American Students Have Big Plans for Soviet Guests
NEWTON, MASS. — KRISTER JOHNSON has big plans for the Soviet teen-ager who will visit him as part of a historic exchange program. ``I want to take him to the John F. Kennedy Library, things like that,'' he says. ``But I don't want to just parade him around and show him the sites. I want to get to really know him well, and show him how kids in the United States live. I'm sure he'll be interested in movies and TV.''
Ned Armsby, Johnson's 10th grade classmate at Newton North High School, is equally excited.
``I'll take him to historic sites like the Freedom Trail, and maybe to some plays in Boston,'' he says, anticipating the arrival of his guest later this month. ``I'm in our school play, so I'll take him backstage. I want to get him involved in school activities - not just have him be a visitor.''
Eleventh-grader Lorraine Chao knows where she will be spending her time.
``I was at a camp last summer where we had some Soviet kids, and the thing they really loved to do was go shopping,'' she recalls. ``Not so much to buy things as just to look at it all. Especially the malls - they don't have anything like that over there.''
Most of all, of course, everyone is wondering what the visitors are going to be like.
``The biggest question I have is how they will perceive our consumer-oriented society,'' says Mrs. Howard Blume, whose son, Kevin, is one of the students involved.
Mrs. Charles Armsby, who has hosted several exchange students, hopes those running the trip are thinking about this aspect too. ``A lot of the kids, when they come here it gets to be a shopping spree,'' she says. ``They're much more anxious to get American stuff than to experience American life.''
The students, meanwhile, are brushing up on their Russian, since it is generally assumed that the Soviets will have good command of English. ``Kevin has really gotten into it,'' Mrs. Blume says. ``He even goes around the house muttering in Russian.''
Meanwhile, on the horizon, there's the trip to the Soviet Union.
``I'm eager to see Red Square and places like that,'' Johnson says, ``But I also want to see life there as it really is. Our teacher told us about all the little caf'es, where you can get so much borsch for a few kopecks - things like that. I want to go around Moscow like a resident, not a tourist.''
Are they apprehensive about anything?
``Oh, I'm sure it will be tough at times,'' Johnson says, ``like when I try to convince them I take more than one shower a week. But I have a feeling all those problems have been worked out.''