Austrians Visit Campus through ECI

Marko Durovic, Staff Writer

20 Austrians were hosted by 19 Campo students as a part of an international program. This was not an exchange program, so the students who host will not be heading to Austria; however, they may wish to stay in tough with their new friends.

Edu-Culture Intl (ECI) is the organization in charge of regular cross continental-journeys, with the hope of connecting cultures. Sophomore Colin Haggerty is hosting 2 students from Austria. “I’ve already figured out a couple of places I’m going to take them,” he said.

Both sides have the opportunity to experience the differences between the cultures. Austrian student Jelena Bozic noticed a couple. She said of her American hosts, “They keep their shoes on in the house, and I find that really weird.”

She also noticed a difference in sports participation. “We don’t have sports in schools like here,” she said.

The biggest difference she noticed was the size of the food portions in America. “There is also no Reese’s candy in Vienna,” she added.

The program extends around the globe. “ECI has been doing High School Immersion programs and Summer Immersion programs for European students in the San Francisco Bay area for 15 years. We also create custom trips for local teachers who take their students to Costa Rica, France, or Spain,” explained Educational Travel Coordinator Sheila Larson.

Austrian students usually bond well with their host families and invite them to visit Austria. Hundreds of the host families have stayed in touch. “I’d definitely go if they invited me,” said Haggerty.

A lot of work goes into finding the right family in the United States. The student host has to be the same age and receive a recommendation from his or her foreign language teacher. When looking for a suitable family ECI doesn’t necessarily consider the size of the host’s home. “We have found that it is not the size of the home that makes a good host family, but the size of the welcoming hearts that make the hosting the incredible enriching experience that it is,” said Larson.

The Austrian students were “shadowing” their hosts from Campo on March 15.