Get to Know 2019-20 Exchange Students

Laura Nervi, Italy

Laura Nervi is one of the twelve foreign exchange students enrolled in the 2019-20 school year. While growing up in Italy, Nervi loved American movies and wanted to compare her high school experiences to the ones she saw in films.

Matt Olson

“I felt like I wanted to be in American dream in a school with cheerleaders and football players because we didn’t have this up in in Italy,” Nervi said.

Upon her arrival in America, Nervi was surprised by the people who live here.

“I thought 99% of the people were like, super obese, and you’re really nice people,” Nervi said. “I came from a city where the people are quite rude and you’re amazing people, so I’m very happy.”

Clara Quaino, France

All the way from Paris, France, foreign exchange student Clara Quaino decided to step outside her comfort zone and travel to America.

Matt Olson

“I wanted to have a very cool adventure,” Quaino said. “This is a very huge country and I wanted to see it for myself.”

When she isn’t at school or doing homework, Quaino enjoys walking around the parks and trails in the area.

“I’ve walked from the different parks and nature areas , so that’s very cool,” Quaino said.

Gabriela Senhor, Brazil

Gabriela Senhor intends to take advantage of her experience here to develop herself and improve her knowledge by learning more about American culture and meeting new people.

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“You are really kind with foreign people, which I really appreciate,” Senhor said.

Senhor enjoys spending her free time taking walks around her neighborhood and watching the sunset. Coming from a bigger city, Senhor appreciates the environment of a small town.

“[Newton is] calm, but it’s near a big city so you have the best of both worlds,” Senhor said.

Salla Haikonan, Finland

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Salla Haikonan decided to leave her home in Finland to live in America for a year.

Matt Olson

“My mom was in the 80s in Michigan, and she said that go It’s so much fun, so now I’m here,” Haikonan said.

Although Haikonan’s experience has been positive so far, it is still taking time for her to get used to how things work.

“Everything here is different,” Haikonan said. “I didn’t even know how to use the doorknobs when I came here.”

Hannes Mäeneke, Germany

Hannes Mäeneke is an exchange student from Germany who wanted to gain experience with different cultures and people.

Matt Olson

“The [cultural differences] extend up to the language and the food,” Mäeneke said. “Yes, I think the biggest part of the food.”

Mäeneke plans on participating in sports like cross country, swimming and track during the 2019-20 school year. Due to the lack of extracurriculars at his school in Germany, he wants to be more involved here.

“We don’t have these sports or go to other organizations or clubs after school, It’s not included as good [in Germany].”

Maria Petita, Brazil

Maria Petita is fascinated with how much technology we use in the United States compared to her hometown in Brazil.

Matt Olson

“I think the schools here use more technology, like we have Chromebooks and classes like Biology,” Petita said. “I think it’s so cool because it’s the future.”

It is important to Petita that she had the opportunity to travel because she wants to experience the world.

“I think it’s a good experience to grow up and learn different things, because in different countries, you have different experiences, it’s not the same life you have in your country,” Petita said.

Pannawit Suriyapong, Thailand

Matt Olson

Pannawit Suriyapong’s main goal this year is improving his ability to speak English. Growing up in Thailand, Suriyapong wasn’t regularly exposed to it as much as someone who has lived in America their entire life.

Suriyapong enjoys the food in America, even though it is different than what he is used to.

“I like the food [here],” Suriyapong said. “The food in Thailand is a heavy meal.”

Erina Fujitate, Japan

For Erina Fujitate, it was a smooth transition from living in Japan to living in the United States after previously visiting America in her childhood. She enjoyed the time she spent here and is excited to learn more about our culture.

Matt Olson

“I want to be able to speak English well, and I want to experience different cultures,” Fujitate said.

She is most looking forward to seeing the leaves change in Autumn, and going to Taste of Newton. In order to be a more active member in the community, Fujitate is also participating in clubs and sports this year.

“I’m going to go I’m going to join softball in spring, and my club is friendship bracelet club,” Fujitate said.

Restu Adu, Indonesia

Originally from Indonesia, Restu Adu craved a change of scenery, and wanted to make new friends.

Matt Olson

“I wanted to gain more experience, and I want to find an international friend,” Adu said.

Adu noticed that there are many differences in culture in Indonesia compared to the United States.

“I was surprised because everyone here talks very fast, and I was surprised too because the day after I just got here, it was my first day of school,” Adu said.

Widly Nocenti, Serbia

Matt Olson

Originally from Italy, Widly Nocenti wanted to experience a new country’s culture and customs, and improve his English. It has been a bit of a challenge adjusting to having an American lifestyle.

“[The lifestyle] is more relaxed, but in Belgrave, our lifestyle is much, much faster than this one,” Nocenti said. “I have more responsibilities to do.”

School in the United States is very different from school in Italy in many ways.

“It’s similar to like movies,” Nocenti said. “It’s much different than my town. You have like, many opportunities here.”

Coralie Kroner, Germany

Coming from Germany, Coralie Kroner has had to adjust to the different culture and lifestyle in the United States.

“The people and the lifestyle [are different] because here you can drive at 14, or 15 and in Germany It’s 18, so I think that’s cool,” Kroner said.

One of Kroner’s favorite things about Newton is the wide variety of fast food restaurants that are available.

“There’s so many places you can eat, and I don’t have it in my hometown,” Kroner said. “[Where I am from] there’s two places.”

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