Twelve international students arrived in Alma in late August to begin a year of study at Alma High School, each hoping to accomplish something from international study. Host families were waiting at the Fort Smith Regional Airport to greet them and introduce them to their new homes.
All of the students are in the United States on an F1 visa, according to Eileen Parham, the local coordinator for the exchange program. The classification means that students will receive credit for the classes they take at AHS with grades that will transfer to their home country.
Nine male students and three female students came from a variety of countries including Thailand, China, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. Each student has their own idea about what they would like to accomplish during their time in the US.
Freshman student Jiazhi Sun is from China and said he hopes to attend a university in the US. He said he has his eye on Carnegie Mellon in Pennsylvania where he hopes to study in a computer related field.
Sun said he enjoys attending school in America because the school environment is more relaxing than in his home country. He also said he enjoys a more moderate amount of homework that is given to him at AHS.