A Symbiotic Relationship

Brighton High School opens its doors – and hearts – to this year’s foreign exchange students

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Kyleigh Call

Beatrice Costamagna discusses plans for the 2021 Brighton Yearbook.

Kyleigh Call

Two Italians and a Dane walk into a cafeteria. It may sound like the start to a bad joke with politically incorrect undertones, but it’s the delicious reality that Brighton High School gets to experience through the foreign exchange program.  

As Brighton opened its doors this September, it excitedly welcomed twelve students from nine different countries.

“It’s always to our benefit if we can see other representations of countries and cultures,” said Kris Nelson, the program’s coordinator. “There is a much bigger world out there. It’s great that we get to experience some.”

For many, it’s something they’ve looked forward to for their whole lives. 

“I applied in seventh grade,” said Ida-Sofie Brøndum Jensen (Fie), a student from Denmark. “I always knew I wanted to do this”

The foreign exchange program opens up the gate for a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Not only do the students coming into Brighton get to experience a whole new culture, but BHS students also can travel the world while staying at home.

Friends Ellie Williams and Rosella Pugliese getting ready to head to their next classes after lunch. “I like it here,” Pugliese shared. “It’s nice!”
(Kyleigh Call)

“I feel like I’ve learned so much,” said Ellie Williams, a senior at Brighton. “Learning about different cultures and people is amazing!”

Williams’ new friend, Rosella Pugliese, arrived from Italy at the beginning of this school year and feels like she’s absorbed so much thus far.

“I’ve learned to be less shy,” Pugliese said. “And English!” 

Beatrice Costamagna, an Italian student, also excitedly shared her thoughts on the red, white, and blue and everything she’d learned so far. 

Beatrice Costamagna discusses plans for the 2021 Brighton Yearbook.
(Kyleigh Call)

“People are so nice here! You don’t go to school stressed, or scared, because I feel that when I go to school in Italy,” she said. “Here I just want to go to school so I can see my friends. And I love teachers here. They’re so nice, they care- they don’t care in Italy.” 

The students in this program feel it is magical. Individuals on both ends forge life-long bonds and memories that they’ll cherish forever. 

Kris Nelson eagerly shared an old photo of a group of exchange students from several years back. 

“You just get so close. We’ll have those memories forever.”

The great “Melting Pot” lives up to its name by maintaining programs like these. Despite the many barriers between different cultures, the BHS exchange program allows students to learn and become better, more empathetic people.