Aquest curs alguns dels nostres alumnes fan el curs a l'estranger. En Taylor, auxiliar de conversa a la nostra escola, els anirà entrevistant.
Loa, Utah. Yep, as an American living here in Barcelona I can’t tell you a single thing about this town. Why? Well, because Loa might be the most unlikely place a Catalan student can end up. With a population of less than 600 people Loa is the epitome of a small town in the United States of America. The mountains welcome you with such an intensity it takes several days to feel like you’re truly one with the natural beauty of it all.
To confront the challenge of changing your life and moving to a new country, one has to be a strong willed risk-taker, Alba Ruiz Perez is no exception. Alba has taken on a year in the United States full of challenges, one being she’s the only exchange student at her school! Can you imagine not only leaving your friends and family behind but also joining a community where you are one of one?! This is something that Alba faced head-on and has made the most of these new, and sometimes unexpected experiences. Her first impression of living in the United States was, “people live in houses where all of them have a big garden. I live in a little town so everyone knows each other.” She knew it was going to be a strange transition leaving our city that hugs the Mediterranean sea but when she arrived “I thought it was interesting and different.”
Being the only exchange student is something that comes with baggage. That baggage being the fact that there’s a chance no one truly understands your background and experience. But this is what taking a year to find culture and adventure is all about as “the initial transition was hard” because of “meeting all the new people,” however, Alba made the most of these interactions early on, making friends and trying new things in and out of school. As with the usual tradition of playing high school sports in the United States, Loa has given Alba non-stop action outside of school allowing her to immerse herself in this great small community. Comparing school life between the United States and Spain, Alba makes a highlight of one major thing, “I feel like I have less time to do homework.” This is because if you can’t catch her in the classroom she’ll be playing sports with her peers, “I’m always out whether it is playing sports or spending time with my exchange family.”
To say that Alba has tried new things would be a huge understatement, she has tried everything! "I play a lot of sports like softball, track and field, and basketball." With experimenting with so many new experiences, there’s always the risk of being turned off by something, unfortunately for Alba it’s something she faces everyday, “The food, I do not like the food from America and I have tried most of it.” That being said she has taken a liking to this wild thing of uprooting her life, “I think the best part of all of this is that you get to know new people with other traditions, cultures, and beliefs.” One of the big differences with culture are the people according to Alba, “Here people are really nice to you and they try to make you feel at home. Everyone helps each other in this town.”
And so, her year continues! Surrounded by the mountains and people of Wayne County you may catch a glimpse of a Catalan girl going bowling with friends or catching a ride on what we call in the United States a 4-Wheeler. Life may be simple out in Loa, Utah but that community now has a special piece of Catalonia thriving and opening doors for cultural connections and understanding.