International students get taste of U.S. winter

Allysson George, Reporter

Coming to the United States as an international student means many changes. For the KHS students from around the world, one of the many changes they faced was the amount of snow they saw during the winter months. 

“Well, when I was in South Sudan, I used to imagine how the snow was like, is it like the sand we have or what? Does it taste like ice? How does it feel? Those were the questions that used to come into my mind when I thought about it or watched it in the news and movies,” said Emmanuel Mayol Garang. “I was very happy and excited to touch it for the first time in my life. I  will never forget that day. Despite its coldness, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever liked.” 

Brian Linus Ngatunga had his first taste of snow while he was studying in Asheville, North Carolina. He witnessed heavy snowfall for the first time in Kokomo. 

“Seeing and feeling snow is like experiencing an imaginary world that I have always seen in movies. I love snow although it makes the surroundings colder. I first saw snow in Asheville, NC although it was not a lot. I was very excited and my joy could not be diminished. I played with it, touched it, and took a lot of pictures and sent them to my family! I was hyper-excited! I experienced my first heavy snow here in Kokomo. This experience was extra special because it contained pure joy, laughter, and fun together with other international students who we were snowball fighting,” he said. 

But experiencing weather changes is not the only thing the international students have enjoyed while living in Kokomo. Garang really likes everything here. He passes the time playing board games like Connect Four, Monopoly, and playing basketball (although he does not know now how to play). Spending time with friends and going to the gym have been some of his favorite activities too. 

Ngatunga’s favorite things to do in Kokomo are spending time with his host family and friends and attending the school’s basketball games. He is thankful that his host families have exposed him to various restaurants which he has enjoyed. He loves Don Pancho’s Mexican restaurant and Wendy’s too.  

“I am very happy that I am attending KHS in person. I started three-quarters of the first-semester virtual because of the ongoing pandemic that made the US embassies services pause. (At this time I was in Tanzania after my junior year in Asheville, NC),” he said. “I was amazed when I first joined virtually and the in-person students asked me questions about my country and inquired about my social media accounts. I felt loved, accepted, and welcomed despite being many miles away. KHS celebrates diversity and long-life relationships. It has also been a great pleasure to engage with both the teaching and non-teaching staff. I have developed good relationships with them as my parents and friends.” 

Garang hopes to continue his friendships after he returns home. 

“I would like to host any of you in my country for some years to come. Whether your visit will either be for educational purposes or anything else, welcome to South Sudan.”