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Medals just icing on the cake for exchange student

Foreign exchange student Semuede Andreis of Italy stands with his hosts Len Stingel, left, Faye Stingel and foreign exchange student coordinator Ryan Dunfee.

Teri Stein

Setting new swim team records for New Philadelphia High School and becoming a state champion in a sport he’s enjoyed since he was 7 or 8 years old was not a goal of 17-year-old foreign exchange student Semuede Andreis.

Swimming is not a school sport in Italy, but swimming is in clubs, Andreis said.

Andreis lost only one individual race all season and claimed state titles this year in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, making him the first state champion for NPHS since the Quakers won a boys state basketball championship in 1940.

Sem, as he is called by his exchange hosts Faye and Len Stingel, wanted to learn a new culture and English. “English is an interesting language. It was difficult at the beginning to understand what they were saying,” Andreis said.

Andreis is the son of Edith Ekuase and Fabrizio Andreis and has three sisters — Sara, Sonia and Sandra — ranging in age from 6 to 16 years old. The family lives in Bologna, Italy, a city of about 700,000 people, which makes life in quiet Tuscarawas County look a little slow.

Andreis admitted to being homesick for a short time after he arrived at the Stingel home in August 2016, and he calls his parents every weekend.

Overall he has noticed one thing: “School is easier here, but it depends on which classes you take,” Andreis said, adding that in Italy high school students study for five years instead of four. “Sports has helped a lot. It would be difficult to make new friends without sports.”

Andreis has recently been participating in tennis for the first time. “It’s really different,” he said. “I’m really bad at it, but I’m learning.”

The thing Andreis enjoys most about being in the United States is the variety of food available, and he loves it so much he can’t pick a favorite dish.

While in the states Andreis also has visited Niagara Falls, Kalahari Water Park in Sandusky and traveled to Cincinnati to watch fireworks. The Stingels will be taking him on a trip to Washington, D.C., and Ryan Dunfee, foreign exchange student coordinator, will be taking a small group of students to see the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas before they return home.

Andreis’s visit was coordinated by Ryan Dunfee of Bowerston. Dunfee ensures that students placed with him find a good home for the year, and he also plans special activities and trips for the students. For more information call Dunfee at 740-269-8888 or 740-229-0103.

There is always a need for more host families. The Stingels said they love to learn about other cultures and have been learning much about Italy and Nigeria, where Andreis’s mother is from and where he holds dual citizenship.

The world is getting smaller every day. A recent post by Dunfee on Facebook including photos of Andreis playing tennis garnered many comments in more than just English from Andreis’s friends overseas. With social media foreign exchange students’ visits are less isolating, and Andreis is sharing his adventure with the world.

Published: March 31, 2017
New Article ID: 2017703319993