American Classmates Having Difficulty Understanding Better Educated Foreign Exchange Student

Illustration for article titled American Classmates Having Difficulty Understanding Better Educated Foreign Exchange Studentem/em

SACRAMENTO, CA—Addressing the glaringly obvious cultural and linguistic differences that have become apparent in their American classroom, students at Anderson Valley High School admitted Thursday that they were experiencing difficulty understanding Timo Mäkinen, a far more thoroughly educated foreign exchange student visiting from Finland. “I feel bad because Timo is new to this country and we want him to feel welcome, but every time he speaks, the class gets lost in about five seconds because of the thoroughly informed, nuanced concepts he shares,” Anderson Valley principal Alexis Howard said of Mäkinen, whose nation avoids the almost useless practice of regular standardized testing and pays for the mandatory Masters education required of all Finnish teachers. “He always raises his hand respectfully while participating in class discussions, talks about countries the students have never heard of, and tries to help other students with the basics of math and science, but they just get confused. He even sticks out at lunch because he doesn’t eat hot dogs and cafeteria pizza. Timo’s polite about it, but he just sticks to vegetables and yogurt. And it doesn’t help that kids say it’s really hard to understand what he’s talking about due to his precise English diction and extensive vocabulary.” Howard remains hopeful that she could still make Mäkinen feel at home, as they were slated to spend time hiding in the same room during next week’s school shooting lockdown drill.

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