Lauri Ropponen enjoys his time in Murrieta

Lucelis Martinez, Staff Writer

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Lauri Ropponen, a senior, is one of two foreign exchange students at VMHS this year.

“VMHS has treated me well. I’ve had a lot of fun here, met a lot of new friends. I was helped to get the schedule I wanted, which is good. Although I was kind of surprised that exchange students are not that big of a deal here at VMHS, since it’s been a different story for some of my other Finnish exchange friends.”

This school year, VMHS has less foreign exchange students than last year which has been attributed to a simple coincidence. However, as Ropponen revealed in his statement above, VMHS has treated him positively. He’s been able to meet and learn about Murrieta. He was asked about his favorite things about Murrieta and what makes him happy here.”

Ropponen replied, “Sports and friends, new experiences like Disneyland and Magic Mountain, which I’ve both already been too. Murrieta is close to big cities, attractions,m and sports.”

Sports then, are a big positive Ropponen sees in Murrieta. Ropponen himself plays soccer at VMHS. Ropponen also talked about the differences between his home country and Murrieta.

“I’m from Riihimaki, Finland. A small town in Southern Finland.”

I’m from Riihimaki, Finland. A small town in Southern Finland.”

— Lauri Ropponen

Ropponen was asked to talk about his favorite thing about Riihimaki, Finland. In his transition to Murrieta, there was sure to be something he missed about his culture. Ropponen expressed his favorite thing about Riihimaki, Finland from the simple things to what his home country taught him about growing up.

“Friends and food. Also independence as a human being. Here in the U.S. if you are under 21 you don’t have a lot of independence to your life.It is different in Finland.” So, the amount of independence given to high school students in Finland is different from the amount of independence given to high school students in Murrieta. Another difference that Ropponen spoke about are the differences he’s noted about the people he’s encountered.

“I’ve learned that here people say a lot of things but don’t go through with them.”

The biggest difference he’s noticed however is something that long time Murrieta residents have gotten used to.

“Biggest difference is weather for sure.”

Ropponen also talked about his future goals and aspirations, why he’s making the choices he’s making now.

Ropponen said,”My dream is to be an architect, but other than that I just would like to do something that makes me happy. This year will help me when applying for colleges, since an exchange year is a highly regarded experience in Finland.”

Towards the end of the interview Ropponen revealed an extra bit of information about how he felt about getting interviewed.

“I’ve only noticed that my english is better than I thought.”

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Lauri Ropponen enjoys his time in Murrieta