Park Yourself with a Foreign Friend
by Meghan Offtermatt, Assistant Editor

Growing up in the West Geauga school system, one is inclined to believe that the school is faced with a lack of diversity. Luckily for the students, though, we are endowed with a program that allows the students to seek out diversity and to search for new adventures to broaden their horizons. In turn, students from other countries, also searching for the same ideals, have the ability to travel to West Geauga to experience not only the West Geauga school system, but an entirely new lifestyle.
This year, we have a plethora of foreign exchange students. One, in particular, has traveled to the United States from a country on the other side of the globe, Bankok, Thailand. This student is Park Puapongsakorn. Park has a keen interest in the English language, which not only includes an interest in the language, but a desire to learn it (although he happens to be unbelievably well-spoken already.) This desire served as the impetus for Park in his traveling to the United States. Park has been living in the United States for 3 months and plans on staying for the entire year. He said his favorite part about the school is his ability to choose the classes he is interested in, as opposed to Thailand, where he is unable to choose his respective subjects.
Although Park said that the lifestyle in the Unites States is completely different from that in Thailand, his interests here remain similar. He is enticed by music and is currently enrolled in the chorale class at the high school. Conveniently for Park, his host mom happens to be a music teacher, who is teaching him piano during his time in the states. Although Park has not been in the United States for a great deal of time, he has already visited Amish country, which he said was a good experience.
When asked how America differs from Thailand, Park supplied an abundance of examples. In Thailand, school is from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, whereas at West Geauga it’s from 7:30 am to 2:24 pm. In Thailand students remain in the same room all day, as opposed to in America where the classrooms change as the classes change. In America an interest in sports is very prominent, while in Thailand sports are not focused on. In America, as opposed to rice in Thailand, we consume a large amount of bread. If we do not have the ability to use a car, we don’t have the ability to travel; in Thailand buses and taxis are used to travel from place to place.