It began at the beginning of this last school year, when science teacher Joni Nieland introduced one of the new foreign exchange students to her class.
“This is Sam. He has an elephant,” she said.
That came as news to the student, Naruth Kongurai of Thailand.
“What?!” he inquired.
It began at the beginning of this last school year, when science teacher Joni Nieland introduced one of the new foreign exchange students to her class. “This is Sam. He has an elephant,” she said. That came as news to the student, Naruth Kongurai of Thailand. “What?!” he inquired. After filling Nieland in that he doesn’t own an elephant, or even a tiger, Kongurai (who still goes by “Sam” while he’s in the U.S.) began telling her about what Thailand is really like. It sounded interesting — so interesting Nieland decided she wanted to visit. Partly inspired by a school trip to Costa Rica she helped sponsor several years ago, Nieland decided to give it a whack. The trip is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2013. Beyond that, most of the details are still up in the air. Will the trip last for one week? Two? Where will they go, and where will they stay? What will they see, and what will they hear? To help fill in the details, and to give anyone else who’s interested a chance to visit Thailand, Nieland has decided to open the trip up to anyone who wants to go along. The trip isn’t school sponsored, so anyone — students, parents, singles, retirees, etc. — is being invited along. So far, in addition to Nieland’s family, four other individuals have expressed an interest in going. However, to make the package deal from the English Foundation be most economical, the more people who go, the less expensive it is for each person. “I’d like to see at least 10 people go,” said Nieland. “Nothing is in stone yet, and we can still customize our plans.” If a trip to Thailand is something you’ve always fantasized about, the earlier you get involved with this one, the more you can be involved in the planning of it. For more information, contact Nieland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sam will return to Thailand when this school year is over, but looks forward to visiting with his new Redwood Falls friends the summer after next, including Nieland. “I think she just wants to see elephants,”?he said.