Six international students will attend Keene Central School this year

Keene’s new International Student Program begins this school year

Six International students, pictured here with their host siblings, will be attending Keene Central School this year.

Six International students, pictured here with their host siblings, will be attending Keene Central School this year. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

— Some of them already have plans for the future, while others aren’t quite as certain.

“When I graduate I want to attend a university in the United States and study to be a counselor or a psychologist,” said Chloe, a 12th grader from Hanoi, Vietnam. “And right now, I’d like to find work as a babysitter.”

Susanne Ruud, a 12th grader from Norway, has different post-school plans: “I want to travel and then go to college.”

Ruud is no stranger to travel, either. To date, she has been to Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Greece. Now that she can cross the United States off her wish list, she has her sights set on Australia and Asia.

While here Ruud said she wants to experience American life, a statement that would probably make Mike Johnson, program Coordinator for the International Students Program, happy to hear.

“I think a lot of countries have a bad stigma about America, but I don’t think Keene is like that,” Johnson said. “It’s a huge value to this community that these students can take that knowledge home with them, and that our students can go out into the world after they graduate and say they’ve met people from other countries and mean it.”

Johnson said he hopes the program can enrich the lives of everyone involved, and from the sound of things, it’s off to a good start.

“My city is really busy, so I’ve had a busy life,” said SeokJae Hong, an 11th grader from the northern region of South Korea. “Keene Valley is really good, the air is really fresh and the people are all so nice.”

But the mountains Adirondackers are so accustomed to seeing are not a new geological site for all of the visiting students.

“Taiwan has a lot of mountains, but few people live in them,” said Jonah Wu, a 12th grader from Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Like all of the students, Wu commented on how welcoming everyone has been to him. Even though he wants to return to Taiwan to attend college, there is one thing he wants to experience before he heads back, something that some locals love, and others despise.

“I can’t wait for the winter time,” Wu said. “I’ve never seen snow dropping before.”

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