Oconomowoc High School AFS/International Club

 OHS AFS/International Club encourages the study of language & culture and promotes the exchange of students to and from Oconomowoc High School.



Meet Yumi from Brazil (front left) who will be living with Greg & Julie Van Leirsburg this year.  Yumi says: "This picture was taken on barbecue. I love this kind of moments, to hang out with my friends and have fun. I enjoy a lot to cook and try different food too."

Greg & Julie Van Leirsburg will be opening their home to Yumi from Brazil during the 2016-17 school year.  The Van Leirsburgs are currently trying not to think about the fact that their year with Famai (better known as Sam) from Thailand is wrapping up. They are going to be back-to-back hosting!

Meet Daniela from Chile, who will be living with the Hannan family during the school year.  Dani says: "This was in San Pedro de Atacama, north of Chile, we went with my family last summer. I have lived in many cities, but now I'm living in the capital of Chile, Santiago. I like to travel and meet new places, also spend time with my family and friends. I like to play sports and meet new people. I'm excited about the new experience that I'm about to live."

Elizabeth, Kim, Bob, Nathan, Patches, Stripes, Kiko & Nali Hannan will be hosting Daniela from Chile this coming year.  Elizabeth is involved in OHS Drama and was a member of the group who went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nathan is both a musician and an athlete.

Meet Theerapat, who goes by the nickname Jab, from Thailand. He is coming mid-August to live with the Grosspietsch family.  Jab says: "I love to learn new things. I would like to gain new experiences that I can't find in Thailand. I'm so ready to be part of a new environment and new culture.  Playing musical instruments is one of my favorite activities. I can play guitar and piano. I love cooking and baking too."  Jab's family has seven Pomeranians, so he loves dogs too!

The Grosspietsch family - Tracy, Mikey, Will, Megan & Jim - will be hosting Theerapat (who goes by the nickname Jab) from Thailand.  The Grosspietsches have previously done short-term hosting through the OHS-Offenburg GAPP program. Their son Will has been to Germany, France & Switzerland with Frau Schwerer's GAPP trip. Daughter Megan was a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Scholar to South Korea and is currently in Ecuador with the Spanish Service Learning trip.

Meet Chiara from Germany. She will be arriving mid-August to live with the Beers family for the year.  Chiara says: "This was in Namibia last summer. I love to travel and see different cultures. I think it is so important to see the world with the different people and cultures. And to learn from them. I love to make photos of the nature. The nature is awesome. There are so many different landscapes and animals. The nature is so important for our life. And I love horseback riding. My sister and I have an own horse. The horse is called Kitty. I'm a triplet and my sisters are the most important people in my life."

Meet the Beers family - Bryan, Linda & Brianna. They will be hosting Chiara from Germany starting in mid-August.  They and Chiara share a love of horses. We're looking forward to photos of their equestrian pursuits!

Meet the Watermolen family - Jack, Emma, Terri & Todd. Starting mid-August, they'll be hosting AFS-YES Scholar Mercy from Kenya.If they look familiar, it's because they've previously hosted AFS students Josh from Germany, Anita from China, Indah from Indonesia, Su from Turkey and Bibi from Pakistan.  When they're not hosting, Terri & Todd serve as AFS Liaisons. Currently Terri is working with Saori from Japan and Ahmad from Lebanon, while Todd works with Nicky from Argentina. Additionally, Terri is Liaison Coordinator for the AFS Waukesha & West Team, of which Oconomowoc is a part.

Meet the Kunzes - Karolynn, Eric, Alex, Kevin, Rachel & Katherine. They'll be including AFS-YES Scholar Prosper from Nigeria into their family in August.  The Kunzes decided to host a student on the Youth Exchange & Study (YES) program, a full merit scholarship funded by the US Department of State, because of their children's friendships with Rammah Shandaq (Yemen 2012-13) and Bibi Haleema (Pakistan 2014-15).

Meet Martí from Spain, who will be staying with the Thiel family.  Martí says: "I'm in Hamburg on a exchange of the German class. I love learning diferent languages and I'm really looking forward to learn English also. I like playing all type of sports but my favourite is soccer. I usually make friends easily and I like meeting new people. I'm really looking forward to spend a year in the USA and make a lot of friends there."

Meet the Thiels - Bill, Joe, Susan, Sarah & Drew. They'll be hosting Martí from Spain when he arrives mid-August.


Six AFS exchange students spent the 2015-16 school year at OHS and will return to their home countries this month. Scott Bakkum, OHS Guidance Counselor, worked throughout the year with Paolo from Italy, Saori from Japan, Famai from Thailand, Nughraheni from Indonesia, Nicole from Argentina and Zyl from Germany. Scott created a forum for students to do monthly presentations during Pride Period on topics such as “Food,” “Music,” and “Politics” so that OHS students had an opportunity to learn about these students’ cultures on an ongoing basis. Next year OHS will host seven AFS students from Thailand, Spain, Germany, Chile, Nigeria, Brazil and Kenya.


OHS senior Ariel Byrns and sophomore Jack Tsanane are each recipients of a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship. Ariel will be studied Korean in South Korea during 2016 summer break, while Jack learned Arabic in Morocco.


Oconomowoc High School
641 East Forest
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Nondiscrimination: The Oconomowoc Area School District provides assurance that no student is discriminated against because of the student's sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability.
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