Richness of exchange

To the Editor:

It seems to me that many parents want their kids to appreciate the things that they themselves appreciate. My mom's just like that; she's always wanted me to appreciate foreign culture. Ever since I was little she's had visitors from different countries into our house for dinner. Back then I didn't really think much about it. I remember a time when she took me to Africa and all I did was enjoy elephants and lions while her intentions were to "expose me to a different culture." When I was eleven I didn't even know what "culture" was.

It was no surprise then that my mom wanted me to go to the Academy where there are students from all over the world. Walking around my freshman year, I was surprised by the number of students talking in different languages around me. On an average day I might encounter Chinese friends in the lunch line, German students in my math class or Spanish kids in my study hall. But it wasn't until Mingchen and I began making jokes in band class that I realized the opportunity that was all around me to learn about other cultures. I didn't even need to get in a plane for that.

It wasn't long before Mingchen and I became good friends, and he would come over to my house where he would play our piano and make us Chinese dinners. There are Chinese restaurants everywhere, but the experience of watching him and being with him while he cooked amazed me; he was focused with a dozen ingredients and comfortable moving around our kitchen with a bunch of things going on at same time. I could barely make a sandwich! Two years later I can proudly say that I can make Miso soup and Korean noodles.

My mom wanted to expose me to foreign cultures to catch my interest, but in the end, I became interested on my own. I realize now how interesting it is to meet people from all over the world and to learn what their daily routines are back in their own countries. I'm about to start an AP Spanish class because I want to become fluent before traveling to South America. The Academy has amazing opportunities to learn about people from all over the world, and I feel it is important for people to take advantage of the richness of this exchange.

Liam Hinsley

St. Johnsbury Academy Junior

Lyme, N.H.

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