Foreign Exchange Students Enhance WSHS Campus Life

Exchange+student+Nutrada+Ketanun+is+on+the+far+right.+%28Courtesy+of+Winter+Springs+Artoberfest%29
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Foreign Exchange Students Enhance WSHS Campus Life

Exchange student Nutrada Ketanun is on the far right. (Courtesy of Winter Springs Artoberfest)

Exchange student Nutrada Ketanun is on the far right. (Courtesy of Winter Springs Artoberfest)

Exchange student Nutrada Ketanun is on the far right. (Courtesy of Winter Springs Artoberfest)

Exchange student Nutrada Ketanun is on the far right. (Courtesy of Winter Springs Artoberfest)

Riley Hazel, Lead Staff Writer

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Exchange students are increasing in size here at WSHS. Nutrada Ketanun, an exchange student herself from Thailand, is just one.

An exchange student is a scholar who studies abroad typically for one year. While they are in the program, the accepted students stay with a host family and attend classes at a local school, all while submerging themselves in a new culture, potentially learning a new language.

“The benefits [of the program include learning] another language, [making] more friends, and of course, [stepping] out of your comfort zone”, says Ketanun.

Ketanun traveled to the US through an exchange program called the “Rotary Youth Exchange Program”. The program’s website reinforces the idea that the experience given through their program will be the most “memorable and adventurous” years of one’s life.

Michael Murray, Assistant Director of Recruiting Office of Admissions for the program says, “Colleagues in higher education…see international exchanges as valuable opportunities to transcend the traditional classroom experience.”

Although, being a foreign exchange student is new and stimulating, it has its downfalls. Often times, the students struggle to find friends because of the different atmosphere. Some students even experience culture shock. Ketanun puts it this way:

“Obviously, to make an American friend is not easy…for example, [during my first month here,] just a small group of people opened up to me. I think one of the reasons for this, was that they don’t [aware] of the situations [the students are put in]”.

However, Ketanun overcame this challenge and now has an abundance of friends to hang out with.  In addition to meeting new friends, Ketanun has enjoyed the benefits of learning a new language, experiencing a new culture and growing as a person.  She expressed her gratitude for the encouragement and support of her own family, her host family, friends, other exchange students and the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.

Foreign exchange programs allow students to immerse themselves in a new environment with diverse cultures. If you are interested in hosting a foreign exchange or are interested becoming one yourself, visit www.youthexchangefl.org.

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