Housemates find common bond at Shawnee Heights

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“It started three years ago, when I was at church, I opened a brochure, and they were wanting exchange families,” Janet Van Nort,  said.

Two weeks later the Van Nort’s had their first exchange student from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Felipe Acevedo, from Colombia is the Van Nort’s third exchange student.

“It’s been a really good experience for my kids,” Van Nort, said.  It brings the culture into our house.”

“I just decided to come to the USA,” Acevedo, said. “It’s pretty cool, everybody has been really nice to me.”

For Felipe and his host brother Alec Van Nort it works out great. They share the love for soccer, plus they get to experience something they didn’t have growing up.

“You become really close to the exchange student,” Shawnee Heights goalkeeper Alec Van Nort, said. “It’s just really nice because it’s like a brother.”

“I don’t have a brother in Colombia, I mean I don’t have a brother, so he’s like that bro that i never had,” Acevedo, said.

But like brothers, they don’t always agree. Especially on who has the most talent on the soccer field.

“He probably said himself,” Van Nort, said. “Just because he seems like that guy that would say ‘yeah I mean I’m better.'”

“Come on, come on, you can’t ask me that,” Acevedo, said. “Right here (points to himself). Right here.”

All jokes aside exchange students and host families often times become like real families in their time together.

“I think that I will miss them, and I will be in the airport crying and everything,” Acevedo, said.

“It’s just like saying goodbye to a family member, which is really hard,” Van Nort, said. There’s definitely going to be tears.”

Alec has plans to visit the first exchange student his family hosted in Brazil next summer for soccer’s biggest stage.

“I’ve always, since I’ve been a little kid, always wanted to go to Brazil,” Van Nort, said. “That was a dream that I’ve always wanted to do, and now that there’s a world cup there too. it’s all together.”

Now, all Felipe and Alec need is a World Cup in Columbia.

“I really want to go to the World Cup too,” Acevedo, said. “I love soccer.”

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