Lilian Kermorvan was having a great time playing soccer for his club team in France, but wanted to improve his English and have new experiences. He decided to attend high school in America for a year and is now attending Pitman High School bringing his soccer skills to the Pride team.
“I started playing when I was eight and I never really stopped,” said Kermorvan. “We don’t have sports for high school so that’s been a difference.”
Living in such an agriculture hub like the Central Valley is a change for Kermorvan since he lived right on the beach in France; regardless he has loved his experience so far and is excited for the rest of his stay.
“Everything is really different,” he said. “I wanted to come to get new experiences. It’s such a huge change here which is a good thing.”
Kermorvan also played on the football team this year, and similar to his soccer team, has nothing but good things to say about his teammates.
“I really like the guys,” he said. “They make me feel very welcomed and make me feel like I’m one of them. Everyone’s been so kind and nice.”
With soccer being the premier sport in Europe, Kermorvan said “the skill level is a little better over there” but acknowledged that he still gets to play with “some really good players here.”
Troy Patterson and his wife are currently hosting Kermorvan and have been hosting exchanged students for years, and recently started connecting with students through International Cultural Exchange Services because it gives them more time with them.
“We used to do it with a previous organization and they would bring in young people for 10 days to three weeks,” said Patterson. “We decided to sign up for this which gives us a lot more time. Our house is empty with our kids gone and this is a great opportunity to hang around young people and learn a lot.”
Kermorvan came to Turlock in August and is planning on going back in June when the semester ends. He’s noticed a lot of differences between Americans and Europeans so far, even the fast food.
“Almost everything is different and I really like that,” he said. “When you go to McDonald’s you can get all the free refills. In France you have to pay for all the refills you want.”
One of the changes with his high school experience is that he gets off a couple hours earlier and feels more support here.
“The teachers here are nicer,” said Kermorvan. “They help you and you don’t have to focus on studying all the time. In France we have to study all the time. We don’t have things like homecoming and prom. School can be pretty boring in France.”
For the Pattersons it has been a pleasant and educational experience hosting these exchange students over the years.
“I find it exciting to show them our country and our little town here,” said Patterson. “I love having open conversations about anything. I love seeing the expression on their faces. We’re not paid, the payment is in the relationships you build with the students and their families.”
For families interested in learning more information about hosting foreign exchange students, they can visit iceusa.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.