Katya’s enthusiasm as a cultural ambassador and the way she has embraced her host family and community make her the ideal exchange student. Katya’s host mother states that “Katya has been a wonderful addition to our home and family.” The two enjoy cooking together and sharing one another’s traditional recipes, and they have made a health and fitness pact together. They have also volunteered together, painting an elderly community member’s house and packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They plan to volunteer throughout the holiday season at food kitchens in their community. Katya has also enjoyed visiting local creameries to indulge in American ice cream with her host father, an ice cream lover who, Katya states, “is also amazing.” Katya says that she is “blessed with the best host family in the world.” She says that they have given her love and support and help her maintain her connection with her parents back home.
At Hoover High School, Katya’s guidance counselor reports that she is independent, inquisitive, and a great addition to the school. Katja, who states, “I adore sociology,” says she loves to have discussions about similarities and differences between cultures and jumps at the opportunity to share her own culture with others. She gave four cultural presentations during International Education Week, which she had been preparing since before her arrival in the United States. Katya has joined Student Government and the Social Justice Club. In the spring, she will join the track team.
Katya embraces challenges and shows great determination through difficulties. When she first arrived in the United States, she struggled a bit with her English, but she did not let this discourage her. To practice her English, she has been reading aloud to her host family from the book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, and then they discuss what she has read. Through her perseverance and dedication to improvement, she has made great strides.