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The Boy From Ukraine

Elaina Barnes

Dec 29, 2023

Being the new kid is scary. Meeting new people is hard. Traveling 5,960 miles away from home to live in a foreign country for 12 months is terrifying. Bohdan shares that at first, yes, it was boring living here in the United States.  However, as school started and he became involved in sports and other activities, he began to enjoy his experience more. 

There is no denying that Bohdan Fedorchack, the boy from Ukraine, has captured the attention of staff and students alike at Klamath Union High School. His brazen humor and easygoing personality intrigue many. Furthermore, his diverse perspective is engaging, particularly when sharing experiences from his country. 

Conversing about Ukraine’s culture and history is important to Bohdan; it is one of the top reasons he chose to be a foreign exchange student.  He is passionate about representing his country in a positive light and clarifying common misconceptions. For example, Bohdan notes that various interactions with people in the U.S. have revealed to him people’s lack of knowledge surrounding certain topics such as the war in Ukraine and the country’s geographical relation to Russia. He wants to be a representative for Ukraine and hopes to help enlighten people through his time spent here in Klamath Falls. 

Visiting different states within the U.S. allows exposure to new perspectives and numerous lifestyles. Visiting foreign countries exposes one to even more. Bohdan shared some of his observations regarding similarities and differences between the U.S. and Ukraine, along with his original views of the U.S. before coming to live here. One of the first differences he noticed was the school sports.  In contrast to the U.S., Ukraine has year-round P.E. that is required, with no additional sports programs. Because of this, Bohdan was excited to participate in cross country this Fall, afterward relating that he appreciated the team for their constant support and kindness. 

Another difference between the U.S. and Ukraine, Bohdan points out, is the U.S. tolerance of personal expressions and diverse beliefs, specifically in the public school system. For example, dyed hair and makeup are typically not tolerated in Ukraine’s schools, and uniforms are usually required. According to Bohdan, the strict dress code is largely met with agreeable responses from students and families. Moreover, before coming to the U.S., Bohdan had a general idea of what to expect because of what he learned at school but was still pleasantly surprised by the welcoming culture that greeted him, comparing it nicely to the culture centered around kindness that he is used to. He is considering moving to the U.S. in the future, but hopes to attend college in France. 

As November comes to an end, seasons are changing and more exciting events at KUHS are approaching. Bohdan is excited to enjoy the full experience of being a teenager in another country and welcomes personal growth as he prepares for adulthood. Outside of school, watching movies with his host family and spending time with friends are some of his favorite things to do. Along with life in Klamath, he has fun at events hosted by his foreign exchange program, allowing him to interact with other foreign students. On a recent trip, they visited Crater Lake. Bohdan is looking forward to the upcoming school dances, making even more friends, and finishing the school year strong.

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