Spotlight on Foreign Exchange Students


Photo by Emy Lovell

Lily Droste (left) and Trine Aagaard.


For the past two years at Berea Community High School, students from other countries have been placed in the Berea Independent school system. During the 2017-2018 school year, three students were placed in Berea, Kentucky to attend Berea Community High School. This year, the high school welcomed Lily Droste from Germany, Trine Aagaard from Denmark, and Emil Lazrak from Denmark. While Lily and Trine are still attending Berea Community, Emil was only enrolled at Berea for the first semester, and left in January.

To become an exchange student, these three students went through a long process of filling out applications and answering questions to find their perfect home in America. “It took me about one year. I had to write down a lot of information about my family, my life, my town and my school, and my grades… and then they just kind of matched me with a family,” stated Junior Lily Droste, explaining the process she went through. Junior Trine Aagaard also went through a similar process: “It was kind of a long and hard process for me because I had to go through a lot of paperwork and answer a ton of questions about me so that they could find me a perfect family. I [also] had to go through an interview where I had to speak, and [getting into the exchange program] also depended on my grades.”

Junior Lily Droste has been here since August, after being moved from her original placement in Kansas. Lily’s first high school only had about 90 students, so she was happy about the transfer to Berea that had more kids in the high school. Here to learn more about American culture and learn in an American high school, Lily has learned to love Dairy Queen Blizzards and apple pie.

Trine Aagaard was living in Burlington, Kentucky before transferring to Berea Community for the second semester this year. Trine’s first high school had about 1,100 students and her experience there was much different from her experience at Berea thus far. “The school I went to was a bigger high school… people didn’t really know I was an exchange student at first, so it was harder getting close friends because not everyone [knew] each other like they do at Berea.”

While both Lily and Trine have come to like America for their own reasons, they both completely agree on their favorite thing about school systems in America: the school sports. In Germany and Denmark, schools do not have their own school sports teams, and sports are only played outside of school. The girls agreed that it’s nice to have school spirit, and that having school spirit makes it more exciting to go to school. At Trine’s first high school, it was hard to join a sports team because of how many students attended the school, but she was able to play her first sport once she got to Berea. Both Trine and Lily have joined the Tennis team for the spring season. Lily also joined the volleyball team and basketball team earlier in the year.

Berea has enjoyed welcoming these students to our small, close-knit community, and the school system hopes they have enjoyed their time here.