My journey here has already been amazing

My journey here has already been amazing


As I walked through the double doors, screams of the roaring crowd intensified. The red, black and white cheer uniforms reminded me of “High School Musical”. Kind faces and words were almost attacking me with politeness and millions of people asking, “Hey, where are you from?” The bright lights shining above, light up the gym as the boisterous music made me question if this was a high school rally or a party.

October of 2017 was when I finally decided to make the biggest decision of my life. I had previously been thinking about coming to America, but I was too afraid to take that big jump, scared of being separated from my family for 10 months, but my mom gave me the strength to do it.

It wasn’t until I got on the plane that I started overthinking my choice to spend 10 months here in America. I realized that I didn’t know much about this country. The things I knew about it were what the movies portrayed, like all Americans eat junk food all the time and that they are crazy about football. I didn’t even know what to expect about high schools here. Were they going to have the stereotypical popular mean girl? Or were all cheerleaders going to date someone from the football team?

I was nervous and very lost on the first day of school. I wasn’t sure how easy or fast I would be able to make friends here. For some reason I thought people were going to be rude to me.

To my surprise, people were very welcoming, excited and curious to see a Spanish exchange student like me. I was surprised and pleased to see how much diversity the school has in comparison to those in Spain, where diversity in schools is almost non-existent.

What is very weird but interesting to me is how the schools are so different between the U.S. and Spain. For example, in Spain you have one class for all of your subjects, which means that teachers are the ones rotating in the school from class to class. Another difference is that in Spain, school days are longer. In my old school I would start at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. versus in America school days are much shorter, which I’m very thankful for.

I appreciate the interest that American people have in getting to know about me and my culture. I am happy to answer funny questions such as “What language do Spanish people speak?” “Is Spain in Europe or Africa?” Or “Have you ever had In N’ Out?”

One of my first memories being here was the first time I went to an American grocery store. Oh god! I was shocked. My first thought was “You guys over here have like 1000 different types of ice-creams, juices, sodas…” That day I learned many things. You Americans like to eat Eggos, which I thought were eggs but apparently they’re waffles. My journey here has already been amazing, and full of new friends and experiences. I can’t wait to see what more things America has for me.


Rebeca 🇪🇸
exchange student from Spain
living with Peter and Liliana Poppler in Antelope, California



Learn more about becoming an ICES Exchange Student and Study in the USA

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