Foreign Exchange Students Share Their Experience

As we begin the new school year, we have a few unfamiliar faces joining us. They are not just the average transfer students we receive each year either. Estonian, Korean, and other cultures are joining us this year through the FLEX program. FLEX stands for Future Leaders Exchange, which gives students from Europe and Eurasia the opportunity to travel to the United States. These students stay in the United States for around a year, and study and complete the entire school year at Connersville High school. We have five FLEX students here this year so far.  According to these students, the United States is different in many aspects.

One student is Johanna Tammik, who travelled from Estonia to the United States. Tammick was greeted by her host family in the airport with excitement on both ends. Tammik’s first thought was, “I can’t wait to start my life here”. At CHS, Tammik is so far involved in two choirs, academic team, theatre, and is a member of the French club. According to Tammick, her host family is “amazing” and she says that she “couldn’t ask for anything more”. When asked what her favorite thing about CHS has been so far, she replied, “people, everywhere I go people are so welcoming and nice”. If you see Johanna around the building, make sure to say hello and continue showing her the CHS hospitality.

Mutiara Permono is another FLEX student attending CHS this year. Permono travelled from Indonesia to Indiana. Once she arrived in the United States, she was concerned about the environment. “ I thought it [would] be harder, because this is my first time [I] will live among new people,”Permono said.  At CHS, Permono has not yet joined any clubs “but will choose some clubs” once she adjusts. Her favorite thing about CHS has by far been the teachers. Permono stated, “they [teachers] are all really nice and every teacher [has] their own unique way to teach students.”Permono said that she is most excited “to experience the [difference] of education from to United States with Indonesia”.  Mutiara is so far enjoying CHS, so make sure she continues to enjoy the experience.

     Italian student, Livia Dallai, arrived in the United States and was unsure about how this experience would go for her. Dallai said, “[she] was really nervous and anxious because [she] didn’t know what to expect”. Upon her arrival, the calm in the storm was her host family. Dallai said that she, “loves [her] host family”, and since the moment she met them they have made her “feel part of them”. Now that she is settled in, she has joined French club, and hopes to enjoy some other activities. Her favorite thing about CHS so far, is that “people are kind to [her] and it’s not to much stressing”. Dallai is around the building all day, so do not hesitate to say hello.

Julia Ciepiela is a Polish exchange student at CHS. Ciepiela travelled to Indiana from Poland. Ciepiela said that once she arrived in the United States her first thought was “Wow you have American Flags everywhere.” She was “a little bit scared at first,” but now she is “doing well.” Ciepiela said she is, “most excited about people that I meet because my culture is much different than Americans”.  Now that she has settled in and started attending CHS, she really enjoys SRE. Ciepiela says that it is, “very helpful and also the teachers are very friendly”. If you happen to bump into Julia at school, make sure to give her a warm welcome.

The final exchange student is Seoyeon Choi. Choi travelled to Indiana from Korea. When Choi arrived in the United States, she felt very “peaceful and relaxed.” Now that Choi is attending school at CHS, her favorite thing has been color-guard. Choi is a member of “theater crew, community choir, and math academic team.” Choi’s host family has supported her in all of these choices as well. They have been showing much love to her. Choi has enjoyed her experience so far, but is excited to “cruise the Hudson river, go to New York, and go to Times Square.”

If you happen to see any of these students around the building, make sure to make them feel welcome. If you have a sport or club you think they may be interested in trying, let them know about it. These students are trying to make the most of their experience in the United States, so do not hesitate to invite them to activities and make them feel welcome!