Thai teens enjoy visit to Stanstead
It must take a special kind of teenager, mature, adventurous and open-minded, to consider going to school in a foreign country halfway around the world from home. The Stanstead Journal interviewed six teenagers who fit that description, last Friday afternoon, at Stanstead College.
Kornranuttawat Semjit, Pakdanai Angmanee, Buddhaporn Piriyothaisakul, Jaruphan Banluesombatkul, Soisuda Niwon and Kornkanok Suphanklang were a charming group of teenagers from Thailand who had just spent one week attending classes and taking part in extra-curricular activities at Stanstead College, getting a feel for the place to help them or, more accurately, their parents decide if they should enroll at the prestigious, private school.
The teens were accompanied by two chaperones, Ms. Kamonruss Banleusombatkul and Mr. Pornanantawat Pacharat, representatives of a consultation company in the field of education. “In Thai culture it is common to send children away to improve their English. The preferred place used to be the United Kingdom, but now they go to Canada and the United States. Canada is very popular; it’s very safe here in Canada,” explained Ms. Banleusombatkul. They arrived in Stanstead after spending three weeks in Toronto where they primarily studied English, with a little shopping on the side.
Although their English was, understandably, quite limited after only a few weeks of instruction, the teens listened intently as I asked my questions, answering with only a few English words and lots of feeling. “We went to Niagara Falls,” said Pakdanai, also known as ‘P’. “Because our names are so long, Thai children are always given Western nicknames when they are young. Mine is ‘Russ’,” said Ms. Banleusombatkul.
“Before, we went to the museum. It was cool, different, like in Europe,” said Buddhaporn, one of the youngest in the group about their visit to the Colby-Curtis earlier in the day. “I saw snow; there is no snow in Thailand. And we all skated,” commented Kornranuttawat, who took to skating fairly well for a novice. “They all tasted the snow when they saw it,” added Mr. Pacharat. Jaruphan, whose unusual nickname is ‘Best’, spoke about her new friends: “I made many friends from many different countries.” She hopes to keep in touch with them on the internet.
Thailand is renowned for its delicious and flavourful cuisine, so it was surprising to hear the teens talk so enthusiastically about Canadian food. “I like the food – all of it!” said Kornkanok, also known as ‘Guest’, with a smile. “Yes, especially the hot chocolate. It’s very delicious,” added Soisuda, who has the interesting nickname of ‘Mind’. “I liked the apple juice,” said Pakdanai. Only Kornranuttawat admitted that, although he liked Canadian food, he missed the cooking from back home. “We don’t have much cheese in Thailand and no pasta. They really liked all the different shapes of noodles here, and the cheese here is very good,” mentioned their chaperone.
When asked if they had been surprised by anything here in Canada, most of the Thai visitors agreed they had been surprised by the cold weather. “We only have hot temperatures and very hot temperatures, like 42 degrees Celsius, in Thailand,” said ‘Russ’. “And when people sneeze here, they say ‘Bless you’,” she added as the teens chuckled about that odd habit of ours. “What do they say in Thailand after someone sneezes?” I asked. “They don’t say anything!” was the reply.
Learning that the teens speak with their families daily on Skype, I thought they might have been getting anxious to return home. “Oh no; it’s too hot there now!”
Speaking on behalf of her fellow visitors, Jaruphan commented: “We were all very happy to visit and we thank Mr. Patrick (Patrick Fraser) and Mr. Wolfe for hosting us for a week. An obvious sports enthusiast, Buddhaporn added: “I thank my friend for teaching me softball. I hope to come here again!”
The visitors from Thailand, seen here in front of Stanstead College, were (front left to right) Buddhaporn Piriyothaisakul, Jaruphan Banluesombatkul, Ms. Kamonruss Banleusombatkul, Kornkanok Suphanklang, Soisuda Niwon, and (back left to right) Pakdanai Angmanee, Kornranuttawat Semjit and Mr. Pornanantawat Pacharat..
The Thai visitors all had the chance to try out skating at the Pat Burns Arena