NAMPA -- Dozens of exchange students, mostly from Europe, came to the Treasure Valley last summer and Saturday night they experienced Americana in Nampa at the Professional Bull Riding competition. Many said they learned about American culture and become more confident and independent through their exchange experience.

In Europe we have some stereotypes about Americans and America and then you come here and see those people welcome you with open arms, said Oliver Wenzke, an exchange student from Germany.

Host parent Kathy Jordan said she taught her exchange student from Germany all about the Gem State.

It's been really wonderful, Idaho's a great state, said Jordan.

Jordan's exchange student, Elisa Krautkraemer, said she did not have any expectation of what her experience would be like.

I actually never heard of Idaho before, said Krautkraemer.

She wasn't the only student who had never heard of Idaho. Many had to look it up on a map. Most of them had never seen bull riding or real cowboys.

A couple of them were laughing about the different way that they dress because they're from Europe so they're not exposed to that, said Jordan. But nonetheless it's a part of our American culture and we're very proud of it.

There are still spots available throughout the Treasure Valley to host an exchange student for the 2014-2015 school year. Contact Maureen Tyczka at 208-340-1788 or for more information. You can also check out the website at

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