Exchange students enjoying life in Sunnyside

They come from Korea, Italy and Germany. They have different countries, languages and cultures.

But they have one thing in common - Sunnyside High School.

This year the school has three foreign exchange students, all of them 16 years old.

Sven Breitrueck hails from Cologne, Germany, where his father is an eye doctor and his mother works in the front office.

"I was in America before and wanted to come back and get to know the country better," Breitrueck said of his reason for becoming an exchange student.

He says he's "met really cool people" since coming to Sunnyside. "People are more friendly toward each other," he says of Americans

Breitrueck, who has one brother, participates in a church youth group. He's also a member of the high school's Ski Club and Latino Club. "I'm in my first year of Spanish," he says.

He's not totally sure what career he'll purse after high school, but he's considering financing. Like the other exchange students, he's considering spending at least one of his university years in the U.S.

Hyun Moon lives near Seoul, South Korea, and said improving her English and making "global friends" were her inspirations for joining the exchange program.

One of the best things she likes about the U.S., besides the friendly people, is shopping. She loves the variety here of items like shoes and clothing.

Moon said the high school is far different the studies she has to do in South Korea, where it's not uncommon for the uniformed students to be in a classroom 15 hours a day. She smiles sheepishly and says she feels "lazy" by comparison here.

At SHS she's a member of the Ski Club. Her future plans include becoming a doctor.

Moon has one sister. Her father is a business owner and her mother a math teacher.

Alessandra Nepa is from Italy, where she lives in Pescara, a two or three-hour drive from Rome.

"I always wanted to see America. It's really fun, cool. I like the movies, the clothing, the music," she said of her desire to join the exchange program.

Like Moon, she says the educational system here seems easier than in her home country. "I can do my homework in class." In Italy, by contrast, she faces a "final exam" each week.

Outside of the classroom, Nepa loves the school spirit at Sunnyside High.

"I like the spirit of the school and the games."

Nepa is not just a spectator, but a participant as a member of the Grizzliettes dance team. She's considering trying out for the tennis team in the spring.

Nepa's a member of the Ski Club and was one of the players in the school's theatrical presentation of "Willie Wonka." She'll appear in the upcoming musical, "Once Upon a Mattress."

Nepa, who has a sister, hopes to be a judge someday. Both of her parents are teachers.


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