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Movies drive exchange student to see America

Godwin Gakpe, an Ellsworth High School exchange student from Ghana, had his first impression of the United States from the movies and that fueled his desire to see this country as an exchange student. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia

Finding a home away from home is what 11 foreign exchange students are trying to find in the Ellsworth School District this year.

Godwin Kudzo Gakpe from Ghana said he had wanted to see what America was like from impressions left on him from the movies.

"I used to watch American movies a lot and always wonder if what they show in their movies is what actually it is," Gakpe said. "Moreover [I] wanted to understand why others behave differently from how we behave and what definitely makes us different."

Gapke said Ellsworth is smaller than his home in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region which has a population of about 8,000 people. He said in Ellsworth almost everyone knows each other which is not the case in his hometown.

Gakpe, who is in 11th grade at Ellsworth, said he misses his family (mom, step-dad, and three sisters) but also has a family here.

"My host family," Gapke said, "are accommodating, loving and supportive."

So far Gapke has been able to experience many new and interesting things in the area. He said his favorites so far have been camping with the cross country team, tubing, bowling, going to Mall of America and visiting the Minnesota State Capitol.

While in school he finds his studies preparing him for his future goals. His favorite class is advanced placement biology which he hoped will help him in his future career plans.

"I want to be a neurosurgeon," Gapke said, "and in my country my favorite [classes were] physics and chemistry and mathematics."

During his stay, Gapke has maintained his positive attitude and what he is looking for in life.

"According to me," Gapke said, "the most important thing in [life] is showing respect to everyone, regardless of the person's status; stay positive, time conscious, determination, hard work and above all accepting our mistakes than apportion blame to others."