Mill Valley welcomes exchange students from Spain and Mexico

Juniors Eva Garcia and Diego Medina compare their lives in their native countries to life in America

Katelyn Krosky , JagWire reporter/photographer

Many of us can only dream about  spending the school year in an- other country, but for exchange  students, Eva Garcia from Spain and Diego Medina from Mexico, this is  their reality. 

Medina and Garcia have had to  adjust to an entirely new atmosphere.  From differences in family, culture,  and schooling, the world in which  these students live has been completely flipped.  Medina said that America is different in “an economic way,” and that,  “it’s weird living with another family.” 

Both students say that school in  Kansas is much different than school  in their home countries. According  to Garcia, there is a wider offering of  classes compared to Spain.  

“Here you have more specific subjects,” Garcia said. “In Spain, you have math, you don’t have any other  [classes] like calculus.” 

Medina emphasizes that the atmosphere at Mill Valley contrasts from  the environment of his original school.  According to Medina the typical life in Johnson County is also different compared to his home country Mexico.  

“I don’t see many people that don’t  live good, not like in Mexico,” Medina  said. There are multiple reasons for exchange students to want to come to  another country. Medina has very  practical reasons for wanting to come  to the U.S., believing that he can benefit from his experience in Kansas. Medina says being in Kansas could help  him in the future.  

“It gives you a lot of work opportunities and it’s also good to learn another language,” Medina said.  The process of becoming an exchange student is not always a simple  one. Garcia said that there was a long  process she had to follow to come here.  

“You have to do some exams, and  some tests, go ask for a visa, and then  look for someone who wants to host  you for this high school,” Garcia said.  

In addition to this, it is also not an  easy task to host an exchange student,  and includes various steps. Garcia’s  host parent and district patron, Susan  Kamunyu, confirms this. Kamunyu is  a volunteer for the organization ANB  Education; this organization helps exchange students experience American  culture through local host families. 

“ANB Education was looking for a  host family. I just told them I’m interested and it was connected to ANB,  and that’s how I did my application,”  Kamunyu said. “There was a background check, they have to come to  your house and meet your family.”  

Furthermore, Kamunyu feels that  this process was completely worth it,  and encourages others to do the same,  “you learn a new culture,” and, “do  something good for humanity,” Kamunyu said.  

Though Garcia and Medina’s life  has changed dramatically they still  value their experience here in Kansas.  

(Visited 159 times, 1 visits today)