Thai teens en­joy visit to Stanstead

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, 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!”

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

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..

Photo courtesy

The Thai vis­i­tors all had the chance to try out skat­ing at the Pat Burns Arena

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