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Freshman Natalie Dewhurst has traveled to 11 countries

Natalie Dewhurst

From hosting 5 foreign exchange students to voyaging all over Europe, freshman Natalie Dewhurst has been painted with countless cultures and experiences not seen by many of her peers. She has traveled to 11 different countries in 5 years; England, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Wales. This summer she plans to add 2 more countries to her list, Portugal and Italy.

Traveling has been an important aspect of Dewhurst’s upbringing. Her father, Geoff Dewhurst valued not only being exposed to different cultures and people, but he also had a strong appreciation for the history of the countries as well, which Natalie enjoys. 

“We believe that the broader the view the more opportunity our kids can see for themselves.  As her parents, we just want our kids to see the opportunities and we pushed that through travel.”

In 2019, Natalie and her family went to Germany and the Netherlands, where they toured a Concentration camp and went to Anne Franks’s house. 

“I’m really into WWII. My dad is like a big history guy so on these trips he always tries to make it so that they’re joined in history with them. So you’re learning, and also traveling the world, which is really cool to me,” Natalie said. 

When Dewhurst was 8 years old her family hosted their first foreign exchange student, Tobias Meader who was from Switzerland. That experience of hosting their first foreign exchange student sparked their interest in traveling so that summer the Dewhurst’s went to England and Switzerland. She and her family usually spend the whole summer abroad, with England being the most visited since they have family there. 

“I love England. I have definitely been there the most so I love it as a place, but the prettiest and coolest would have to be Switzerland,” Natalie said.

After hosting Tobias, the following school year (2017-18) the Dewhurst’s hosted Simon (pronounced See-moan) Hubner from Spain. Then Vincent Van Ramen from the Netherlands and Victor Streel from Belgium in 2018-19. And in the 2019-2020 school year they hosted Filo Scavolini from Italy, however, due to Covid restrictions/precautions at the height of the pandemic, Filo was sent home early. It wasn’t until this school year that the Dewhurst’s were able to host again, welcoming Eduardo Galindo Van Zeller from Portugal. 

“I’ve had a really good relationship with all of my foreign exchange students. I consider them all like my brother, they’re my family. Even if you’re not blood-related, doesn’t mean you aren’t a family or related in a way,” Natalie said.

Natalie Dewhurst

With 3 older brothers and 5 older foreign exchange brothers, as Natalie travels, she has family all around Europe she can visit.

“She has family in most of the countries she has visited.  So when she leaves home, she finds a bit of her home waiting for her.  She usually doesn’t have much time to feel anxious because she is having such a good time with her brothers, cousins, and friends,” Geoff explained.   

"Edwardo and I have a really good relationship, he’s like my bestfriend. I’ve been really close with Edwardo since the first day I met him in the car. I remember my dad was like, ‘oh yea, we definitely picked the right person. We clicked pretty fast. And we’re also not that far apart, only like 2 years.”

Natalie Dewhurst (left) and Edwardo Galindo Van Zeller (right) pose for a picture after the last football game of the season in Oct. 2021.

Though there are some challenges with bringing home a new family member, especially from another country, at some point each foreign exchange student the Dewhurst’s have hosted has broken out of their shells.

“It does take some getting used to because obviously it’s a new person in your house and you don’t know them but when you know them, usually around Thanksgiving time their real personality starts to come out and you really start to get to know them better,” Natalie said.

FAMIGLIA (Dewhurst House) : Left to right: Jonah Dewhurst, Josh Dewhurst, Natalie Dewhurst and Filo Scavolini (center).

Natalie would like to continue to travel throughout her life, as she has learned the importance of having a “world view,” as her father says.

“After my senior year, I want to do a summer and go help the poorer countries, and help build and provide for them. You get to see the world, and help people, which is something I am really interested in,” Natalie said. 

She would like to hopefully attend Oxford University in England after she graduates in 2026 to study culinary or something in the film industry. Traveling to many different countries has exposed Natalie to many different styles of cuisine. Despite being a picky eater, some of her favorites are “croquetas,” which are fried bechamel sauce fritters, as well as churros and chocolate you eat in the morning from Spain. And in England, one of her favorite places to eat food is at the pubs.

“They put malt vinegar on their fries, which is literally like the best thing in the whole world, and a lot of fish and chips.”

Natalie says the croissants in France are “sooo good.”

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