KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Traveling can bring about incredible nerves. The uncertainty of a new place can leave people feeling lonely, anxious, excited and a whole lot more emotions. Especially if that travel is over 5,500 miles and puts you in a new country for a year.
Fernanda poses at a Kearney High football game with her two host sisters, Avery and Carly.
Fernanda Dall Agnol is a student at Kearney High. Before that, she was a student in Curitiba, Brazil. Population: 1.765 million.
Fernanda is a foreign exchange student who arrived in Kearney in August of this year. The plan, for most foreign exchange students [unless they choose to extend] is to stay for one year. The goal is to fully immerse him or herself in the new culture, learning and doing as much as possible all while attempting to completely eliminate contact with family back home.
"It can always be tough," Dall Agnol said. "But i feel like it's worth it...I've always been interested in other cultures and learning other languages, so it was something I've always wanted to do"
Fernanda is now a member of the Collison family. She has two "sisters" both students at Kearney High alongside Fernanda and two new "parents". The Collison's have previously hosted two other foreign exchange students, both from Germany. The second student left just a few weeks before Fernanda arrived.
"Oh it's so fun," June Collison, the mother, said as she laughed. The Collison's love bringing in foreign exchange students. They keep them busy by traveling around the State, doing plenty of outdoor activities, arts and crafts and making sure their children are staying involved.
Fernanda has her group of friends at Kearney High, she is planning on becoming the basketball team manager this year and is always busy running around with her new family.
Maybe not an ideal destination for foreign exchange students, Fernanda knew nothing about the area before she arrived in Nebraska. She now talks about how nice it is and what it has to offer, as well as some key differences: A lack of skyscrapers, different school structure and different weather, to name a few.
Eventually Fernanda will return to Brazil and leave Kearney behind, however June said the family always tries to remain close to the students they host and make an effort to visit them down the road.
For foreign exchange students coming to the area, it's all about getting involved, soaking up as much Midwest culture as they can and enjoying the ride.