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Exchange students’ Christmas experiences

By Ron Ellerman II

ROSCOMMON – The holiday season to some is a reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; for others it’ the time of year their family gets together to catch up on life events; and for some its just another day. Living in the United States we are inundated with all things Christmas from decorations, and gift ideas, to the annual parade through our hometown. While some might have lost a little of that childhood excitement once had for Christmas, to someone from another country it is a very different and exciting first experience.

For Nhan Ngo (Justin) from Vietnam and Chi-en Chen (Ian) from Taiwan, Christmas has been just that, a new and exciting experience. Justin and Ian are exchange students with the International Student Exchange (ISE) and are being hosted by Vickie Alexander of Roscommon. They both attend Roscommon High School.

Both boys arrived in the U.S. in August, 2017 and will be here for the full school year.

Justin, 15, said his American Christmas experience has been ‘Very cool’ so far and has enjoyed decorating the tree with lights, seeing Santa and is looking forward to making a snowman. Justin explains his family is Christian but they do not celebrate Christmas like we do in the United States. His family spends the day together but do not exchange gifts. They also do not decorate a tree or their home as most do here in U.S. Justin created his first wish list for Christmas that is mostly clothes and some electronics.

Vickie said the festive traditions here have been a very exciting first experience for Ian, 16, because his family does not celebrate Christmas. Ian’ Christmas wish list is mostly electronics and a few clothing choices.

Both boys are very active in sports and other activities. Justin is on the freshman basketball team, the chess team and was a safety for the football team. Ian is on the bowling and cross-country team. They are two of five exchange students attending Roscommon schools.

If any family is interested in hosting an exchange student they can contact Vickie Alexander at 989-275-0637 or email her at alexanderv@hotmail.com, they can also visit the website www.iseusa.com for more information.

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