International Exchange Program

International Exchange Program

International Exchange Programs at RUHS

The International Exchange program at RUHS is comprised of students from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to make connections with visiting exchange students.

Students and their families not only provide hospitality for exchange students from all corners of the globe, but travel on exchange programs as well. During the course of the school year, students host a series of Dialog Nights featuring adults and students who have traveled abroad, as well as information nights for students who want to take part in exchanges or hosting. Membership is open to all RUHS students.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on student exchange programs everywhere during 2020, but this year Randolph Union High School has rebounded with an impressive four exchange students in attendance. Over the coming weeks, we'll introduce you to our four visiting students here.

Meet Tina Vesmina

Story by Wilder Grimes, courtesy of The Herald October 14, 2021Picture of Tina Vesmina

Meet Tina Vesmina, a junior from Latvia. She is 16 years old and this is her first time visiting the U.S.

Vesmina is fluent in Latvian, Russian, and English, and she knows some German and Ukrainian as well. She grew up in Liepaja, a port city on the coast of Latvia. More recently, Vesmina lived in Riga, Latvia’s capital city, where she went to high school.

Latvia is located on the Baltic Sea and bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus. She described Latvia as a small country—“a little more than 50% of the country is trees”—and one that is rich in traditions. For example, the Latvian Song and Dance Festival has been celebrated every five years since 1873.

“We’re a big singing and dancing nation,” she said.

Randolph is much smaller than Riga, and Vesmina said she finds the people at school outgoing and friendly, with much less drama. She said the climate is similar, but that it’s colder in Latvia.

“Everyone is trying to scare me with the Vermont winter, but I don’t know that that will be the case.”

When asked about the food here, Vesmina she was shocked by how much bread people eat.
“In school they give us cheeseburgers—that would not happen back home. That really was the biggest ‘wow’ about food here, everything is flour and bread.”

Vesmina said she cooked for her host family and they were surprised by the food she made. Latvians eat a lot of soups and potatoes—and definitely not as much bread. Her favorite thing to eat in Latvia is a dish called plovs, which also happens to be the national dish of Uzbekistan. It is made with rice, carrots, tomatoes, and pork, similar to risotto.

Long School Day

School here is very different, Vesmina said. In Latvia, school starts at 8:30 a.m. and students don’t get out until 5 or 6 p.m. She likes the greater freedom to select classes that she found here, which she thinks allows for students to focus on their interests before getting to college.

“In Latvia, they have the perspective that we need to learn everything. Here you learn what you like and you go deep in it,” she said.

Back home, Vesmina was president of the school council for a few years. Outside of school, she did ballet for 10 to 11 years until she had to quit because of an injury. She spends a lot of time with friends, going to concerts, and shopping. She doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do after high school, but she’s considering studying in the U.S.

Welcome, Vesmina, to RUHS.