“I like it here a lot,” said 17-year-old Jeongbin Park, with a huge smile attesting to her happiness.

“I like it here a lot,” said 17-year-old Jeongbin Park, with a huge smile attesting to her happiness. Jeongbin, an exchange student from South Korea, is spending the school year in Sleepy Eye. That’s a long way away, and life here is very different from her home.

How different? Well, Jeongbin lives in the city of Busan—the second largest city in South Korea. Now she is not only in Sleepy Eye, but is also living on a farm, with the Keith and Sarah Lendt family. “It’s my first time on a farm,” she said. “I like the big open space and being in nature.”

Jeongbin took this big leap into a different life in a different place because she wanted to improve her English and also learn about the culture in the United States. Whether Sleepy Eye can provide a thorough lesson on the country’s culture is yet to be learned. But for Jeongbin, Sleepy Eye is providing a lesson about nice people. Especially the nice people at Sleepy Eye High School.

“I have many nice friends at school,” said Jeongbin. “And the teachers help me a lot.” She said she especially likes her government class, but also noted the difference between her school in South Korea and school here. She likes it here.

“There I am in school from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., studying so much,” Jeongbin said. “We take classes like math, science and social studies. Here, I like that there is more variety, like P.E., creative writing and arts.”

Another thing Jeongbin is experiencing while in Sleepy Eye is being part of a school athletic team. She is a member of the River Valley Wildcats tennis team and enjoys it very much. She’s learning the game, with help from her experience playing badminton. She said it is good to be involved in a school activity, win or lose. “I am having fun and I like the other girls,” said Jeongbin, with another big smile.

Next up is learning about cold and snow. Jeongbin said it snows at her home only a couple times a year. She claims to like snow—we’ll see.

Jeongbin will return to South Korea for one more year of high school. Then she would like to go to college, preferably in the United States, to study business and maybe even live here as an adult. Remember? She likes it here.

Jeongbin said her father and mother work in business in South Korea. She has an older sister who is studying in San Diego this year.