Miramonte Welcomes International Students

Miramonte is home to many foreign exchange students. Mirador sat down with a few of them and asked them a few questions.

Laura and Aleski Turpeinen
Moved from:
Espo, Finland
Years: Freshman, Sophomore
Here for: One year

Mirador: Why did you come here?
Laura and Aleski Turpeinen: We thought it would be a nice experience to live here for a year. My dad got a position as a “visiting scholar” at UC Berkeley. We don’t really know what that means but we think he’s doing research there which is why we’re only staying here for a year. We lived in Boston for two years when we were young and that’s where we learned to speak English. We also take English class in school.
M: What’s your favorite thing about Miramonte?
Aleksi: The campus is gorgeous. Everyone is friendly compared to people in Finland. Everyone is open and welcoming.
Laura: I love the overall atmosphere. Everything and everyone is united. The teachers are also really nice.
M: How is Miramonte different from your school in Finland?
L&A: The class schedule is very different. We had a block schedule at our old school. There are also more clubs, dances, and sports here. Miramonte is very spirited.
M: Do you play any sports?
A: I play golf and tennis.
L: I play tennis. We both play for fun, nothing competitive.
M: How do you spend your weekends at home?
A: I really like to read and play video games. I like fantasy books like the Belgariad Saga by David Eddings. I like action adventure video games like Zelda.
L: I like to read books like Harry Potter and Twilight and watch movies. I like all types of movies except for horror.

Eric Wang
Moved from: Shanghai, China
Year: Sophomore
Here for: Forever

Mirador: Why did you come here?
Eric Wang: I came here for the schools. There are more chances to go to universities in America than in China.
M: How is Miramonte different from your other school?
EW: There is much more pressure on students in China. Parents want their children to get good grades. Teachers are mean to students who get bad grades.  In China there are no dances, no fun, and people just study all the time. In China parents give pressure and teachers give pressure. There are suicides.  In my school a student jumped from a four-story building because a teacher was yelling at him. My parents don’t want there to be pressure on me. That is why I like Miramonte better.
M: How is Miramonte’s atmosphere different from your previous school?
EW: Students here are more friendly and they like to help.
M: What is your favorite class?
EW: I like World History with Mrs. Ginocchio. I enjoy history a lot and read books about China’s history in my free time. In China there are few choices.  There are no clubs or electives. Here I am taking Foods and Photo, both of which I like a lot.
M: What are your hobbies?
EW: I play basketball and tennis. In my old school we only would have one practice a week. I might play at Miramonte this year.
M: What else do you want to do when you are in America?
EW: I have been to Hawaii, but I want to travel more. I want to go to New York City and see the Statue of Liberty. Also, I want to see the Blue Angels.

Michaela Kopecka

Foreign exchange from: Czech Republic
Year: Junior
Here for: One Semester

Mirador: Why did you come here?
Michaela Kopecka: I like adventure and I wanted to see a new country and improve my English. I won a competition and everyone who wanted to come here wrote an essay and it was read by American kids. Whoever’s essay they liked the most got to come and be a foreign exchange student here.
M: What’s your favorite thing about Miramonte?
NK: I love the tennis team because everyone on it is so nice and it’s so much fun to play with all of these people. I’ve been playing since I was six and it’s nice to find common ground with people here.
M: How is Miramonte different from your other school?
MK: In my other school we have one big building and don’t go outside all day. It’s also not as interesting because our schedules are chosen for us and everyone takes the same 14 subjects. These are the basic subjects like biology, math, physics, art, Czech, and English. There are no fun subjects like foods. The kids here are also friendlier and smile more. Everyone here is richer. Teachers are also really nice here. They ask for your opinion and have you participate in discussions which I like.
M: What are your favorite classes here?
MK: I really like sports medicine and foods. They are both fun classes that aren’t offered in the Czech Republic. In sports medicine I get to see a lot of sports close up, like football, that don’t exist in the Czech Republic.  Also it’s very fun to have a class where the subject is focused around eating!