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Foreign exchange students experience educational, cultural differences here
at Boscobel High School
FEx students
FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT Michal Mike Nguyen of the Slovak Republic is seen being held by fellow exchange students, from left, Emmi Reini (Finland), Line Fischer (Germany), Isariya Issy Chantarat (Thailand) and Tamara Smeding (Belgium). - photo by Erin Martin

When students choose to travel from around the world to attend high school in the United States, it’s rarely the academic education they are coming for. It’s the experience of living within another culture, the chance to grow and become more independent that brings them here.

This year’s group of foreign exchange students at Boscobel High School is no different. They are mostly European, though one hails from Thailand.

Meet the students

Tamara Smeding, 18, hails from Overijse, Belgium, with a population of just over 24,000—though she was born and raised in Holland until the age of four. She has already graduated from high school, so this year is her gap year while she decides what she wants to do academically. Her host parents are Travis and Roelie Dregne.

Isariya (Issy) Chantarat comes to us from Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. The city has a population of 8.2 million, with 14.5 million living in the metropolitan area. The 17-year-old’s host parent is Michelle Burbach. Isariya will have a choice when she returns, to go back and repeat the year, graduating with her friends, or head to university.

Emmi Reini, 16, is a native of Finland, and lives in the municipal area of the capital city, Vataa, with a population of nearly 216,000. Her year here will not count academically, so she will need to complete another year when she returns to her three-year high school in Finland.

Michal (Mike) Nguyen, also 16, hails from the town of Sered, located in the southwestern corner of the Slovak Republic, roughly an hour’s drive from the borders to Austria and Hungary. The town has over 17,000 inhabitants. If Michal wants this year of school to count, he will need to go through testing on four subjects chosen by his principal to show that he kept up with his class. Or he can choose to simply repeat the year.

Line Fischer comes to Boscobel from Hanover, Germany, the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. The city itself has a population of over 530,000—the metropolitan area a population of 1.1 million. Her year at Boscobel High School will not count academically when she returns to Germany.


For the complete article, please see the Jan. 26, 2017 issue of the Boscobel Dial.