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Chester County Press

Finnish exchange students join Upland's ninth grade

09/10/2014 05:50PM ● By Lev

Upland students Elsa Leino and Joona Sato-Hunsala, from Finland, with Upland head of school Tom Reid.

Upland Country Day School in Kennett Square welcomed two exchange students from Turku, Finland for the beginning of the school year.

Elsa Leino and Joona Sato-Hunsala have joined Upland’s ninth grade class. The two Finns arrived in time to begin preseason soccer and field hockey practice. Each year, Upland hosts several students from the area around Turku, Finland, to spend the year as members of the ninth grade class and live with Upland families for the school year. Each spring, Upland's eighth and ninth grade classes travel to Finland for 10 days to experience the history and culture there.

Elsa Leino is a member of Lahjan Tytot, an international competitive dance and gymnastics team based in Turku, and Joona is an ice hockey goalie for TPS Turku, an international ice hockey organization that has launched the careers of NHL and Olympic hockey players. Joona will be the goalie for Upland's hockey team this year.

“We are excited to have Elsa and Joona join our student body for the school year,” said Tom Reid, Upland’s new head of school. “The arrival of our exchange students each year is a much anticipated event. It’s an ideal opportunity for kids from completely different cultures to learn about each other. They each experience the language, customs and culture of another country and at the same time realize how much they have in common. They also form strong bonds that last well past the school year.”

This year is the 37th anniversary of the Upland-Finnish exchange program. Upland has the oldest middle school level international exchange program in the country. Since the program began, Upland has hosted 88 Finnish students.

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