BUCKFIELD —

wanted to come to America to learn the differences between her culture in India and that of the United States.

As a foreign exchange student at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, she said she’s excited about her stay with her host family and all of the friendly people she is meeting at school. The most surprising, she said, is the directness of the people and the use of please and thank you.

“The people are very kind and the school is very accepting of me,” she said.

She said she also feels the peace of the area, compared to the number of people in India.

“People are all around (in India),” she said. “People are willing to help here and are good to me.”

Bhatt is looking forward to graduation ceremonies in June and wearing a cap and gown.

“We don’t do that in India, only after two years of college,” she said.

She has joined the school chorus, plans to play basketball and to complete 40 hours of community service, as all Buckfield students must do.

The only drawback to her experience, she said, is the weather.

“I am freezing. The most shocking is the cold. I heard about it, but now I’m feeling it,” she said.

Bhatt is collecting sweaters and preparing for her first snowfall. She traveled up Mount Washington with her host family and to view the scenery and fall foliage.

“I’m learning so much,” she said. “I want to make the most of this and to go back to India with thousands of memories. My host family has been so good.”

Bhatt was chosen by the U.S. Department of State from thousands of foreign students who wanted to come to the U.S. She’s also pleased that she’s learning independence.

Her older sister is in Toronto, a place Bhatt plans to go next year when she gets her visa.

Bhatt said she wanted to gain more confidence by coming to the U.S.

“I feel so lucky at 16 (to be in the U.S.),” she said.

She plans to study journalism in college.

“I want to become a voice for my people,” she said.


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