Welcome Back, Danish Kid

Five years ago, the wish was made. Three years later the plan was set in motion. Now, in the fall season of his senior year, Andy Epps has already experienced the biggest adventure of his youth; a year of exchange in Denmark. How can any senior top that? Well, Andy plans to enrich his final year as a student at BRFHS.

 Epps took part in an AFS foreign exchange in Denmark from July 29, 2009 to June 25, 2010. Can you imagine being apart from your friends and family, not sleeping in your bed, or not playing your favorite sports for 332 days of any given year? Epps had the curiosity to take on the challenge of living a year abroad. He has been back in BRF for about three months and is still adjusting to the simple things at home.

 Upon his arrival to Chicago, Epps was greeted by his parents Lois and Tom Epps, brother Aaron Epps and other immediate family. He described his reunion as overwhelming.

 “There were a lot of emotions,” said Epps.

 He was very excited to come home, however he felt mixed emotions. He described his homecoming as limbo. It was like a dividing line between Epps’s relationships developed in Denmark, to his relationships at home that he was working to rebuild. He mentioned that his friends sometimes say, “Oh, yeah! You weren’t here,” when reminiscing about last school year.

 “I don’t know how to respond,” said Epps.

 Since his homecoming, Epps has been “fitting in” easily at school.

 “I feel like I’ve changed, but I am still the same person,” said Epps.

 Andy has plenty on his plate to keep him busy senior year, such as a rigorous academic schedule.

 “I’m taking AP English and AP History. Also Writing I and Spanish III. I have the most homework in AP U.S. History,” said Andy.

 He was not able to fit Choir into his senior schedule.  However, he plans to stay involved in the music department this year.

  “Of course I will [participate in the musical].”

 Epps is also a member of the cross country team, National Honor Society (NHS), Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and the tennis team. Since his year abroad, he has become a volunteer for AFS, the foreign exchange company he worked with.

 “Being a volunteer for AFS I am able to help exchange students in our areas adjust to living in the United States. I travel to small camps and we do fun activities to help the students feel more comfortable,” said Epps.

 The biggest change in his daily routine since his return is his mode of transportation. While in Denmark he experienced a very different public transportation system and he grew to like the variety very much.

 “I plan to ride my bike to school every day. It’s not a perfect bike, but it gets me from point A to B. I am prepared with my suit for all seasons; it can withstand the wind, snow and rain,” said Epps.

 “I encourage others to pedal their bicycles instead of pushing the gas pedal every once and a while,” said Epps.

 Overall, Andy plans to stay organized in order to stay on track during his senior year.