Svitlana Kozubovska, 15, is a native of Ukraine. Her hometown is Chernivetska Oblast in Novoselytsia. She is now attending Ipswich Public High School.
Q. What are your parents' names and what do they do for a living?
A. My mother's name is Hanna (Ann) Kozubovska. She is an English teacher in my school. My father's name is Mykola (Nick) Kozubovskyi. He is a governmental worker.
Q. What has been your biggest surprise about life in the U.S.?
A. There were a lot of different things that surprised me. The way pupils can talk to teachers is completely different. Ukrainians prefer a more official style of conversations between teachers and students. Another thing that surprised me is that people in the USA are smiling nonstop. Americans are really open and easy-going people. At the first day of school, students asked if I need any help for 17 times.
Q. How do you compare the education you receive in your home country to your school here?
A. It is much easier to study here than to study back home. At our schools, we do not have an opportunity to choose the subjects we want to study. So I had to learn all kinds of science, math, history and literature. Also back home, I would be a senior and here I am a sophomore.
Q. How is the food different here?
A. The food is completely different. We eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Almost every meal contains potatoes. The bread tastes different. We have a baked one. It cannot stay for more than two days. It is fresh-baked and we never freeze it. Ukrainians eat soup almost every day. Here it is more winter meal. The portions in America are huge. We eat five times a day, but we have really tiny portions.
Q. What has been the most fun since you got here?
A. My host family (Monica Petersen, Monte Petersen and Lynae Petersen) organized for me a journey to the Black Hills. It was amazing! I have seen it many times on the TV, but I could never imagine that I would ever see it in a real life. Also, I was having fun about making a project about my country. During the culture week, I made a PowerPoint presentation about Ukraine and showed it to American teenagers. It was really interesting. It contained some interesting facts about my country and it had a small quiz. American teenagers were really good at it and showed the amazing results.
Q. What do you miss about your home country?
A. Like all the other students, I miss my family and my friends. But also I miss the Ukrainian spirit. I miss our food very much. Luckily, I have an opportunity to cook some Ukrainian dishes for my family. I already cooked them borsch (Ukrainian national soup) and they really liked it. I also promised to cook a cake on the Thanksgiving Day for my family and also share it with my classmates.
Q. What did you expect from your stay in the U.S.?
A. I expected to learn the language so I could speak fluently. Also, I wanted to try something new that would bring a positive change in my life.
Q. What would you like to do yet before you return home?
A. I would like my teachers and friends to sign for me so I will have a memory from them. Also, to go somewhere with my friends and make a lot of photos with them.
Q. Is there anything you would like to add?
A. I would like to tell all the Americans that they should travel more, because their country is wonderful, but there are a lot of other different countries and cultures they would like to see. And thank you for being very open and easy-going people.
If you're interested in hosting a foreign exchange student call Vickie Moser of Leola at 605-439-3656.