Adios, arrivederci, and goodbye

Published 8:31 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Foreign exchange students were given a farewell by Suffolk’s Boy Scout Troop 1929, at Murphy’s Mill Cabin Tuesday. The students are returning home after spending one month in the Tidewater area.

Foreign exchange students who have stayed with Tidewater families enjoyed one last cookout Tuesday before returning home, thanks to a farewell event hosted by Suffolk’s Boy Scout Troop 1929.

At Murphy’s Mill Cabin on a stormy evening, 16 exchange students, two of whom spent the time with Suffolk families, enjoyed a final American experience after a month in the country.

Germany’s Christian Schwandt, 19, said of his experience, “It was all good,” though he enjoyed the beach at Ocean View most of all.

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“It was awesome,” he said.

While Schwandt had visited America once before, for two weeks, it was Spaniard Jauiar Campo’s first time here.

“I enjoyed everything,” he said, saying the people he encountered were especially generous.

Coming here was “an important opportunity for me,” he said.

Troop Cubmaster Cindy Fegley and her family hosted 16-year-old Spaniard Jaime Malo Alvarez, and next month will host another exchange student, from Ukraine.

While in Suffolk, Alvarez became a member of the Boy Scout troop, earning two separate ranks, which were presented to him in a court of honor during Tuesday’s send-off.

“As his guardian, I was able to sign him up,” Fegley said.

She said she has already spoken to the Ukrainian about becoming a Boy Scout during his time in Suffolk, “and he said it is something he has always dreamed of doing.”

The exchange students were also treated to a flag retirement ceremony.

Fegley described the experience of hosting a foreign student as “wonderful.”

“He has been a good influence on our son, who is a couple of years younger, and he has been well received by all the members of the troop,” she said.

Liz Abrams, local coordinator for Foreign Links Around the Globe, the organization that brought the exchange students here, said more Suffolk families are needed as hosts.

“We are still in need of host families for the coming school year,” she said, saying the Suffolk school district is still accepting students.

“I’d ask them to do it for their children,” she said. “It helps them understand different cultures, and that it’s not just our world, it’s everybody’s.”

Scholarships are also available for Suffolk students to take part in the program and experience other cultures, she said.

For details, visit www.flag-intl.org or call 1-800-942-3524.