Foreign exchange student from Austria hopes to inspire other teens

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — A foreign exchange student from Austria is enjoying her time living in eastern Idaho and she hopes to inspire other students who will come to America.

Julia Ascher, 18, is from a small village with 1,900 people. She is an only child and her parents own the local grocery store.

“My parents are very much into professional skiing. There’s a big race coming up in Montana that they will visit. They say they would like to visit me but they’re actually coming for the race,” Ascher says with a laugh.

Ascher applied to be a foreign exchange student last year. She selected Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado as options of where to live during her application process but had a feeling she would end up in the Gem State.

“I was happy about it,” Ascher says. “As soon as I told my mom, she was like, ‘What is that?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, there’s potatoes.'”

Eastern Idaho is very different than her small village in Austria but the Idaho Falls High School senior has enjoyed her time here. She loves her host family and enjoys school. She also likes “Western style stuff” such as cowboy hats, boots and rodeos.

When Ascher moved to America, her main goal was to improve her English. Now she wants to help other foreign exchange students who will be coming to the United States for the 2018-2019 school year.

“I set myself a goal to be a camp ambassador,” Ascher says. “That’s where we start with ‘Welcome Days.’ We help them be prepared. I enjoy helping them right now already. When they have questions, they write me on social media and I answer them. They’re excited and I like to make them more happy to be able to come.”

Ascher says she’s never forget her time in Idaho and she hopes to make a difference to the other teenagers.

“It’s like a friendship,” she says. “I just want them to have the same experience I had.”