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Exchange Students Come to the US: A Journey of Discovery

Spanish+exchange+students+and+their+teachers+enjoying+a+scenic+day+at+C.M.+Crockett+Park.
Spanish exchange students and their teachers enjoying a scenic day at C.M. Crockett Park.

Fauquier County Public Schools warmly welcomed sixteen exchange students from Spain with their two English teachers to accompany them. Both teachers, respectively, joined the students for their trip, which the students were all familiar with.

All of the students came from the small town of Palencia. Therefore, everyone had been well acquainted with one another from a young age.

Now that they are almost adults, they have the opportunity to experience unforgettable moments traveling the world together. These students have traveled to France, England, Italy, and the Netherlands. Now they have come to the United States to experience American culture and daily lifestyle.

“I’m grateful that I got to accompany the students on this terrific experience that they get from the exchange programs,”  said English teacher David del Valle “It’s not only an educational trip but they also get to meet new people, and have fun,”

Most of the students are used to traveling and know how important of an opportunity it is to experience a new culture. Each student vocalized that they treasure educational trips due to new learning experiences and obtaining more knowledge. 

“Everyone who took this trip is really good friends with each other and we are excited to experience America together,” said Martha Gie

In Palencia, everywhere is covered in rich history and profound legacy, which may have impacted their mindsets on America.

They have also taken English classes at their school in Spain, La Salle de Palencia. There, they learned a great deal of the English language. 

Everyone decided to embark on this journey to the United States to improve their language skills and learn more about the country. The Eagle Nation has a great fondness for having exchange students from Spain or anywhere else in the world because in return I allow them to meet new people and learn about their cultures in the small town, of Bealeton. 

The Spanish students stayed in the United States for a total of fourteen days. Nine out of the sixteen students came to Liberty High School and the rest went to Fauquier High School.

They began their journey in the States by arriving at Dulles International Airport on September 5.

“I felt off when I got off the plane in a different country but I was super curious,” said Eduardo Garcia

Then following their arrival, they headed to Fauquier High School to meet their host families that they would be staying with for almost two weeks.

“We were anxious to meet our host families since we didn’t know anyone in America,” said Sara Alonso

“The first thing that mesmerized me when I arrived, was that I saw teenagers driving around, where in Spain we don’t do that,” said Jimena Bayon

The next day, they began their experience of an American student lifestyle. Liberty High School was honored to have nine out of the sixteen exchange students. This gave Eagles eagerness to teach them about the American school system and to give them a tour around the school. The students were amazed at the variety of classes that students could take.

The following day, they headed to Fauquier High School in the morning and set off for Washington, D.C. They were given a walking tour of many different places in the capital that hold an abundance of importance to the United States and its people. They visited many memorials and museums, including the White House.

“I enjoyed seeing the historic monuments around Washington D.C.,” said Clara del Valle

On the fourth day of their stay, they went back to high school and reunited with their new friends. They participated in various activities during the day. One particular moment that stood out was being able to dance with Spanish teacher, Sra. Jaraba’s class. Every Friday, Sra. Jaraba has a “Fun Friday” where all of her students dance and sing together. She does this in part for fun, but also to unite her students and create a bond between them. Her students were full of excitement to dance among the Spanish students, as they were new to Fun Fridays. The Spanish students quickly got comfortable and joined Sra. Jaraba’s students, show off their dance moves.

Over the weekend, they were able to spend time with their host families and participate in activities together. The host families took them out to eat at some of their favorite restaurants. They also went shopping together, where they saw numerous fashion trends that were popular in the United States. On top of that, they bonded with their host families and friends playing arcade games and bowling.

The next day marked a new week and was very exciting for everyone. The students arrived and departed from Fauquier. They first visited the Manassas Battlefield, where they got to walk around on sacred ground and learn about the history of the wars that took place there. After they were done touring battlegrounds, they left for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also known as the National Air and Space Museum. Students got to observe and admire the many displays of aviation and space shuttles. Lastly, they went to Tysons Corner Mall, where the majority of the students were surprised at how it had four levels and the sheer size of it.

“What stood out to me in the mall was the different fashion trends and that people could wear what they wanted without getting judged,” said Hugo Diez

On the eighth day of their stay, they went back to Washington, D.C., but before they arrived, they made a quick stop at Arlington Cemetery. Thereafter, they proceeded on a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, which holds the legislative branches of the U.S. government.

The next day, they got to tour and learn the history of the town of Warrenton. Warrenton’s Old Town may be small, but it holds lots of significance. One of the more appealing buildings the students saw was the Old Jail Museum.

On the tenth day, students and teachers went on an incredibly scenic trip to Shenandoah National Park. They went hiking for a while and also toured the caverns. On this day, they got to see the natural beauty of Virginia.

The following day, they came back to school to continue their experience as American students. Additionally, over the last weekend of the exchange students’ stay, the hosts enjoyed the last bit of time they had to make their trip worthwhile.

“During the whole trip, I was mesmerized to see that American teenagers have more freedom than us as Spanish teenagers,” said Oliva Hueso

“It was cool that we got to make new friendships during this trip,” said Alejandro Herrero “The new cand we tried were very delicious.”

Host and exchange students enjoying each other’s presence and having a great time together.

Monday, the 18th, was the exchange students’ last day of their American high school experience. It was a very agonizing day for them. They had to say their goodbyes to the new friendships they built throughout the trip, some of which they may never see again.

The last official day they were in Virginia was Tuesday, September 19. It was a very bittersweet day for both the Spanish students and their hosts. Many of them created great friendships with each other and were sad to part ways with each other. Even though the students were sad, they were also excited, especially Pepe Poluorosa, since he had been eager to visit New York City since the first day of his arrival.

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About the Contributor
Connie Ulloa, Editor
Hello! My name is Connie Ulloa and I'm a senior at LHS. This is my second year at Liberty’s Patriot Press. This year I'm an editor and I'm excited about what opportunities this position will provide for me down the road. I'm ultimately excited to do journalism again. I'm really passionate about writing articles for Patriot Press for our students, teachers, staff, and others who are interested in the stories we cover. Some of my passions are writing, playing soccer, arts and crafts, and cooking.

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    Dr. Bernardine MilesNov 8, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Article beautifully written. I am glad the exchange students got a chance to experience some of VA’s grandeur.

    Reply