RUMFORD — When young people in Thailand turn 15, many get to choose a special present.

Aim Panyanonwat’s wish was to go to the United States.

Now, she, Alex Saure of Germany and Giulia Amorin of Brazil are international exchange students at Mountain Valley High School.

“Almost everything is as I expected,” Aim said. “It’s amazing.”

She likes being able to choose her classes, and that everyone knows everyone else.

Alex likes the traditional standing for the playing of the national anthem before sports game.

“It gives you the feeling to prepare for the game,” he said.

And Giulia said her biggest surprise was how organized everyone is. “When I go to the office, they can solve your problems,” she said.

The three international students will attend classes through graduation in June. Giulia plans to apply to college in the U.S.

“My parents are really excited. I want to be a doctor,” she said.

While at Mountain Valley, the three students are participating in the school’s extra-curricular activities.

Aim is into music. She sings in the chorus and participates in a dance team. Alex likes sports. He’s playing indoor soccer in Waterville, and plans to play basketball at Mountain Valley when it starts later this year. Giulia is on the cheering squad and plays guitar in the band.

The three young people live with local host families for the school year.

Alex said one of his best friends went to the U.S. a while back, and “it sounded so cool. I’ve always wanted to go to the U.S.”

He is surprised at the distances between places. In Germany, he said, a person can get most anywhere in an hour. He was also surprised that there is no public transportation.

Aim hopes to study hotel management when she completes her high school education, while Alex believes he will go into the financial industry.


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