Students From Afar: Exchange students enter Paint Branch hallsFriday, October 24, 2003 By Anita Addo
Seventeen-year-old Saeko Kinoto is an exchange student from Japan. With the help of the A.F.S exchange program and an American family, Saeko is looking forward to spending a year in the U.S. One does not always get the chance to transfer from Kyoei High School to Paint Branch as Saeko has. He describes Paint Branch by saying, “It’s a big school with good teachers.” Japanese schools have both differences and similarities to American schools, touching on all aspects whether educational, cultural or any other. One difference is schedule. Saeko is now at school by 7:25 am and is able to leave by 2:10 pm. In Japan he has an 8:35-8:00 pm routine. He now transports to school by a school bus, whereas he had to catch a train and a school bus to get to Kyoei High. Saeko remembers having to wear uniforms in Japan, an act so foreign here at Paint Branch. However, his schedule is not so foreign to him, having taken the same subjects in Japan. Though this is the first time he’s ever had homework, (which Paint Branch teachers do not hesitate to give) he’s sure to get it done. With his favorite subject being P.E (like many other PBHS students) and favorite movies being Grease and Home Alone, he’s sure to fit in here at Paint Branch. Another American interest he has is his love for baseball, with the “Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees” as his favorite teams. He’s a big fan of players Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. Saeko describes American food by saying, “American food is too sweet, too hot and too sour,” but he is keen on pizza, due to the several Dominoes Pizza Shops in Japan. Embraced by the Girl’s Varsity Tennis Team in part, because of her ability to play well is Monica Mackova. Apart from coming to the United States, this seventeen-year-old has traveled on numerous occasions due to her family’s love for vacation. She’s visited European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria and Poland. She’s also had the chance to see Spain, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Israel. Monica is enjoying her new experiences here in America and gives gratitude to the American Scandinavian Student Exchange program and her host family. Even though she’s from the Czech Republic, Monica is just like any American female teenager. She has favorite movies such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Cruel Intentions. She’s crazily in love with actors Ashton Kutcher and Ryan Phillipe, and she adores actresses Reese Witherspoon and Julia Stiles. She also has a love for baseball, ice hockey and basketball. As a tennis player/ tennis fan she’s all for players Andy Roddick and Gustavo Kuerten. Philipp Mages, like Saeko Kinoto is also involved in the A.F.S exchange program. However, sixteen-year-old Philipp is visiting from Oldenburg, Germany. He’s also traveled to European countries such as England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, France, Greece, and even as far as Spain. According to Philipp, “Germany is not so different from America.” His former school, Altes Gymnasium in Oldenburg is different from Paint Branch. Phillip describes Paint Branch by saying, “It’s Crowded.” Besides the many homework assignments, one of the things he’s getting used to is having to change classes each period. He is used to being in one classroom in Germany, because the teachers move around. As Paint Branch gives Philipp a new experience, he’s giving back by playing on the junior varsity soccer team. While enjoying his visit, he misses home a lot and says, “not so much family, but friends.” This is understandable, especially when he remembers hanging out with them and going to clubs and bars. This is Monica, Philipp and Saeko’s one and only year here at Paint Branch. They’re sure to have adventures and lasting memories to take with them back to Czech Republic, Germany, and Japan. As some of us have classes with them and have built friendships with them, let’s try to make Paint Branch as memorable as we can.