Exchange student Rainny Ruangprateepsaeng talks about life in Thailand, Mascenic experience

Nicharas “Rainny” Ruangprateepsaeng, an exchange student from Thailand, makes a presentation at Mascenic.

Nicharas “Rainny” Ruangprateepsaeng, an exchange student from Thailand, makes a presentation at Mascenic. —COURTESY PHOTO BY MOLLY BADRAWY

Nicharas “Rainny” Ruangprateepsaeng, an exchange student from Thailand, speaks to Mascenic students.

Nicharas “Rainny” Ruangprateepsaeng, an exchange student from Thailand, speaks to Mascenic students. COURTESY PHOTO BY MOLLY BADRAWY

By MOLLY FAIR BADRAWY

Mascenic Regional School District ESOL Teacher

Published: 05-27-2024 12:05 PM

Imagine moving from a metropolitan city with a population of over 11 million to a small village of 5,374, moving from a place where the year is 2567 BE to one in the year 2024 or hailing from a hometown with a 168-letter name so long that children have to learn a song to remember it.

All of these are the experiences of Northwest Services Peace Program exchange student Nicharas “Rainny” Ruangprateepsaeng, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, and a 17-year-old Mascenic Regional High School junior. In an effort to give back to the school community in which she has lived for the past 10 months, Rainny recently shared all of this information and more in a presentation titled “My Thailand.”

Presenting to Matt Peirce’s geography classes at MRHS and Crystal Scott’s second-grade and Andrea Duncan’s fourth-grade classes at Highbridge Hill Elementary School in New Ipswich, Rainny’s presentation shared information about herself and Thailand. Students learned that because of the very long, formal Thai names, children are given a meaningful nickname connected to their birth, or a characteristic they present at an early age. In Rainny’s case, she was born on a rainy day, hence the name Rainny, a spelling created by her family.

Students also learned that every day is assigned a different color in Thailand, and that wearing the color of the day is believed to bring good luck. With a smile, during her presentation on a Friday, Rainny gave the class a peek at the light blue T-shirt worn under her sweater.

Rainny also talked about the experience of being an exchange student, a new but appealing concept to many of the elementary school students. In fact, after hearing Rainny’s presentation, many students shared their interest in learning another language in high school, and over 60% of students expressed interest in becoming exchange students, citing learning another language and trying new foods as reasons why.

Certainly, being an exchange student is not for the faint of heart. HHES Assistant Principal Lisa Wilkinson said, “To be literally, on the other side of the world, far away from everything you know is so brave. Any time we can bring a little of the world into small town New Hampshire, it’s a good thing.”

Rainny agreed that bravery was required at the beginning of her stay. Thai students learn English from first to 12rh grades, but the focus is on reading, writing, and listening, but not speaking, so she wondered if she could be understood. Rainny feels that her ability to speak English will help with her future aspirations.

Although she will be returning to Thailand in June, Rainny has made the most of her year in New Ipswich. Parallel to presenting her culture, improving her English and being a member of the MRSD cheer team, Rainny, who someday plans to practice pediatric medicine, has continued learning virtually in Thailand. In fact, Rainny’s science team recently earned silver-medal honors in the highly competitive, 14th annual SCiUS Forum (Science Classrooms in University) for the research they presented in English named “Construction and Evaluation of Autoluminescent Expression Vector Under the Control of Cd-Responsive Promoter in Nicotiana benthamiana”.

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Rainny will leave her American experience in New Ipswich with many good memories from school and much gratitude. She said that this year was really special for her because, like many, due to COVID, she couldn’t go to in-person school for almost two years, completing eighth and ninth grade at home. During that time, she was not able to participate in any sports or after-school activities, like the long-awaited prom that she brought a dress from Thailand to attend.

She is grateful to her host parents, Mike and Lina Ferrera of New Ipswich, and shares her happiness and gratitude with the whole Mascenic community for making this year unforgettable.