• Last modified 55 days ago (Feb. 28, 2024)


Exchange student adjusts to rural life

Staff writer

While attending Centre High School as a junior, Jimena Sanchez is living with the Eric Carlson family of Lincolnville.

Coming from the central Spain city of Coslada, with a population of almost 82,000, living in a distinctly rural community was an adjustment.

“I’m used to it now,” she said. “The people here are really nice, and it’s fun to experience a different area.”

She decided to come to the United States after hearing from former exchange students.

“I also wanted to learn English,” she said.

She speaks Spanish at home and studied English in high school but now will be conversant in it.

Teenagers driving cars was a new thing to her.

“There are a lot more cars,” she said. “In Spain, only adults can drive cars. My parents drive cars to work or to take me places; otherwise, I can walk to nearby places or ride the subway.”

Classes aren’t quite as intense at Centre as they are at home, she said.

“It’s so practical here,” she said. “We study more there.”

Jimena hasn’t been afraid to get involved. She plays basketball with the Carlsons’ daughter, Olivia, who also is a junior. They get along well and understand each other, Jimena said.

She stays in touch with her parents and older sister every weekend through an app on her cell phone.

Her father works for BP, an international oil company. His team handles international clients who have fleets of vehicles. Her mother works for an insurance company.

Looking ahead to the end of the school year, she said, “I feel it’s going to be so sad. I like my life here but also would like to see my family for a week and then come back.”

With one more year of secondary school in Spain, she doesn’t know yet what she will do when she graduates.

Last modified Feb. 28, 2024