Having an exchange student has helped Chris Humphreys open his eyes to more opportunities

When sophomore Chris Humpreys’ parents proposed hosting an exchange student for the year, he was nothing short of confused. The thought of having another female addition to his family, in a house of all boys and his mom, was awkward and sort of a strange idea to him. Chris was really just mind-boggled and unsure of what to think. 

“I was always only used to having a brother,” Chris said. “So having a girl added to the family was just really strange. It’s funny because when my parents said we were getting an exchange student, I didn’t really know what to think, besides that I was just hoping she wasn’t weird.”

In August, Chris’ family welcomed sophomore Lotta Petersen from Germany into their home. Although Chris doesn’t participate in any extracurricular activities, mostly just keeping to himself and enjoying his simplistic routines, from the moment Lotta arrived, he knew her presence was going to alter their family dynamic. 

There were a lot of differences and adjustments Chris had to make, adapting to being part of a family of five rather than four. Not only small things like adding an extra place at their dinner table and the empty bedroom across the hall from him suddenly becoming occupied, but also alterations like scheduling everyone’s activities around each other.

I have really liked having her around.

— Chris Humphreys

“There are a lot of the things I’ve had to adjust to, especially in the car. We are all super crammed together, and it can get really uncomfortable,” said Chris.

It was obvious that Chris was expressing his sense of humor, chuckling as he thought about each chaotic car ride with his family. Lotta, standing next to him, replied to this with a laugh, knowing that each time they all pack into the Humphreys’ Jeep, it can become hectic. 

“Lotta also actually stole my hook in the bathroom as well,” said Chris, continuing his list of how life has unexpectedly changed with Lotta around, and Lotta responded to this with another loud snort. “It’s hard because sometimes I have to work around her schedule too because we typically take showers around the same time, and sometimes both want to go places on the weekends, and it makes my mom have to drive around a lot more.” 

There may be some slight complications for Chris, his family, and his bathroom schedule having Lotta around, but her being part of their family has allowed Chris to partake in many different experiences he might not have had the chance to if she wasn’t there. 

“We have definitely taken more trips while [Lotta] has been here,” Chris said. “We went to Disney World in Orlando in February and went to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in September. [We] have just been able to do a lot of extra cool things while she’s been here.” 

Chris has also been able to open his eyes a bit wider and get a larger view of the world while having Lotta stay with his family. And although she will be leaving soon, the lessons she has taught him and the things she has told him will stick in his mind forever. It’s crazy for him to think that one moment, all he was worried about was if his new exchange student was weird, and now, after a year, he’s grateful for her presence in his life. 

“First off,” Chris said, “because of Lotta, I’ve realized that Germany is a lot more normal than America, and we are kind of weird, but also that I don’t hate having an exchange sister. I’m really glad that she lived with us this year, and even though it was a little hectic at first, I have really liked having her around.”