Foreign exchange students experience a new culture

Jordan Wood

Lindsey Miller and Ashton Corsetti

Foreign exchange students Petronella Masson from Sweden and Tuemai Dahlan from Thailand stay in Utah until the end of the school year, and both came here for different reasons.

“Both of my parents were foreign exchange students,” Masson said. “They always had a good experience, and they made me want to do it too.”

Dahlan had good things to say about Utah, ranging from the weather to the kindness of the state’s citizens.

“What I like here is the weather,” Dahlan said. “It’s dry and cold here, but in Thailand it’s humid and hot. What I don’t like is… let me think… I don’t know, everything in Utah is nice. Everybody’s nice here: they come to talk to me and invite me to go hang out, join a club, get in charge, in school.”

Masson likes the people and their willingness to help, too; the transportation and location, however, wouldn’t be her first choice. She would have liked to go to Florida, Hawaii, or even California, but too many exchange students were already headed there.

“I don’t like that you don’t get to take the bus wherever you want to go to,” Masson said, “or that you have to have your own car. In Sweden, you can take a bus, subway, or train wherever you want to go.”

For Masson and Dahlan, relocation was a hard process, but over time they said they have become used to the newness.

“I didn’t think I would make it; I thought that I would be more homesick than I actually am, but I’m not,” Masson said.

“It’s a bit hard for us to adjust yourself to everything new: new friends, new environment, new family, new teachers,” Danlan said. “Everything is new. You have to adjust yourself, but once you adjust yourself, you feel like you’re home.”