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Exchange student from Korea spends school year on farm

9:56 AM, Mar 20, 2012   |    comments
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  • Jun Lee is an exchange student from Korea.
    

It's kind of like that old television comedy series 'Green Acres,' where glamorous Eva Gabor moved from the city to a farm with her husband.

A big city kid is spending the school year here in rural East Tennessee.

A farm in Loudon County is a long way from Korea.

John Goddard is the Loudon County extension director. He and his family are hosting an exchange student.

"He's 5' 10" and a half. I was looking for some little pip squeak but he's big so he kind of fits in my family. We're all pretty tall," John Goddard said.

Exchange Student Jun Lee said, "I live in Seoul, Korea, and it's the biggest city in Korea. It's really crowded like New York. And if I compare to here, it's really different. There's no horse, no cows, or no sheeps."

He quickly became familiar with sheep. "His first full day here he showed a sheep at the Knoxville Fair. He'd never even seen a sheep before," Goddard said.

In fact, Jun Lee knows a lot about sheep now after a half-year on the farm. He tends to the lambs, goes to chicken shows, and has even shown a few pigs at 4-H events. On the farm he takes care of pigs.

"Feed, and clean their room because they poop or pee a lot," he said.

"American kids that we deal with already know how to do something and they've learned wrong. He doesn't know how to do anything so we tell him," Goddard said. "He logs it in, he doesn't forget it so it's been a different experience for me. I would love to have a classroom of kids like him to teach."

In the classroom, U.S. history is his most difficult subject.

Gage Goddard helps him with that, and Gage also has helped Jun learn the basics of farm life.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. But you don't really have to lead him there, he can pretty much figure it out on his own," Gage said.

The two 15-year-olds from different worlds have bonded.

"I think we've become friends, just become good pals over the time he's been here," Gage said. "We have more things in common than a sister who is five years older than me. And we can help, well, I really like his ability to help me with math."

Jun tutors his classmates in math, his best subject.

He already knew English when he came to the states.

"I speak in English every day so I think my English skill is getting better," he said.

Hosting an exchange student has been a good experience for the Goddard family.

"My son especially who never had a brother. He has a sister. And now he has the brother he always wanted," John Goddard said.

Jun has enjoyed it too.

"I love bread and meat and I eat a lot over here but in Korea the main food is rice or vegetables and sometimes meat but I like American food more than Korean food," he said.

He'll miss the food when he goes home and something else he can't do in Korea: four wheeling.

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