MEDFORD, Ore. — Thirty Italian exchange students are set to arrive in Medford Sunday night. They are all part of a sister cities exchange program. The Medford Alba Sister City Exchange began in 1985. Since then, roughly 100 high school students from the Rogue Valley visit Alba, Italy every spring. In return, high school students from Alba visit the United States of America every fall.
The Stover family is preparing to house their second Italian exchange student. They have added a second bed in their son’s room, but besides that they say they are not doing anything out of the ordinary.
“We want them to see what American life is really like — so besides some cleaning we just kind of live our lives,” said the host mom, Stacey Stover.
She and her two sons have all traveled to Italy through the exchange program.
“I think it’s really a growth experience to become friends with someone in another country, and Alba, Italy is a lot like Medford as far as the climate, but then there are a lot of differences too,” said Stacey.
Her son, Chris Stover, went to Italy this past spring and stayed with a host family who had a son around his age. Now, their son is coming to the United States and staying with the Stover family.
“We had a really strong friendship over there actually… an extremely strong one for just three weeks,” said Chris Stover. “I’m excited to see him again and just reunite.”
Chris Stover had a map of Alba in his room along with an Italian flag to remember his journey and make his new roommate feel at home.
“It’s amazing — the transformation from preparing for a trip for nine months and then leaving home as a 17 or 18-year-old and living with a family that doesn’t speak your language and really get to know yourself as a person a lot at a young age,” said Medford Alba Sister City Exchange president, Brent Barry.
According to Barry, the exchange students will be getting the grand tour of the Rogue Valley. They will be going to vineyards and orchards. They will also get to go rafting and take a scenic tour of Jacksonville.