Three students from three different countries have made Colfax their home during the 2013-14 school year as part of a national exchange program. All three girls are from large cities but have been having a good experience with small town life so far.
Eunji Kim is from Seoul, South Korea and has been staying with the Jennifer and Thomas Dworak family. Eunji has an older brother and her parents back home and decided to come to the United States about two years ago so she could learn the English language better and get a taste of American life. After being placed in Colfax, she became involved with school activities including the dance team and marching band.
“Classes in my country last longer, into the late afternoon and even into the evening,” she said. “And students do not get to choose what classes they take. We are required to take English so it helped that I knew the language, but I am still learning it.”
She is enjoying her stay here and plans to attend a university after graduation in May, probably back home.
Marija Kostic is from Servia and has an 11 year old sister along with her parents, who own a bakery, back there. She is being hosted by Roger and Ann Jevne and also wanted to come to the U.S. to improve her English and experience American culture.
“Classes at my school in Servia are much bigger, with up to 100 students, but we go until age 18 like here,” she said.
Speaking to the crowd at the National Honor Society banquet, Marija stated the language, food and customs are all different and were hard to get used to. She had the opportunity to travel a bit, which included a trip to New York, and hopes to continue her education at a university after high school graduation.
Cheryl Zhang is from China and lives just outside of Shanghi. She has a younger brother and her parents back home and is staying with Peter and Kelly Hayes. Her dad thought it would be a good idea for her to travel and spend some time in the U.S., prompting her to enroll in the exchange program.
“I had the opportunity to do some traveling with the Hayes family, to Arizona and Missouri and that was really fun,” she said. She also said the differences in her school and Colfax are time and size.
“We have up to 12 classes in a day, sometimes six days a week and until 10:00 at night,” she said.
Cheryl also plans on attending a university after leaving Colfax in May. The girls have all had a positive experience while in Colfax and are glad they had the chance to experience American life.