Sigourney High welcomes Emery-Goulart

            Approximately 5,216 miles from Sigourney lies the coastal city of Ilheus in the Brazilian state of Bahia, where 17-year-old Laura Emery-Goulart calls home. For the next school year though, Emery-Goulart will call our county seat home as part of her foreign exchange program.

            “My cousin did her exchange here in Sigourney in 2006,” Emery-Goulart said. “Annie and Don [Arduser] hosted her and this became something I’ve wanted to do for a while. My cousin and I always talked about this, and I felt it would be a great experience to learn English, learn more about other cultures and so on.”

            Since arriving in Sigourney only a few weeks ago, Emery-Goulart has experienced the day-to-day life of students at Sigourney, half joking that she thought the school would be “bigger”. She has developed a bond with her host family Don and Annie Arduser, along with the Harter family.

            “We have known who Laura is since ten years ago when Carol, her cousin, was first here,” Annie Arduser said. “We always had positive experiences, so it was fun to get kids from different countries. I have had kids from Brazil, Germany, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. I have hosted six different kids, now seven with Laura. It is fun for the kids at school to learn about the different countries and it is a very rewarding experience.”

            Before arriving in town, Emery-Goulart communicated with fellow junior Savhannah White through email and social media to allow the new arrival to have a friendly, familiar face to hang out with over the course of the year.

           “She’s funny and we seem to have a similar personality, so we get along really well,” White said. “I’m with the family a lot, so they thought it would be nice for her to have someone to befriend when [Laura] came here.”

           The duo formed a friendship over the last few weeks in lunch and math class, as well as through events such as Homecoming week. Emery-Goulart experienced everything from Boom night to the dance, where they went to Texas Roadhouse first and took their respective dates.

          “We don’t have Homecoming in Brazil, so it was fun and different,” Emery-Goulart said. “The TPing and Boom Night were cool and I wish we could have those back home.”

           Emery-Goulart is considering cheerleading for basketball while attending Sigourney High, enjoys hobbies such as baking, reading, attending games with her host family, and has taken the opportunity with Jeni Harter to explore her interest in photography.

           “I like to go with Jeni to take pictures at events,” Emery-Goulart said. “I want to learn more about photography while I’m here.”

            During her school year here in Iowa, Emery-Goulart wishes to explore the state campuses, but for the most part wants to leave her schedule open to anything that comes her way.

            “I’m not really sure exactly about places I want to go, but I want experience festivities like Halloween and Christmas here, Emery-Goulart said. “I’m sure it’s going to be different here. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Brazil.”

             In the meantime, White and Emery-Goulart plan to spend more time together learning about each other’s cultures and enjoy the finer things in life.

            “We want to go do more girly things together, like shopping, getting our nails done and maybe a sleepover,” White said.