Local News

Jun 17, 2014 8:37 PM by KSBY Staff

European exchange students coming to the Central Coast

Nearly two dozen students from Spain will be coming to San Luis Obispo to live with host families as part of a foreign exchange program.

San Luis Obispo's Becky and John Tiedemann have hosted students from all over the world.

"When you have someone in your home and you get to invite them into your home and share your life with them, your life grows and benefits." says John Tiedemann.

Becky remembers a Spanish student named Gabriel fondly, as he bonded with her son John.

"Our son never played soccer and now he's watching soccer because of the Spanish influence," Becky Tiedemann said. "Johnny was like a big brother. [Gabriel] stuck with John, slept in the bunk bed, and then got him that Madrid soccer shirt that John just wore this week, which was very sweet."

American Experience program director Javier Aguayo says that the goal for the exchange students is to learn english and experience American culture -- all aspects of it.

"Going to a big supermarket like Costco...you go there and you're like, 'Oh my god, what is this?' It's so big. The mayo is big. Everything is big," Aguayo said.

Aguayo says his times as an exchange student inspired him to start the program so that other kids could experience what he did.

"I came here for the first time nine years ago, and just going to a baseball game and hearing the national anthem -- that's so beautiful," Aguayo said.

During the 25 days they are here, the students will go to class to learn english, surf, bowl and have other experiences unique to the Central Coast. Aguayo hopes the program is also a way for families to grow and learn from the students about life in other countries.

"You do create lifelong friendships," Becky Tiedemann said.

Two week before they arrive, some students still need places to stay. Aguayo says if people are interested in becoming host parents, to learn more about the program by clicking here.

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