2010 Sep 09: Foreign exchange student goes home to Kazakhstan (PIE)

Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010

Mix-up prevented her from being enrolled in Frederick High School
by Katherine Heerbrandt | Staff Writer

A foreign exchange student who was denied entrance into Frederick County Public Schools this semester returned to her home country of Kazakhstan last week.

Taissiya Kryazhova had hoped to be a student at Frederick High School, but a mix-up with her entrance paperwork and other complications prevented her enrollment.

She was a scholarship student in the Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Pacific Intercultural Exchange, based in California.

Her host family, Gerry and Peg Marose of Frederick, tried to enroll her in Frederick Christian Academy, but she was sent to a host family in Massachusetts instead.

According to John M. Doty, president of the Pacific Intercultural Exchange, Kryazhova asked to return to her home country while in Massachusetts. Kryazhova had expressed her unhappiness with the situation in several e-mails to the Maroses.

In an e-mail to the Maroses, Doty called the situation “one misunderstanding after another,” and thanked them for the advocacy and care they provided Kryazhova during her brief stay in Frederick.

The Committee for the Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, a nonprofit also based in California, reported the Pacific Intercultural Exchange organization to the U.S. Department of State, saying the organization violated regulations by not having Kryazhova enrolled in school before she came to the U.S.

Doty countered in an e-mail that he had addressed the allegations with the Department of State, and that interpretations of his organization’s role in the fiasco are “inaccurate.”

The Maroses said in an e-mail they were “extremely saddened” that Taya was sent to Massachusetts.

“This has been an experience that none of us will forget,” the Maroses said in the e-mail. “We are grateful for the community response to the needs of the wonderful student and especially to those in the media that have championed on Taya’s behalf.”

The Maroses said they have been in touch with Yerlan Kubashev, counsel of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York, who requested contact information for those involved in Kryazhova’s stay in the U.S.

The Maroses assured Kubashev they are happy to assist.

“Taissiya worked all her life to earn the right to the FLEX scholarship, and I am appalled that we were not able to truly welcome her to America with open arms.”

kheerbrandt@gazette.net

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Pacific Intercultural’s downfall

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