18 Years Old, 6,000 Miles From Home

Russian Nikita Kolesnikov is Groom’s New Foreign Exchange Student


Eighteen-year-old Nick Kolesnikov and freshman Halle Barkley pose together before Homecoming coronation. Kolesnikov was voted on court after being in America for only a month. One of his first U.S. experiences included learning how a Texas homecoming worked, complete with GHS traditions in full effect.

By Caroline Britten, Groom High School

His journey began in Moscow, Russia, a city with almost 12 million people. He flew 18 hours just to come to Groom, Texas, a town with the population of 563. Nikita Kolesnikov, more commonly known as “Nick” at Groom High School, is participating in a foreign exchange program and is spending his second senior year halfway across the world from everything that he’d grown to know.

Eighteen-year-old Kolesnikov is living in a world totally opposite from his life in Russia. He has come from a home with no pets and no siblings, to the Jay and Tacy Lamb family’s house. Residents there include goats, chickens, four dogs, a cat, a horse, a talking bird named Lucy and four children.

“(The biggest adjustment) I guess is getting used to changes like speaking a different language everyday, playing American football and meeting new people.” Kolesnikov said.

Although the changes he has undergone may seem intimidating, Kolesnikov has faced his life experiences with a sense of adventure. One of the first challenges he undertook included learning a foreign language.

“(I was interested in) Starting a new life, getting to know new people, and practicing English,” Kolesnikov said. “I took it (English) from the age of seven.”

Eighteen-year-old Kolesnikov is living in a world totally opposite from his life in Russia.”

Kolesnikov has already been through senior year once and has graduated from high school in Russia. Now, he is repeating the year all over again-except this time in the United States.

“I took some English test in March,” Kolesnikov said. “I passed it, and then I received an invitation here in July.”

Kolesnikov has joined the Lamb family, who have two kids out of school and two children still in school. Seventh-grader Gunner Lamb and sophomore Chelsey Lamb have adjusted well to the new face in their household.

“It has been just like having my older brother at home again,” Chelsey Lamb said. “Complete with the arguing.”

Being a part of the foreign exchange student program hasn’t only been the dream of Kolesnikov – Tacy Lamb, Nick’s “mom” here, has also wanted to play a role in the program.

“I’ve always wanted to host a foreign exchange student,” Tacy Lamb said. “Now with two kids in college, we have a space to do it.”