Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
Vicky Cheng and Diana Gatelind thought they knew what to expect in America when they arrived last fall.
They had seen the big cities and the big schools in movies and TV shows, but the world the two exchange students discovered was new to them and as the day for their return home approaches, the girls said they will miss much about this country.
“We didn’t really know what it was like here,” said Cheng, who comes from Taiwan. “We came to a small school and it was very different here.”
“I was surprised,” Gatelind said of her arrival from Norway, “but I liked it.”
Not only were there adjustments to make in a new home in a new country, but the urban girls also had to get used to rural life. The first adjustment came with a trip to the grocery store.
“At home, we buy everything that very day,” said Cheng. “We get just what we need and buy it fresh in the market.”
“I never ate so much pizza in my life,” said Gatelind. “I didn’t really like the food here. It is too unhealthy. At home we mostly eat fish, potatoes and chicken.”
Fast food is available in their home countries, said the girls, but not so much a part of their daily diet as it is in the U.S.
“At first I didn’t like pepperoni,” said Cheng. “It was too salty, but now I am used to it.”
But she couldn’t adjust her taste to like Mexican food or Smores (they’re too sweet). Her meals at home consist mostly of vegetables and rice, said Cheng.
Classes at Kenton High School were easier than the courses each girl takes in her native country, they said. In their home schools, students don’t have a choice of classes like they do in America, the said. Each girl had taken English classes since they were in elementary school, but found it difficult to speak a foreign language in their daily lives.
“We don’t have study halls,” said Cheng. “Our schools are very different. This was new to me. We study, study, study and there are no sports. Here we study and then have fun after school.”
Norway has clubs after school for sports and music, said Gatelind. While she was a Wildcat, she took part in soccer, track and choir. Her favorite activity was soccer, said Gatelind.
Cheng also played sports, but was most excited about being in the high school musical production.
“You spend a lot of time together,” she said of the experience. “Everyone is together and you make good friends.”
Both girls said they hope to remain close to the friends they made during their stay in Kenton and would like to return for a visit sometime.
“I have two best friends here and I definitely plan to keep in contact with them,” said Gatelind.
“I am a shy girl,” said Cheng. “When you come here, people don’t know who you are, but they told me, ‘Come here. Don’t be shy’ and were really nice to me.”
The two exchange students will be going home the first week in June. They will also miss their home families, said the two girls. Gatelind stayed with Mike and Angela Martino. Cheng lived with Steve and Julie Messenger.
“I will miss my host family most,” said Cheng. “They treated me like I was their daughter.”
To learn more about hosting, contact Barb Wyndham at 419-675-2547, or visit www.effoundation.org.
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer