International Education + Skateboarding = One Frenchman Meets Muskego

International Education + Skateboarding = One Frenchman Meets Muskego: Follow the journey of foreign exchange students this school year as they experience American life in Muskego

Nov. 12 – 16, 2012, is International Education Week, an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. Sounds great, right?  But like it’s something happening in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere – but not Muskego, right?  I’m using this week to launch this blog to demonstrate International Education at work right here in Muskego. 

If Thomas Lescoute had listened to his friends back in the south of France, he would have thought every American meal was prepared by pulling through an American drive-through window!  Thomas is living in Muskego for the 2012-13 school year through an international exchange program, called AFS Intercultural Programs USA, one of the leading programs of its kind.  Fortunately, this 16 year old from Peyrehorade, in the Aquitaine region in southwestern France, landed with the Voisin family of Muskego, a very busy family of five who doesn’t take many meals that come in a paper bag 

Thomas is attending Muskego High this year, along with a second AFS student at Muskego, Sumire Terai, from Japan, who will be the subject of a future post. One of the other pleasant surprises that Thomas has found in Muskego is the number of extracurricular activities available at MHS  -- and he has taken full advantage of these, going out for football – the American kind, not the kick-the-ball-with-your-foot kind – this fall.  And, during the current sports season, he is participating in diving at MHS – a different kind of water sport than the surfing competitions that take place off the coast of France near his home. 

Thomas, when he’s not busy with family, school and sports, loves taking advantage of Muskego Skate Park and can be seen sailing through the air there on the occasional free afternoon. 

The uniquely American experience that Thomas is living this year is made possible by the generosity of host families  -- like Jeff and Lisa Voisin, and their children, Adam, Eric and Sara -- who open their homes and lives to students, and to the many AFS volunteers in Muskego and the Milwaukee area team.  If you have interest in further research on becoming a host family or an AFS volunteer, contact Muskego community representative, Fernanda Balthazor, at fernandabalthazor@yahoo.com or check out the AFS USA website: www.afsusa.org.

Speaking of Thomas’ experiences with American food, he reports that he loves bagels (which originated in Poland way back when) but dislikes another American classic, Chicken Noodle Soup. So much for that American “mmm mmm good!”


Watch here for more Muskego Patch posts as we document the international education experiences of both Thomas and Sumire throughout the school year. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Off Woods November 19, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I praise these families who open their hearts and homes to foreign students to allow them this opportunity of a lifetime! Sharing cultures is so important; we all benefit from these experiences.


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