The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Meet this year’s foreign exchange students
Varinthron Otarnwanna, junior
Varinthron Otarnwanna portrait
Varinthron Otarnwanna portrait

Home: Thailand 

Q: Have you been to America before? Why come back?

A: Yes, I've been to America before. I was actually born here,  and I lived here until I was like 11 or 12 before our family moved back to Thailand. And, I decided that I wanted to come back here because it's a great place, obviously, and it has seasons. You know, seasons exist. In Thailand it's just heat and humidity. So it's really nice here.

Q: Is there anything that you really want to do while you're here?

A: I would like to try out an escape room because I haven't done that before. Oh, I'm not really too sure. I never made a bucket list, but yeah, just explorer Kingwood.

Q: What’s the biggest difference coming back after all this time?

A: I think the biggest difference for me is that when I was a kid, every Sunday I'd go to like this Thai temple because we are Thai, and now that I'm back, I go there every Sunday and it's like the little kids I knew, they're all like, grown up now, and I'm just like, Whoa, that's, completely different.

Q: So how do the schools compare? Your school in Thailand and the school here?

A: Well, first off, the bell schedules are completely different. Like they do it here by Monday through Friday. Each day has its own schedule. But in Thailand,  my school, it was like day one through day five. So it was like if you were on day four and then you had the next day off as like a holiday, you'd come back and take day five instead of completely missing a Thursday or something.

Our school has definitely less kids, like way less kids. So you, you knew everybody in your grade, here I barely know anyone, which is completely different. Also, I think another major difference is the schools here has two stories of two different buildings, spread out. Our school is like the middle school and high school building. It was U-shape of four floors. 

Q: What do you like to do back home compared to here?

A: I'm not sure what you do here, but for us, it was at least the area where my school and my friends were. There was this really big shopping mall called Mega Bangna. And so it had everything. So a lot of times if you wanted to hang out or do a group project, you’d meet there because it was really easy to get there and it was a really big shopping mall or I'd go to a friend's house and hang out there.

 

Interviewed by Bailey Hall

Pei-Ting Hsieh, junior
Pei-Ting Hsieh portrait
Pei-Ting Hsieh portrait

Home: Taiwan

Q: Why did you want to become an exchange student?

A: Because my English is bad. In Taiwan English is very important, like when we go to college, we need to have a tes and English is 25%.

Q: What  expectations or stereotypes of the did you hear before coming to the US ? 

A: They said the school starts at 9:00 and ends at 3:00. They always say that and the movie they use locker room lockers, but they don't use it here.

Q: How was your first week?

A: I couldn't speak a lot of English,  it's weird and my (host) parents asked me things, I just said yes or no. I didn't know how to respond. 

 

Interview by Avery Stieke

Julia Planellas, sophomore
Julia Planellas portrait
Julia Planellas portrait

Home: Catalonia, Spain

Q: What are some places that you like to go here and back home?

A: I usually go to try new restaurants and like American food here and try the most American stuff that it can be here. So I usually hang out at parties with my friends like in their houses, pajama parties. They're so cute. And then go into for example, Chick-Fil-A that we don’t have in Spain. 

Q: What are some of your interests like?

A: I like to read, focus on myself, and I love to travel. So every time that I have a little bit of money, I try to travel.

Q: Where did you want to? And how did you become an exchange student?

A: Okay. My sister from Spain wanted to be a exchange student, but she couldn't do it because of COVID. The last summer, she was telling me that it's an amazing experience and I should have it. And she convinced me, and we started making all this.

Q: What were your expectations/stereotypes of the U.S. before you came here?

A: I was thinking ‘High School Musical'. It’s not high school musical, but it's still fun. I'm really happy. Like, for example, the pep rallies. I didn't expect that and it's so funny.

Q: What is one thing you had to tell people back home?

A: Maybe when I saw my first football game. I was so excited. I mean, this is my American experience. I had to tell everybody. I was like all the time saying the joke that I’m having my American experience and everything has to be perfect.

Q:What were your schools like back home?

A: They're so much more boring. Here they do a lot of things. Here there are huge schools, but in Spain there's so much smaller and it's like you are really focused on the work. Also while making friends and all that stuff but they, it's not that fun. There’s not a lot of fun activities. No cheerleaders. And for example, we don’t have newspapers and all that. It's just all normal subject, like English algebra.

 

Interview by Madlyn Glenn

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