Exchange students trade the comforts of their hometown for an American adventure


PHOTO Photo by Maddie Roy

Seniors Celina Oddenes and Sung Jueun ride in the homecoming parade, a new experience for both girls. Foreign exchange students are invited to ride in the parade every year as part of the homecoming festivities.

Emily Battaglia, Writer

Abandoning the relaxation of summer and returning to the repetitive rhythm of school, 1100 students joined their friends on Sept 2 to begin the 2014-2015 school year. However, this transition back to the classroom was nothing compared to the changes seniors Celina Odennes from Norway and Jueun Sung from South Korea had to make a journey across the globe to spend their school year in an entirely different country.

“I chose to come to America because I find it interesting to learn about other cultures and lifestyles and compare them to my own,” Oddenes said. “When my mom was 18 she was a nanny for the couple who is now my host family. They kept in touch all these years, so knowing that I could come and stay with them was another deciding factor.”

While Oddenes is new to FHS Sung is slightly more familiar with life in Fenton. Following the completion of her first semester this past June, she returned to Korea for the summer. At the end of the season, she was back in Fenton to resume her second semester abroad.

“In Korea, the school year is from January to December,” Sung said. “When I came here last January, that was actually the beginning of my school year.”

Both are adjusting to the American way of life and are getting acquainted to the culture that they did not have back at home. New sights, sounds, and flavors are experienced almost every day.

Exchange Students“I love the food here,” Oddenes said. “Chicken and quesadillas are probably my favorite right now. They are something new compared to food in Norway, where we eat mostly fish because I lived near the sea.”

With the many activities approaching in the coming months, the girls await the new opportunities that will give them an even better taste of American life. The two are both members of the cross country team.

“I hadn’t done any sports before coming here, so it is difficult at times,” Sung said. “I have made more friends, though, and Mr. Mills makes being on the team a lot of fun.”

Back in South Korea, sports were not as popular among female students. Therefore, Sung chose to take part in other activities.

“I was a part of the science club,” Sung said. “It was mainly the boys who played sports, so I chose to participate in other things.”

Because she will be leaving after the first semester, Sung doesn’t plan to get involved in any other school clubs or sports teams. However, Oddenes has another extracurricular that she is looking forward to.

“I plan to play basketball this winter,” Oddenes said. “Back home I played handball, which is basically the same rules of basketball played with a soccer ball.”

Being on a team and taking part in the variety of activities that accompany it has allowed both girls to make friends and meet others who share interests similar to theirs.

“Besides my family and friends, I don’t miss much about Norway so far,” Oddenes said. “I’ve been having a great time here. Everyone is so friendly and outgoing, and they have all been very nice to me.”