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Exchange students studying at Carbon High School



By Sun Advocate

Melissa Swenson serves as the local coordinator for the AIFS Foundation’s Academic Year in America program. Foreign exchange students currently attending high school in Price include Paul Jung from South Korea, Tanakorn (Pap) Naumnoo from Thailand, Julia Raabe and Denise Zlotowski from Germany and Mako Tagata from Japan.

Every year, Carbon High School hosts several foreign exchange students.
Melissa Swenson serves as the local coordinator for the AIFS Foundation’s Academic Year in America exchange program.
Currently, Swenson has five foreign exchange students attending high school in Price. Paul Jung is from South Korea, Tanakorn (Pap) Naumnoo is from Thailand, Julia Raabe and Dennis Zlotowski are from Germany and Mako Tagata is from Japan. Another student, Mathias Barth, recently returned to his homeland in Brazil.
The students met last week to talk to Swenson about experiences and discuss thedifferences between their homelands and Utah. The coordinator is interviewing families in the Price, Emery and East Carbon areas to host a foreign exchange student. The cross-cultural learning program places teenagers from Europe, Asia and South America with United States families for a semester or school year.
The program gives American families the chance to learn about a foreign culture. Exchange students bring holiday customs, native languages and the dishes of their homelands into their American homes.
Naumnoo is from Bangkok, where his parents work in government education and engineering. School in America is easier and, in Thailand, they have more subjects to choose from, said Pap.
“In America, you learn more about life experiences in school, while back home we learn more about academics,” explained Naumnoo.
The two students from Germany agree that schools are the biggest difference between the two countries.
Zlotowski’s mother is a banker and her father works in the energy field. Sports are supported better here than in her hometown of Erfurt and Americans seem more patriotic that people of her area, said Zlotowski.
Raabe’s parents are a psychologist and a nurse in the home health care. American people are “much friendlier and more open,” noted Julia.
Jung’s home is Seoul, where his father works in the computer field and his mother is a former teacher.
“Instead of brown mountains like here, our hills and mountains are all green,” pointed out Paul. One of the biggest differences he has noticed is the way his host family deals with religion and attends church on a regular basis.
Tagata is from Ishikawa. Mako’s father is a telecommunications minister and her mother works in nursing.
According to Swenson, next year’s participants will arrive in Utah in August. The students speak English, are covered by medical insurance and have spending money.
Host families receive scholarships worth up to $1,000 off the cost of an AlFS study/travel abroad program.
Families interested in hosting foreign exchange students may contact Swenson at 637-8680 or call the foundation toll-free at 1-800-322-4678.

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