When students come to JVS, they are in classes with students from 13 different Associate Schools. Successful students grow to respect those who come from different families, communities, socio-economic backgrounds, races, and genders. Their world views grow every day at the JVS with each new person they meet.
Two current students,
Vy Huynh and Youngeun Jang, have expanded their perspectives even further; they
are adapting to an entirely different country as part of the International
Student Exchange Program.
Vy (ve) is from
Binh Duong, a suburb in Southeast Vietnam over 8,000 miles away. Youngeun (yung-en) traveled 6,800 miles from
Yangsan City, South Korea, a metropolis of nearly 350,000 people. Neither had
left their countries before they boarded a plane to the United States.
Vy shared that the day the International Student Exchange Program came to her school was very meaningful to her because she had “always dreamed to study abroad.” Both she and Youngeun had to put in a lot of work to participate. They competed and won scholarships to come to the United States and then each committed to a year abroad. While in this country, they live with a host family, the Melnyks from Wellington.
Tammy Melnyk, JVS Math Instructor and LCCC Adjunct, said she has hosted 15 foreign exchange students over the last decade. The family hosts students in pairs to ease any anxiety students may feel upon arrival, as it helps to have someone there who understands exactly what they’re experiencing.
The girls laughed about their first day in the US. “It was so awkward, you’re living with strangers,” both young ladies said. But now they’ve become a part of the Melnyk family. “I get to invest deeply in the life of a student and help them to grow and thrive,” said Melnyk.
At the JVS, Vy is enrolled in the Allied Health Program, where she gets hands-on experience in the medical field. Vy participates in an extensive internship program with Hospice of Lorain County. She will have the opportunity to earn her CPR/First Aid Credential, OSHA 10 Credential and the State Tested Nursing Assistant credential. Vy said she wanted to learn how to help people and learn a trade that would be useful. In Vietnam, Vy’s family works in the business field. “Health is different. It is an amazing adventure. I want to challenge myself.”
Susan Wallace, JVS Allied Health Sciences Instructor, praises her work ethic. “She is a serious student who works hard every day, maintains a positive attitude, and gets along very well with everyone. She will make an excellent health care provider.”
Youngeun chose the Marketing and Entrepreneurship Program. She is learning marketing and management techniques in the areas of sports, entertainment and fashion. She gets hands-on experience in the class as they run the JVS Corner Shoppe, an experience she never would have had at home in South Korea. “The store is my favorite thing. It’s fun to work with customers and learn about running a business,” said Youngeun. “My mother is a CEO of a tutoring business, and now I’m interested.”
Both Vy and Youngeun also take a full course load of academics at the JVS, including English, Math and Civics and are excelling, with both of them earning straight A’s.
JVS Social Studies Instructor Jennifer Pluta has had the pleasure of teaching both girls. “Youngeun and Vy are both amazing students and individuals. I love the passion they have for learning about our government and psychology. They bring a world view to my classes and their classmates enjoy learning more about their cultures and the difference with ours. They set a great example for all of us to embrace opportunities.”