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East Texas exchange students celebrate the holidays

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POSTED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 11:44pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 4:49pm

Christmas is fast approaching.

In fact,  the big day is less than three weeks away!

And while you enjoy the holiday with your family, others who are visiting East Texas,  will be taking part in another family's traditions.
It's all part of being a foreign exchange student.

And the students we spoke with couldn't be more excited.

Meet Janet Nwachukwu from Saudi Arabia, Jundo Li from China and Daniel Choi from Korea.

All three are foreign exchange students studying at The Brook Hill School--- a private christian boarding school in Bullard.

And--- they all just celebrated their first Thanksgiving.

"It was a great experience to have a Thanksgiving."

Now,  with the help of their teachers and host families, they're learning why Christmas is so special.

In their cultures and religions, they do not celebrate the way we do.

Janet doesn't openly celebrate Christmas.

"Back home,  we couldn't really decorate our house or we would get in trouble. Not necessarily killed, but get in trouble. So,  every thing we did for Christmas was done inside our house."

Jundo doesn't know anything about the holiday.

"My family, we are Buddhist we don't celebrate Christmas stuff. We don't believe that God gave us everything."

So, as you can imagine, traditions here are quite "foreign."  

Choi says, "I went to Fort Worth,  and there was a big tree celebrating Christmas with a whole bunch of lights in the street,  and I was like, Wow."

Regenea White is a boarding parent at the school.

"You don't tell them their way of living or their beliefs are wrong, you tell them this is how we celebrate here."

And offer them an opportunity to learn,  and a opportunity to make their own decisions.
Some of the students tell KETK,  that while they are excited to learn about Christmas,  they will be spending the day back home with their families.

 

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This story brought back memories when my daughters were in college at Jacksonville College. They were always bringing home students, and one year for the Christmas Holidays they brought home two young ladies from Japan. These girls were not familiar with our Christmas traditions, but we enjoyed having them and sharing with them an "East Texas Christian Christmas". They had a good time and we did also as we shared our beliefs and they shared theirs. I'll never forget those blessings.

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