FOREST CITY | Forest City High School has diversified their student body by adding three new foreign exchange students - Tanaporn (Kwan) Muangalia, from Thailand, Fernada Corral, from Chile, and Sabiana (Fabi) Cocco, from Italy.
The three girls are here through the AFS program, a nonprofit leader in intercultural learning.
Muangalia said her dream was always to study abroad and travel. “AFS is one of the most famous scholarship for those who want to study abroad in Thailand,” she said. “I never thought I would have a great opportunity like this.
“I just kept signing up, taking tests, in case, if I was chosen by some program”
Through the AFS program, Forest City High School can have up to five international students at a time. The students have to go through a screening in their homeland, attend meetings about how they are going to pay the $15,000 cost, which includes schools fees, insurance, flights, as well as attend meetings on how to transition into American culture.
“For me at this moment, time is the hardest thing to adjust to,” she said. “I want to do a lot of things I have never done before during this year as an exchange student, so I keep signing up for many activities. That makes my every single day quite a bit busy.”
At Forest City High School, she is involved in concert choir, musical, large group speech and is also in Cross Country as a manager with her host sister, Ellie Reece.
Maungalia said she is enjoying her new life in Forest City thus far. “The thing I'm really impressed about is the people here in Forest City. People here are very nice and friendly and the teachers here are easy to access. If I have a problem or more than one problem, I can always ask for advice.”
The liaison or “Aunt” for the AFS students, is Forest City High School Spanish and Geography teacher, Tami McInroy. McInroy said she thinks of herself as a safe place for the students to come for advice. “I am a no judgement, here to give advice like an aunt type of person for the girls.”
While Muangalia is experiencing and trying new things, her favorite thing, so far, has been tacos. “I know it's not American, it's Mexican, but my first time to try tacos was here in America.” When asked what she misses most about Thailand, she said, “The desserts. I'm kind of going to miss the Thai dessert and cheap things there, some of the stuff here is quiet expensive.”