Johnson.


To prepare for Italy, I have researched the country itself and the town that I’ll be living in. I will be staying with three families while over there, so I’ve been in contact with my first family for a few months now. It’s been helpful speaking to them because they’ve been helping me prepare for my exchange. They answer all my questions, which is great because I have so many. I’ve also bought books and listened to stations that are in Italian to improve my language skills, because at the moment it is not very good,” said Johnson.


 The Rotary Exchange program that Johnson is participating in allows their members to choose their top three options, and Italy was one of her first choices! While she is excited about going to Italy to learn about the culture and hopefully make new lifelong friends, she is nervous about getting accustomed to culture in Italia.


“I honestly don’t know how to feel about going to Italy. I’m very nervous but equally excited. I know that this is going to be a great opportunity for me so I try my best to put my nerves aside when I think about it,” explains Johnson.


Dominic Toth and Terra Johnson are two great examples of risk takers and curious students, ready to embark on a wonderful journey that will hold the memories of a lifetime. If you want to know more about foreign exchange, be on the lookout for Rotary Youth Exchange when they come to Seminole High School.