Keene Central school is welcoming six exchange students for the second year as part of its International Student Program. The students include, from left Seungyeol “Paul” Ko, Draf Boonrut, Zoran Karapetrovic, Sara Francino, Clara Garcia and Fie Tims.
For the second school year, Keene Central will host some new friends from all over the world.
The 2013 class of students that are participating in the International Students Program at KCS come from several diverse countries, including Thailand, South Korea, Serbia, Denmark, Spain and Brazil.
“I think that these students are just amazing,” program coordinator Joy McCabe said. “We have three new countries represented this year in Thailand, Denmark and Serbia. We were happy to hear that we were getting a boy from Eastern Europe.”
The students have come to America on academic visas and will spend the year learning at Keene.
“We are looking for a student who is strong academically and looking to go on to further their education, perhaps here in the United States,” McCabe said. “They take all of the regents exams and perform along with our students.”
The students were given a chance to meet members of the Keene community at a special picnic held for their arrival at the community center, where each talked about their new adventure and what they had been able to take in so far.
“It is really beautiful here, and the people are really good and really accepting,” said Sara Francino, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “Everyone wants to help. I wanted to come here to experience the American culture and to get better with my English.”
“It is really nice to see everything and the differences from Korea,” Seungyeol “Paul” Ko said. “They are all kind people that I have met. I love the nature and at night, when it gets really quiet. It’s good to sleep.”
“I love the nature and the people that I have met,” said Fie Tims, of Denmark. “I always dreamt about going out as an exchange student because I like traveling and meeting new people. I know that the culture will be different, and I know that I am going to learn more about myself and meet a lot of new friends and family.”
“I want to meet and have many new friends,” said Draf Boonrut, of Thailand. “I want to practice my English skills.”
“When I was a child I wanted to come here and learn more,” said Zoran Karapetrovic, of Serbia. “I wanted to get the experience here, meet new people and improve my English. I want to get my diploma and stay here to try and get into college.”
“I love that there are a lot of trees, and it is very green,” said Clara Garcia, of Spain. “I wanted to come and see if the American culture is like we see in the movies. I want to get a good level of English learning, make some new friends and have fun.”
The students will get to be a part of the Keene school community and, in turn, the students and town will have the chance to learn about them.
“Last year the whole town had a weekend celebration for the students and the students presented an international night at the school,” McCabe said. “On the last day of school, the students organized a give back picnic to the community.”
The students will live with host families throughout the school year and will also have additional support families to help them.
“The host families are so excited to be a part of something so big,” McCabe said.