LHS exchange students get out of Kansas
Foreign exchange students attending Lansing High School this year aren't limiting their American experience to the Sunflower State.
Four foreign exchange students are attending LHS this year: Monika Krawczyk and Liane Harlfinger, both from Germany; Byeong Su Jun, from South Korea; and Caty Romero Torres, from Bogota, Colombia.
Romero Torres and Krawczyk have used weekends and breaks to learn more about the United States by visiting different cities with their host families.
Krawczyk said one adjustment for her in Lansing was not being able to depend on public transportation like she could in Germany.
"It's hard because I rely on other people to take me places," Krawczyk said. "And we never had school cancelled because of snow. The buses could always get us there."
But because her American host family has taken many trips, Krawczyk has still had opportunities to go out. She has visited St. Louis; Falls City, Neb.; Colorado; Oklahoma; Iowa; and Wisconsin.
Krawczyk said the highlights of her trips were seeing the Gateway Arch and going to Six Flags St. Louis.
"I've always liked rollercoasters," she said.
Host mom Shar Bieker and her daughter, Anne Malleck, have helped Krawczyk become acquainted with Kansas City, too. They have taken her shopping and to sporting events.
During the holiday season, Krawczyk celebrated Christmas three times: first with friends from school, then at the Beikers' in Nebraska, and then with Anne's father's family, the Mallecks, in Colorado.
Romero Torres, who came to Lansing at the beginning of the school year, has taken road trips to Iowa to visit her host family's relatives; to Kansas State University for a football game; and to Carbondale, Ill., to watch a relative play football for Southern Illinois University.
Dawn Turner, who is Romero Torres' host, said she and her family often took road trips, but this year they were taking more than normal to show their visitor the country.
For Christmas, Dawn, her daughter Tiffany and Romero Torres drove to Arizona and then went to Carlsbad, Calif., to hang out on the beach.
There they met up with fellow foreign exchange student Harlfinger.
Their tour of California continued at Knott's Berry Farms, a theme park, Las Alamedas, to visit more family, and to Hollywood, where they saw handprints of movie stars on the Walk of Fame.
Romero Torres said she liked California, especially Holly-wood.
The group stopped at the Grand Canyon on its way back to Kansas, which Romero Torres said was her favorite stop.
"It was so big!" she said.
Tiffany Turner visited the family's exchange student from last year in Monterey, Mexico, and would like to visit Romero Torres in Colombia, too.
Shar Bieker hopes she and her family can do some traveling of their own to visit Krawczyk in Germany someday.
"We'll wait until she's a rich architect and visit her at her chateau," Bieker said.