HJ/EDHerald Journal, Jan. 16, 2006

Smiths host South Korean exchange student

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Darrell and Heidi Smith had been talking about hosting a foreign exchange student for a few years now, and after picking up a brochure at the Wright County Fair, the couple decided now was a good time.

Darrell Smith, a business teacher at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, left for Romania on business for two weeks while Heidi Smith, a social work at HLWW, filled out all the paperwork for the International Student Exchange. Within a day and a half of Darrell’s return, Ji Yun Kim arrived.

Ji Yun, or “June,” as they call her, is from Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea and is a sophomore at Dassel-Cokato High School.

Kim stated the schools are set up quite differently in the US from South Korea. Classrooms there consist of approximately 40 students, and instead of the students changing classrooms, the teachers do, Kim explained. “We eat in our classrooms,” she said, instead of the students gathering in a cafeteria.

They don’t use lockers in her school in Korea, they use a drawer instead, she said.

Kim was also surprised how large the school was at DC, with the combination of the middle school and high school together.

There are no girl sports either. They have gym class and the boys play soccer, but girls don’t participate in any sports.

What she likes most about going to school here is, she doesn’t have to go to academics. In South Korea after the students go to school all day, they come home, eat dinner and go to “academics,” where they study sometimes until 2 a.m.

“It’s weird that my friends here can drive,” Kim said. They don’t drive until they are 20 in South Korea.

Kim enjoyed Christmas with her host family. She got many more gifts here than she would have at home.

Kim’s host mom, Heidi, explained when they wrapped gifts they would wrap everything individually instead of everything together. “She (June) thought the kids would get bored opening all those gifts,” she said.

For fun, Kim likes to go shopping and watching movies. “I can watch more TV,” she said. One of her favorite shows is “Lost” because there is a Korean man on the show. Sometimes, he says things in Korean but the subtitles, don’t reflect that. She is also very excited for “American Idol” to begin.

In South Korea, the “teen idol” is U Know, a male singer. Here Usher would be the comparison, she said.

Her other favorites are Hilary Duff, and Britney Spears who is quite popular back home, she said.

Kim and her host sister watch the movie “Phantom of the Opera” and they sing every song, Heidi said. She also enjoys watching “Sound of Music,” and the Harry Potter movies.

Darrell and Heidi Smith both work at the Howard Lake, Waverly, Winsted School, but live in Cokato where their two children attend D-C schools along with Ji Yun.

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