Meet the International Students of HHS

Every August, a small group of students from all over the world arrive to join the Hopkinton High School community, coming from countries such as China, Italy, Thailand, and Brazil. For many of them, it is there first time in America, which is quite the culture shock. International students have to deal with language barriers, making new friends, and being thousands of miles away from home.

Many families in Hopkinton volunteer to host these students and act as a family for them throughout their time in America.

“It is weird leaving my family for a year and joining a new one, but my host family is so welcoming and nice. I love them,” Thai exchange student Sirada Tanthong said.

Thai exchange student, Sirada Tanthong

Not only do the international students have to live with a new family, but they also have to make completely new friends, forcing them to face the hurdles of differences in language and culture.  

“Making friends was really hard at first because many people already had close relationships with each other,” Beam Jawantsiri, one of last year’s exchange student’s, recalled, “The other students all spoke a different language and had a different culture than what I was used to, making it harder for me to connect with them… eventually, I did make really close friends that I still keep in touch with today.”

The social aspect of coming to America is what many of these students look forward to. They can participate in extracurriculars, sports, and various school-wide events.

Italian exchange student Domitilla Massouda said, “I’m really looking forward to making new friends and experiencing new things. I went to a couple football games while I have been here, so far, and it is one of my favorite things to do… the excitement rubs off on me even though I do not understand what is happening in the game.”

Last year, the Ambassador’s Club was started. The purpose of this was to help the international students transition into the school. This is also an opportunity for the international students to meet friends and participate in activities such as ice skating, bowling, and apple picking.

“The teachers and ambassadors really helped my transition into the school. Any questions I had with my schedule or classes they helped me with. I also made friends with some of the Ambassadors, which made things easier,” Thanthong said.

Ambassadors Club annually hosts International Night, an opportunity for international students to showcase their countries and cultures for other students at the school.

Massouda described, “American students will have the chance to learn more about us international students and our culture. My table consists of five Italian girls and we are planning on making a bunch of food, such as pizza, pasta, lasagna, and more Italian dishes.”

“Not only will there be food, but people from each country will create presentations so that the American students learn more about them and better understand our cultures. I’m really excited,” Thanthong added.