We touched base with Teresa, from Spain, who participated in the program through our partner in Spain, CLS Idiomas. Below, you’ll get a glimpse into her experience as a Spanish exchange student living in the United States.
My High School Exchange Program: Tereasa (Spain)
Last August, I landed at Pittsburgh’s airport and then headed to my new home of Indiana, Pennsylvania with a lot of desire and enthusiasm to start this great adventure.
Living with a Host Family
My American family was different from what I was used to. I was going to live with divorced parents and I had four sisters (although two of them were already in college). The truth is, I thought the parents’ situation was going to be more difficult, but I got used to it very quickly and became very fond of both sides.
I also had the opportunity to travel a lot with my family: we went to three Penn State football games (since they were quite a fan), we traveled to North Carolina to visit one of my American sisters, and we went to New York for 4 days.
We also celebrated Thanksgiving with turkey and eating all day. Christmas was amazing, I spent it on the farm of my mother’s American family: typical farmer’s house with plaid shirts singing country songs. I have always felt part of the family like everyone else and I noticed that they appreciated me a lot. It was like being “home.”
Attending American High School
I remember the first days of school were a bit confusing, but then everyone was very nice to me and tried to help me with my classes as much as possible. I was the only Spanish person at my high school and everyone wanted to meet me and know more about Spain.
The classes I attended were amazing, just like in the movies. I had my own locker; ate in the cafeteria; took cooking, theater, and photography classes; etc… My dream of attending an American high school became true!
I had the chance to play three sports (one per season, as it works in the US:) tennis in the fall, swimming in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring (although the lacrosse season ended soon due to the coronavirus.)
I made a lot of friends both in sports and in class and I had a great time with them. On Fridays, we would go to American football, hockey, or basketball games (depending on the season.) There was always a “theme” about it so everyone all from my high school would be dressed the same. It was super cool. I was able to attend homecoming and it was a lot of fun! Everyone was super elegant and groomed (totally like in the movies.)
Unfortunately in March, my parents told me that I had to return to Spain due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was a very hard blow since I had so many things to live and I had to say goodbye to all my friends and family from one day to the next. However, I will surely go again next summer to visit my host family and friends and some friends will also come to visit me in Spain.”
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