Home Away from Home: Former BV foreign exchange student returns for American college education, continues living with host family

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Alyssa Hess, Staff Writer

Can you imagine telling your mom you have decided to go to college in a completely different country? What would her reaction be? Would she cry? Scream? Think you were completely out of your mind?
This is an extremely similar conversation that former Blue Valley foreign exchange student Ani Mamisashvili had with her mother not too long ago.
The thing is — she wasn’t out of her mind or joking around in any way at all.
Mamisashvili was a foreign exchange student from Georgia who came to BV last year as a senior.
She is back in the United States going to college at Johnson County Community College (JCCC). She said she thinks it’s a good fit for now, but she plans on going to a bigger university later.
“I’m taking general education classes now — Composition 1, Pre-Calc, Psychology and Russian,” she said. “For my Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, I want to do International Law.”
Mamisashvili is in International Club and a Bible Study group called Intervarsity Club at JCCC. She said she tries to volunteer sometimes, too.
“I’m trying to get a job, but since I’m here on student visa, I can only work on campus,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to find a job on campus.”
Along with many other things, Mamisashvili said a main reason for coming back to the United States was BV.
“Blue Valley is the one that taught me all this educational system,” she said. “People were so nice in Blue Valley — everybody was so friendly. If I didn’t have such a good experience in high school, I don’t think I’d want to come back.”
She said she tries to keep in touch with last year’s high school friends, but they all went to college, so she doesn’t see them much.
She said her family back in Russia was OK with her coming back to the United States.
“They were missing me for the whole year, so they were very happy to see me,” she said. “They obviously didn’t want to let me go again, but they know it’s for a good purpose and for my, hopefully, good career.”
She said she wants to visit Georgia within the next 18 months.
“I have a five-year visa, so I’m thinking about going next summer or next winter,” she said.
She is living with the same host family — Michael, Amy and Kaylee Morbeck — as she was last year. They said they are blessed to have her back with them this year.
“She is an amazing girl, so to hear that she was able to come back to America for college made me so happy I cried — happy tears that is,” host mother Amy said. “It was not easy for her to come back, so I also felt very, very proud of her.”
Amy said she has seen improvement in Mamisashvili’s English, but other than that, she hasn’t changed much.
“That’s one of the great things about Ani — she is always authentically herself,” Amy said. “She’s always been outgoing and funny and insightful, so she hasn’t really changed a lot.”
Mamisashvili said she and her host family do many fun things together.
“We go to lots of festivals,” she said. “Everything I do is so fun because they’re so awesome, and I’m so thankful for them. I’m so lucky they got to choose me. The way we support each other and love each other is awesome.”