Nearly a dozen foreign exchange students now studying at St. Martin High

This is the first year the school has had more than four exchange students. Principal Dina Holland said everyone is really excited to welcome all the students.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 9:37 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) - St. Martin High School is now serving 10 foreign exchange students.

This is the first year the school has had more than four exchange students. Principal Dina Holland said everyone is really excited to welcome all the students.

“I learned how brave they are. Can you imagine being in a foreign country at their age and just being so incredibly brave and ready to welcome the world and find out what the rest of the world has to offer?” Holland said.

The high school welcomed 10 teens from Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Denmark, and Sweden. Emma Cesari is from Italy and said she always dreamed of visiting the U.S.

“I miss home. I miss the food, and a little bit of my family and friends, but it’s ok because it’s all normal,” she said.

Cesari is not the only exchange student from Italy. Gaulia Tonini also traveled to study in St. Martin. Tonini was inspired to study abroad because she likes challenges. Since her first language is Italian, she said she sometimes has trouble communicating with her peers.

“It’s difficult because when I want to say something, I want to express something, so people can know my person, but it’s difficult because I don’t have the words. I have few words to express everything in my mind,” Tonini said.

This year, the school also has siblings who are in the program at the same time. Twins Erin and Elaine Kao are from Taiwan, now more than 8,000 miles away from home.

According to Erin, they were shocked to see how big St. Martin High School is compared to their school back home.

“My school is not really big and new and oh, we don’t have air conditioning in every class, so it really surprised me,” Erin said.

Principal Holland said they are learning as much from the kids as they learn from them.

Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.