Meet Maria Arellano, a sophomore exchange student from Spain. Considering America as her “second home”, Maria connects to American teenage girls in so many different ways: she enjoys listening to One Direction, going shopping, and watching Gossip Girl. Former Journalist Jean Ye interviewed her recently. Read along to find out more about this new member of our bearcat family!
Q: Hi, Maria! Can you tell me something about your journey? Where are you from? Can you tell me your first impression of America?
A: I’m from Mallorca, Spain. Mallorca is an island, and it is really beautiful. One sunny morning on August 5, I took a plane to Barcelona, from there to Paris, and from there to San Francisco. It is like the fifth time I’m in the USA. The other times I was in the best summer camp ever, so I remember the first thing that I thought when I arrived here was something like “at my second home again”. I was really happy of being here again.
Q: Can you tell me more about the summer camp?
A:The summer camp is in Occidental (Sonoma), and, for me, it is the best camp ever. We did a lot of cool games, and the people and the counselors were great. Once a week, we went to the beach and had a dance. It was a great experience.
Q: How did you feel when you left your hometown, your family, and your friends behind?
A: I felt sad, of course; I really love my family, and I have very good friends in Spain.
Q:Is school back home different from school in America? Are there any differences between the two school systems?
A: So my school in Spain is a school only for girls, and it is really small (there are only 15 girls in my class). We have to wear uniforms. We also don’t have lockers. In Spain, the students don’t have to change classrooms; it is the teacher that comes to our class. So I’m really really happy that I am in San Mateo because it is great, and I love the school. I also like the people; they are super nice.
Q: Back at home, what do you enjoy doing when you have time?
A: I like going shopping with friends, going to the movies, hanging out in someone’s house, going to the beach in summer…
Q: Can you name some differences between your home country and America?
A: Some food is different, and also the houses are a little different (and the little towns). The clothes are the same.
Q: Different food? What is your favorite dish here then? Is there a particular restaurant that you are in love with?
A: I think what is more different is that there are more fast food chains. My favorite dish here is pumpkin pasta that my host mum makes.
Q: After your adventure ends, will you miss the school and your friends here?
A: Just thinking about having to go back…I really feel that I am going to miss everybody, especially all my friends because they are awesome! They are great: the best friends anyone could have. I am trying to convince my parents to stay more. I will also miss the school because it is better than the one I go to in Spain.
Q: If you could bring your friends to your hometown, where would you take them?
A: I would show them the downtown and the shops; we would go to a typical restaurant.
Q: What’s your favorite sentence in your own language?
A: Vive cada dia como si fuera el ultimo, nunca tendras la oportunidad de vivirlo otra vez (live every day like it was the last one because you are never going to live it again).