Aim of Thailand loving Big Sky Country

Charlie Denison

Aim enjoyed playing volleyball this year for Winnett-Grass Range. Here she is pictured with foreign exchange field representative Chrissie Tharp, left, and her host mother Johanna DeVries before a match.

Photo courtesy of Aim Khankaew

Aim said she finds rural life in Montana “cool” and enjoys seeing all the cowboy hats. Here she is taking part in rural life at school recently.
Photo courtesy of Aim Khankaew

Aim Khankaew of Northeast Thailand is happy to be in Montana, although it wasn’t exactly her first choice.

“I wanted to go to Illinois, Virginia or Oregon,” she said. “Illinois for Chicago, Virginia because I’d just be a train ride away from New York, and I don’t remember why Oregon.”

Despite Montana not being on the list, Aim said she honestly doesn’t mind, as her experience has been great so far.

“Living in Grass Range has been good,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of people. They’ve been very nice. Everyone has helped me. It’s been a good experience.”

Still, the experience doesn’t come without its challenges, Aim said. Her biggest challenge: learning English,

“The language has been very difficult,” she said. “It is a big problem for me. We don’t speak English in Thailand. I have to speak it here. I have to improve myself.”

Aim got to the United States in August. Now halfway through her foreign exchange program, she said her English has improved, but she still wouldn’t say she’s as comfortable as she’d prefer.

Speaking of comfort levels, Aim isn’t crazy about the cold, either, but she said it’s alright if she’s prepared.

“I just wear a heavy coat,” she said.

Aim stays positive, making the most of her time in rural Montana, which she said is “really cool.”

“I like that people wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats,” she said. “I like that people ride horses and feed their cows. I haven’t ridden a horse yet, but I’d like to before I go back to Thailand.”

In school, Aim said she is particularly fond of English class, as she’s learning a lot and her teacher “is funny.”

She also enjoys extra curricular activities.

“I played volleyball in the fall and now I am cheerleading,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Aim has also enjoyed doing some sightseeing with her host mom, Johanna DeVries.

“We went to Chico Hot Springs once and in October we went to Yellowstone National Park,” Aim said. “Yellowstone was an especially great trip. We also went to a basketball game at Montana State to see the Bobcats. I’d like to go to another basketball before I go home.”

But the adventure Aim said she most looks forward to is her trip to New York City with fellow foreign exchange students this May.

But then it’s back to Thailand, where she plans on finishing school and heading to college to study business.

“I want to be involved in management,” she said.

But, until then, Aim has a lot of living to do, and a lot of experiences ahead. Come what may, she said she’ll always look back fondly at her time in Grass Range.

“I like this small town life,” she said.





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