Hunju Lee

Hunju Lee, 12, of South Korea is studying English at St Joseph's elementary where he impresses the class by doing long division in his head. (CBC)

Hunju Lee, the youngest international student to attend school in Cape Breton, is carving a path for more elementary students to study English in Nova Scotia.

The 12-year-old South Korean student attends St. Josephs Elementary School, where he impresses the class by doing long division in his head.

“I come here to study English and have fun time,” he said.

Hunju said Sydney Mines is much different from his home city of Seoul, with a population nearing 10 million.     

“Here is very good, here is a little bit small but here is very beautiful and peoples are very good, very kind. I like here,” he said.

His Grade 5 teacher Diane Gaudet said he's had no trouble fitting in.

“I wasn’t sure how good his English was, but once I met him, I’m so honoured to have him in my class,” she said. “He’s a delightful child.”

Outside the classroom, Hunju is on the school basketball team. He said he enjoys watching hockey and his favourite food so far is poutine.

Hunju is spending four months in Sydney Mines with a host family. It’s a long time to be away from his parents, he said.

“They think I’m very brave,” he said.

His classmate Ian Jenkins agrees.

“I don’t think I could do it, I’d be so scared. I’d be scared to go to Halifax by myself,” he said.

Hunju is the youngest international student to attend school in Cape Breton. School board officials say it's working out so well more at the elementary level could soon follow.