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Cornelius Cooks

Cornelius family hosts exchange student from Spain


The Wells family from Jetton Cove played host to Iker Garcia de Vicuna, a 14-year-old exchange student from Bilboa, Spain. The Wells were one of three local families in the Lake Norman area housing teens from Spain as part of the Hi5-Linx exchange organization. For Iker (pronounced eake-er) it was a fascinating month.

“I found the people here very friendly,” he said during an exclusive interview with Cornelius Today. “We had great fun at the pool, the park, and in the lake too.”

Iker said the one aspect of Cornelius life which took him by surprise was the fact that “people need a car to pretty much go or do anything.” With twin sisters and a brother back home, he will be telling them about the “delicious pizza” at Brooklyn South. “We never have pepperoni pizza like that back home.”

His stay was an equally rewarding experience for the Wells family. “Our son, Alec, is about the same age so that worked out real well” said Gina Wells. “Iker fit in real well with our sons’ friends, and he was a delight to have in our home.”

According to Melissa Pinto, program coordinator for the Hi-5 outreach, that’s done on purpose. “We match the students with host families that have children around the same ages with similar interests. Besides learning about the culture and maybe a few Spanish words, we are hoping to build lifelong friendships that cross borders and oceans,” she said.

Families interested in hosting an exchange student during next summer are urged to contact Pinto at Melissa.hi5linx@gmail.com or by calling 704-961-8755.