Sonya to the States

This year at CFHS, Ukraine’s Sonya Mikova can be seen wandering the halls as she is a new foreign exchange student.


Nathan Baszuro

Foreign exchange student Sonya Mikova exercises her cheerleading skills at the 2021 Homecoming Pep Fest.

It’s the start of a new school year and Sonya Mikova, a foreign exchange student from Ukraine, has decided to join us at Cannon Falls High School.  On the first day of school, when Sonya walked through Cannon Falls’s double doors, she was struck by how massive Cannon is compared to her school in Ukraine. Sonya was at first apprehensive due to the school’s size. She was nervous that she would be unable to find her classrooms and would find herself lost in the school. All her fears were for not, though, because she now maneuvers the high school halls like she has attended this school for years. 

When asked what the biggest difference is between her school in Ukraine and Cannon Falls she replied, “ in Ukraine, we don’t choose our own classes,” a sharp contrast to American schools where students can choose some of their own classes once they reach the high school level. In Ukrainian schools, students’ classes are chosen for them all the way through their secondary education. Another difference, Sonya mentioned, is that “we stay in one group of people.” When attending school in Ukraine, students will stay with the same group of classmates for every class as opposed to America where a student can have different classmates in every class, and even attend classes with multiple students from different grades as well. The biggest difference between American and Ukrainian schools is also Sonya’s favorite, the ability to choose classes.

An extension of Sonya’s favorite aspect about High School in America is the ability to take art classes along with being able to participate in extracurricular activities. Once a student reaches ninth grade, or the third level as it is also called in Ukraine, they no longer offer art classes or after-school activities. This is why when given the chance Sonya, jumped on the opportunity to become a cheerleader. We can now see her on the sidelines cheering on the Cannon Falls football team every Friday night. When it comes to the arts, Sonya likes to sing, making her the perfect new addition to the high school choir. It is good to hear that Sonya is enjoying her time so far at Cannon, but she still has a lot of kind things to say about her school back in Ukraine.

Sonya said her favorite thing about Ukraine is “the diversity of knowledge that we have.”  Ukraine’s core curriculum includes Ukrainian language and literature, foreign language, history, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and physical education. For their foreign language course, Ukraine offers a wide array of languages to choose from. Sonya’s favorite subject is human anatomy.  When she returns to Ukraine at the end of next semester, Sonya has to finish up one more year of high school, and then she is off to university. As sad as it will be to see Sonya walk out of Cannon Falls’ doubled doors for the last time, CFHS is glad that she decided to attend this school. The rest of the school year is still ahead, ready to be shared with Sonya Mikova.