Foreign students exchange ideas, learn at JCD
Jac-Cen-Del High School has four delightful young women as foreign exchange students this year: Anatasia “Stacy” Vikhoreva from Russia, Lea Filali from Belgium, Waralee “Minnie” Minanandana of Thailand, and Anna Krampitz from Germany. The Osgood Journal talked with the exchange students to get their take on the community, the school, and the differences from their homelands.
Jac-Cen-Del’s foreign exchange students, from left, Waralee “Minnie” Minanandana from Thailand, Anna Krampitz from Germany, Anastasia Vikhoreva from Russia and Lea Filali from Belgium.
Stacy of Russia
Anastasia “Stacy” Vikhoreva comes from Russia. She lives with her father, who works in IT (information technology); her mother, a lawyer; her brother, a travel agent; and grandmother in St. Petersburg, a city of more than five million people. Stacy is in 11th grade at JCD.
Stacy says that teenagers here are different. They are quick to spread gossip where in Russia teenagers are much more private. She really enjoys how friendly the people are here and how much everyone smiles.
She says the food is about the same here as in Russia. They also have all the fast-food restaurants as Americans. She really likes going to the Cracker Barrel here because it serves traditional American food.
Her interests are drama, choir and cinema. She wants to become an actress. She is a big Dr. Who fan from the British television show and was actually wearing a Dr. Who t-shirt the day of this interview. A highlight of her life was actually meeting the 11th actor to play Dr. Who.
Stacy likes school better here because you can choose your own schedule and the teachers are friendly. Stacy said everyone in America thinks Russia is still in the 18th century. She said, “Comparing Russia and America: One is not better or worse than the other, just different.”
Her American hosts are Jay and Leanna Phillippe.
Lea of Belgium
Lea Filali is from Brussels, Belgium, a city of about 1.1 million people. Her native language is French and she also speaks Dutch. She lives in Belgium with one brother and one sister, who are 10 years older. Her mom works for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which has headquarters in Brussels, and her dad stays home. She is in the 12th grade at JCD.
Lea says it’s hard to adjust to having so much space in America. Everything is bigger. Her first experience on American soil wasn’t a good one; she got lost at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
She loves to speak the English language and only started learning English about three years ago.
They have fast food in Belgium, but only a limited number of restaurants. She had never had Mexican food before coming to the U.S., including macaroni and cheese or cheesecake. Lea was especially excited about the cheesecake.
She likes the mindset of the American people. “They really try to help other people.” Lea said watching the news is really important in Belgium. “It’s like living in a bubble here because I don’t know what’s going on in the world.” She believes that her experience in America will change her life. She plans to study law in Belgium
Her hosts are Amy and Larry Harrelson.
Minnie of Thailand
Waralee “Minnie” Minanandana is from Bangkok, Thailand, a city of 11 million people. She lives with her parents, grandparents and one brother, who is 13.
Minnie’s school is much different in Thailand. They wear uniforms and are assigned a desk where they stay all day. It’s the teachers who move around. They also have to wear their hair up and Minnie is glad to be able to wear it down here. After school in Thailand the teenagers go with their friends and hang out at the malls. Minnie says, “Here, there is corn everywhere.”
She doesn’t like the cold here. In Thailand it never gets below 80 degrees.
Minnie, who is in the 10th grade at JCD, loves horseback riding and cars. She wanted to be a race car driver, but her dad objected.
She plans to attend Purdue University and go back to Thailand as an aerospace engineer. She says she really loves speed: fast horses, fast cars and airplanes. She loves watching Hawaii Five-O on television, and says she likes the good-looking guys in swimsuits.
Minnie is surprised at the way teenagers in America talk back to their teachers. In Thailand teachers are respected. There is a teacher’s day every year where the students thank their teachers.
She is staying with Sheryl and Dyer Soendlin.
Anna of Germany
Anna Krampitz comes from Munich, Germany, a city of some two million people. She actually lives in a suburb of about 25,000.
She is an only child, who lives with her mom. Her dad works for BMW and has two other children. She’s in the 10th grade at JCD.
In Germany she is in a school for just “smart” students. So being in a school in America where not everyone cares about getting good grades is an adjustment. The dress is about the same but more casual. She would never wear sweat pants to school in Germany, but the students do here.
She is amazed how disrespectful American students are to their teachers, noticing many don’t use Mr. or Mrs. in addressing their teachers. She doesn’t like some of the language the students use here either.
Minnie says the tests here are much easier because they are multiple choice. In Germany you have to think a lot more and write out all the test answers.
She said in Germany milk comes in small bottles where Americans have giant gallons of milk. They eat about the same food in Germany, just not as many snacks. They do not have sports in the schools in Germany, so she has been enjoying running with the cross country team.
Anna says coming to America has been a great experience for her. She wants to say thank you to her host family and teachers. She hopes people will continue to open up their homes to foreign exchange students in the future.
Her hosts are Tom and Donna Hughes. Tom is a cross countyr coach.
Food truck here Friday
On Friday, Dec. 6, the Gleaners semi-truck will be in Ripley County for the monthly food giveaway. The giveawayt will start at 11 a.m. and last about two hours and is held at the Ripley County Food Pantry at the Osgood fairgrounds. The food giveaway is for needy county residents only.
The regular food giveaway at the pantry is the third Monday of the month, from 9 a.m. to noon, and 5:30-7 p.m. They are in need of donations. To donate, call Bill Warren at 756-2560.