Eight international exchange students representing Japan, Sweden, Spain, Germany and Mexico are spending this year attending Stow-Munroe Falls High School to learn about the United States’ educational system, culture and perhaps playing on any one of the school’s sports teams.
“This is the largest group of international students we have had at one time since we began hosting students through the International Student Exchange, Youth for Understanding and AFS programs. What a wonderful opportunity this presents for our students,” said Kathy Thomas, administrator at SMFHS.
“Most of this year’s visiting exchange students have already traveled to our country prior to attending SMFHS. Their attendance provides our students a unique look at other countries through the eyes of their international peers, while all of our young people learn about similarities and differences of other cultures around the globe,” said Thomas.
Markus Doering, Lena Heise and David Hotten of Germany, along with Andrea Guttierrez and Ezequiel Rosalis of Mexico, Pablo Ruiz-Godoy of Spain, Ikua Urata of Japan and Sofie VonSchenk of Sweden were invited to attend a meeting with administrators at the high school. And some of them also met each other for the first time during that meeting.
“As a child, I always wanted to know more about the people of America and learn about the culture, holidays, movies, music and customs,” said Andrea. “My favorite things in the United States so far are pizza, Sweet Frog and Handels!”
Each of the students brimmed with excitement at the prospect of what their future, while in Stow, holds for them. Whether trying out for a sports team, participating in open gym with their peers or attending class and studying chemistry, the students hope to experience as much American culture as possible.
The international students spoke of what their expectations had been and what they had experienced thus far, and all of them agreed that the one thing they definitely like is the music in America.
Administrators plan to arrange a visit for the exchange students to Indian Trail Elementary School, where the International Baccalaureate Programme is part of the curriculum. The students will have an opportunity to visit several of the other buildings in the district, as well.