Scott County High School has had many foreign exchange students this year. They all have their reasons for wanting to come here, but most importantly they have come to learn and experience the United States for themselves. Three of our foreign exchange students are Vemund Andersen, Melissa Nahairy, and Eunseo Kwon (May). Each student has a story to tell about what it’s like for them to be here and what their life is like back home.
Melissa Nahairy lives in Kristiansand, Norway, which is a city by the coast. She is 17 years old and is in her senior year of high school at Scott County. Nahairy was able to come to the United States through the Education First program.
Nahairy says it’s been “good but hard” because she has had to make adjustments to the language and culture here. She has noticed many differences, from the amount of sugar that’s in bread to how the schools work. Nahairy misses Norwegian water, quiet toilet flushes, doorknobs, but most importantly her family.
Back home she had a job, hung out with friends, and played handball, which is a game she described as “basketball mixed with lacrosse and soccer.” Nahairy wishes to tell readers that if you were to ever go to Norway, you should know that “We are Vikings, and we are as aggressive as your toilet flush.”
Vemund Andersen lives in Oslo, Norway, the capital of the country. He is 17 years old in his senior year at Scott County High School. He, like Nahairy, came over with the Education First program.
Andersen’s time here has been good, but Scott County is different from where he comes from. Mostly how the country travels. For many of the cities in the United States, and especially Georgetown, a car is the easiest and most popular way to get around; in Norway, there is much more urbanization, which allows many to ride public transportation, such as a bus.
Andersen states there is a lot different in America, but one big thing that he has noticed is that the weather is much milder in the states than in Norway. He wished to tell anyone who plans on visiting Norway to “bring a jacket”. Additionally, American sweets will never compare to those in Norway, as he says he misses the Norwegian Chocolate that he had back home.
May lives in South Korea in the city Gimpo; she is 16 years old and in her Junior year here in Scott County. She came over with the program Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).
Kwon says her time here has been “amazing”, but it’s been hard adjusting. She explained that she has less time to enjoy herself back home and must focus on schoolwork, try to make a good grade, and prepare for college. Nevertheless, the middle school she went to was a small all-girls school, so she bonded the people there and has never forgotten the time she spent there.
When Kwon goes back to Korea, she says that she will return to her high school and prepare for college. She will be with her family, friends, and her dog Eongdongie – everyone that she misses immensely. Kwon said “I want people to know about my country, about the language… Korean is a very creative and unique language. And I think our language looks very pretty.”
When a foreign exchange student comes to Scott County High School, not only do they bring a small piece of their home, but they leave with a small piece of where they’ve visited. The town and its school have now become a part of their stories and history.