Congratulations Nacel Open Door Star, Ivan!

Ivan and host brother

Siyu, known locally as Ivan, was nominated as a NOD Star by his Coordinator and host mother, Lydia Colarusso, and his Local Representative, Hope Egolf. Ivan is from China and has been participating in Nacel Open Door (NOD)’s Private School Program in Pennsylvania since the fall of 2023. In Hope’s nomination, she said, “I can't single out just one of his attributes, because this young man has many. Ivan is kind, thoughtful, dependable, charming, funny, smart, a great athlete, and from what I hear from his host family, he is wonderful and easy to be with and live with. Really, what more could a Local Rep ask for? He is certainly a star in my book!”
Ivan before bike race with host family
After reading about Ivan and his passion for cycling and basketball, Lydia knew he was perfect for their family. They live within a couple miles of a cycling park where Olympic medalists have visited, and Ivan wasted no time before hopping on his bike and joining these trained cyclists who ride for several hours together on the weekends. When he isn’t cycling, he is playing basketball with a group of kids in their neighborhood who very quickly became his friends. Ivan excels in school and has been accepted to several colleges and universities in the states, and has been offered a few scholarships for next year. Lydia and her family are very excited to see where his future will take him, and their door will always be open for a holiday break to Ivan and all of their “international kids” they’ve hosted over the years.

Ivan shared some of his thoughts with NOD on his experience studying in Pennsylvania.

  • Studying here in America has been super interesting! Classes are more interactive than I was used to, and there's always something going on after school, from sports to clubs. It's all about applying what you learn and really getting involved.
  • Moving here made me way more independent. I've gotten better at handling my schedule, money, and just daily life.
  • I also am appreciating the different cultures. Being around students from all over the world has opened my eyes, and I've learned so much about other cultures, which is really cool.
  • Campus life here blew me away with its diversity and the sheer number of resources for students. I didn’t expect to have access to so many cool opportunities.
  • Staying with a host family has been awesome. They’ve made me feel right at home and have taught me so much about American culture. It's like having a second family.
  • Comparing his U.S. school to China: Here, there’s a big focus on actually doing things and learning by experience, not just memorizing facts. Plus, there's a lot of support for personal growth.

Ivan would say to anyone considering studying abroad, “Definitely consider it! It's been an amazing journey that's challenged me in the best ways and helped me grow. Plus, the experiences and friendships I've made are priceless.”

Thank you, Ivan, for being one of NOD’s Stars and standout U.S. Ambassadors!

To learn more about being a NOD Host Family or Local Representative visit

Ivan - decorated door for CNY   Ivan - tea with host father   Hope Egolf with Allentown students for CNY