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South American exchange students adapt quickly To life in Adirondacks

MINERVA - What do Colombia, Paraguay, and Thailand have in common?

First of all, each sure sounds like a country with a warm, southern climate, relative to the United States. Secondly, each country has a representative currently living in the distinctively non-southern Town of Minerva and attending Minerva Central School.

Three students - Lisseth Mendoza of Colombia, Giuliano Rivas of Paraguay, and Thanpat Piromkan - aka Dome- of Thailand, have officially survived this past cold and snowy winter. But, they've gone beyond just surviving - they've been out there enjoying the good things winter has to offer in the Adirondacks, especially snow. What do these students from warmer places on the planet think about snow?

"I love the snow - it's awesome," Lisseth said.

Similar snow sentiments have come from Dome and Giuliano. In fact, all three have been seen participating in actual snowball fights this past winter, with or without gloves. None of these students had seen snow before, let alone enjoyed the great recreational opportunities it provides.

Both Lisseth and Giuliano enjoyed the Minerva Youth Program's excellent ski program this past January and February, along with 25 other students from Minerva Central School. The program ran from the first week of January to the second week of February, for six straight Sundays.

Dome joined them in February for a day on the slopes at Gore Mountain. All three learned to snowboard very quickly, and all three had a great time while in the process. Giuliano on snowboarding:

"I like it, it's something new. The landscape at Gore is beautiful; the highest mountains of Paraguay are lower than Gore Mountain"

Dome agreed.

"I like the snowboarding. It's been fun - the snow here in Minerva is the first I've ever seen, touched, or eaten," he said.

Lisseth and Dome are seniors at Minerva Central School, and have come to Minerva Central School as students through the Youth for Understanding USA program, while Giuliano (also a senior) participates in the Rotary International Youth Exchange program. Both programs promote cultural understanding through full cultural exposure and immersion for young people. All three students have been living with host families in the Town of Minerva while they go to sing the Minerva weather.

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