Exchange students F.L.E.X. on Raiders

Flying+overseas+%2F%2F+Flexing+his+high+jump+skills%2C+junior+Viktor+Tereshchenko+hops+over+sophomore+Kate+Panasyuk.+Wearing+the+official+t-shirt+for+their+program%2C+the+foreign+exchange+students+are+from+the+Ukraine.+%E2%80%9CBecause+of+my+program%2C+I%E2%80%99ve+gained+a+lot+of+leadership+skills%2C%E2%80%9D+Tereshchenko+said.
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Exchange students F.L.E.X. on Raiders

Flying overseas // Flexing his high jump skills, junior Viktor Tereshchenko hops over sophomore Kate Panasyuk. Wearing the official t-shirt for their program, the foreign exchange students are from the Ukraine. “Because of my program, I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills,” Tereshchenko said.

Flying overseas // Flexing his high jump skills, junior Viktor Tereshchenko hops over sophomore Kate Panasyuk. Wearing the official t-shirt for their program, the foreign exchange students are from the Ukraine. “Because of my program, I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills,” Tereshchenko said.

photo credit: Andrea Ensign

Flying overseas // Flexing his high jump skills, junior Viktor Tereshchenko hops over sophomore Kate Panasyuk. Wearing the official t-shirt for their program, the foreign exchange students are from the Ukraine. “Because of my program, I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills,” Tereshchenko said.

photo credit: Andrea Ensign

photo credit: Andrea Ensign

Flying overseas // Flexing his high jump skills, junior Viktor Tereshchenko hops over sophomore Kate Panasyuk. Wearing the official t-shirt for their program, the foreign exchange students are from the Ukraine. “Because of my program, I’ve gained a lot of leadership skills,” Tereshchenko said.

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Dropped off in a place completely unfamiliar, thousands of miles away from home. No family, few friends, with nothing but a few personal belongings and everything they’ve learned so far. For about a year, they are left to call this foreign land their home.

This is the reality for junior Viktor Tereshchenko and sophomore Kate Panasyuk, Ukrainian members of Future Leaders Exchange (known as F.L.E.X.), an exchange program for students in Eastern Europe.

“We learn leadership skills, get scholarships and exchange cultures with other people,” Tereshchenko said. “It’s really cool to be a part of.” 

To join F.L.E.X., students participate in tours to test their aptitude in speaking English. After some testing, they advance from one tour to the next, each getting harder as they progress. Of the 10,640 people that participate in the first tour, only 232 pass the final tour to study abroad.

“After I passed the second tour I was super excited and decided that if I’ve already gone so far, I have to win–and it happened,” Panasyuk said.

After being selected, students are then randomly placed in a city in the U.S., and for Tereshenko and Panasyuk, this meant spending the school year in Wylie.

“It took a lot to get used to not having public transportation, the completely new school system and occasional struggles with English, but over time I got used to it,” Tereshchenko said.

The students will return to their home countries at the end of the school year with an incredible experiences and impressive resumes. They will act as alumnis assisting other students participating in the F.L.E.X. program in the future.

“I’m proud to be an ambassador of my country here in Texas, and I hope I made a good impression about Ukraine and its people during my stay here,”  Panasyuk said.

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