Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

A Place To Call Home


March 26, 2020

Tyan Family / For The Observer

Robert and Stephanie Tyan, center, and their sons Brayden, left, and Aspen, right, pose with the foreign exchange students they are hosting this year, Arthur Laveran of France and Carina Tappert of Germany.

This is the last installment of the Observer series on this year's Kimball High foreign exchange students.

"Are you willing to keep me?" Was the question asked by one foreign exchange student. Stephanie Tyan replied without hesitation, "Of course."

As the coronavirus creates worry and confusion for the foreign exchange students, both Arthur Laveran and Carina Tappert know they have a place to call home and people that care about them here in the United States no matter what happens.

Robert and Stephanie Tyan and their two sons, Brayden, 18, and Aspen, 12, have opened their home up to two foreign exchange students this year.

"We knew what we were getting into because we had fostered children previously. Everything is good," Stephanie said with a laughed. "You would never know they haven't lived together forever because they tease one another and my boys are such jokesters."

The family had a cruise planned for April, but it appears that it will fall through, although they

are playing "everything by ear." When Arthur and Carina arrived, the Tyans took a trip to the

Black Hills, and the cruise was to be their next adventure together.

Stephanie works in Cheyenne and her husband, Robert, works for the Union Pacific. He is in the Portland area, so every other week, Stephanie has the household and kids all to herself.

When Arthur talks about his host family, the Tyans, he said, "I love my family. I love my host parents. I will be very sad when I go." But he ended on an uplifting note as he said, "I will come back in a few

years to see them."

Arthur Laveran, 17, came to Kimball from Paris, France. When he returns to Paris, he will have

two years of school left. Saturday is just another school day in France. After he finishes school in

France, he must take a "big exam" that all French students must take. If he passes the

exam, he will graduate.

Even in the mist of this coronavirus, Arthur reflects on his experiences here and has enjoyed it.

As a rugby player, Arthur took on American football.

"It was so cool," he said.

Football season was at the very beginning of his experience here and his English wasn't that good so it

was difficult to understand plays and instructions, but he mostly played defense because he

could tackle good.

Although not a basketball player before, Arthur went out for the sport and improved over the

season. Of course, they have basketball in France, but he had never played.

Today, it is impossible to talk to a foreign exchange student without mentioning the coronavirus.

Arthur's parents have a bit more experience with the coronavirus, as France appears to be a few weeks ahead of the United States. They expect the worst to come in 10 days.The French are concerned and don't want France to become like Italy.

His parents feel like the situation is under control. Currently, Arthur's parents cannot leave their home due to the coronavirus. Beginning on Thursday, all of France was required to stay in their homes.

Even over the phone, one could hear the concern in his voice about his parents when he said, "I am very worried about them."

He considered going home, but his mother was worried about the virus on the planes and they felt he was more secure here. It would appear that his parents have had the virus because they had the

symptoms for four or five days and were feeling bad, but they have not developed any

complications, so he was somewhat relieved.

"They are a little better now," he said.

Arthur's dad is a businessman with many interests, but travel and hotels are one of his primary

businesses, and his mom owns a jewelry shop in Paris. Arthur is aware that it is a "difficult time,"

especially in the travel industry. Arthur has a younger sister at home, and she apparently has not contracted the virus.

Now that school is not in session in Kimball, he spends his time playing video games with French friends and talking to his parents, and of course do his work for school here. He is thinking now is the time to write the book he has been thinking about, the book would be on his grandmother.

In addition to Arthur, the Tyans are hosting Carina Tappert. Hamburg, Germany, is the home of 17-year-old Carina.

When asked about her foreign exchange family, Carina said, "They are really, really lovely people. They are like family. I am pretty happy to be in this family."

While in school in Kimball, Carina was the volleyball manager and then played basketball. She

had gone out for track, but the present situation has probably cancelled the track season.

As for now, she keeps busy with online schoolwork, talking to her family and just chilling in her room.

When she returns to Germany, Carina will have three more years of high school left.

Of course, the coronavirus has affected many countries, including Germany. According to Carina,

they are thinking about shutting everything down and putting everyone in quarantine. She said

her parents are kind of worried about her, but "we will get through it."

Although her parents are still working, they try to stay home as much as possible, and the schools in Germany have been shut down for five to six weeks.

Since she was little, Carina had always wanted to be a foreign exchange student.

"I think it is cool to be part of another family and learn the language," she said.

She has thoroughly enjoyed all the new experiences here in the United States.

Carina knows that the Tyans will always have their home open to them, however long this

coronavirus situation lasts.


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