More than a Vacation

By Kayla Smithgall

For the 2016-2017 school year, SHS has become the host of eight foreign exchange students from around the world. These eight students represent five different countries.

Juniors Supassara Aunjai (Mona) and Saengchat Theerakitpaisal (Chat) and sophomore Suwidchayapol Nimkul (Magmai) are from Thailand, freshman Souen Kim (Sharon) and sophomore Shinyu Park represent South Korea, junior Ons Laroussi is from Tunisia, junior Amela Nevaljalović comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina and junior Lihsin Yang (Michelle) lives in

Sharon and Shinyu both live in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

Magmai, Mona and Chat all live in various parts of Thailand. Magmai lives in Chiang Mai, Mona lives in Phetchabun and Chat lives in Trang.

Although Chat lives in Trang, she studies in Bangkok, which is 11 hours away.

Ons is from a big city called Sfax and Amela is from Breza, a small town that is 30 minutes away from the capital, Sarajevo.

Michelle has a similar background to Chat; she lives in Taiwan but she attends a boarding school in Dongguan, China.

Even though the majority of the exchange students are from large cities, they all like Sterling.

“I like Sterling, but it is very, very different,” said Chat.

Mona, Ons and Magmai are feeling a little homesick, while the rest of the students are not missing home too much.

“Because I go to a boarding school, I am used to not seeing my family a lot,” said Michelle.

“I don’t really miss my family but I miss my cat, Dalma,” Sharon said.

Shinyu is excited to experience another country. Chat, Magmai and Mona all hope to better their English by spending time in America. Amela and Ons both would like to experience the American culture, while sharing their own culture.

“I want to have my own, personal experiences,” said Mona.

“I hope to have a good year and make lots of memories,” Amela said.

Many of the students also said that the biggest difference between their country and America is the food. For Mona, the weather is also very different.

For Ons and Amela, there is a big difference in education.

“At my school, we are assigned to 13 subjects. We don’t switch classes; we switch teachers. We also don’t have any stadiums, we just have one gym where we play all of our sports,” said Amela.

“My school starts at 8 and goes until 6. We also have school on Saturdays,” said Ons.

Between the eight students, they can speak a total of 12 languages: English, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Turkish. Multiple students are also studying Spanish while they are here.

Amela, Ons, Shinyu, Chat and Mona are all in Cross Country. Amela will also be playing soccer in the spring and Magmai will be joining the SHS track team.

“I like watching basketball, but I don’t like playing it,” said Magmai.

In South Korea, Sharon played on her school’s varsity handball team.

Michelle’s favorite class is finance and her favorite teacher is Paula Etl. Both Mona and Sharon like Biology. Ons enjoys Chemistry. Sharon’s favorite teacher is Kirby Feaver. Amela loves theater class and enjoys having Lisa Schumacher as her PE coach. Shinyu and Chat both enjoy American History. Chat’s favorite teacher is Cheryl Rael and Shinyu’s is Nelson Schroeder. Ons and Mona both enjoy having Chelsea Scott as their teacher and enjoy their Digital Photography class. Magmai’s favorite teacher is Marilyn Fehringer and he likes his art class.

In their free time, Chat, Sharon, Mona and Amela enjoy watching movies. Shinyu likes to read, Magmai enjoys listening to music and Ons likes to dance. Michelle enjoys reading, writing, cooking and sports.

Back row: Chat, Ons, Mona, Amela, Sharon and Michelle. Front row: Magmai and Shinyu.

I truly enjoyed interviewing each exchange student. They are all very nice and it is so cool to learn about them. I hope students at SHS will take the time to get to know them. You will not regret it!