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Sara Diaz: All the way from Alcorcon, Spain

Foreign exchange student experiences her first year in the U.S.


As the school year begins, four new foreign exchange students attend PRHS for the first time, joining the students in sports, clubs, and classes. This year, the students journeyed from Spain, Italy, Japan, and Sweden. Sara Diaz, the only female foreign exchange student this year, has come from Alcorcon, Spain, a city southwest of Madrid, where she lived with her twin sister, Alba, her mom, and her dad. She arrived in Paso on August 12, 2016, after Diaz made the 5,827 mile journey over three different flights. Her first flight took her to Atlanta from Madrid. From Atlanta, Diaz took a flight to Los Angeles, then from LA to San Luis Obispo. The entire journey took 24 hours.

When she arrived, Diaz’s host family, the Adams, met her at the SLO airport. They haven’t been able to take Diaz many places yet, but her hosts have brought her to some events, such as volunteer work for firefighters.

“She is a social, kind, loving, affectionate girl. [She is] very acquisitive and wants to learn everything she can,” said Junior Blakelee Adams, one of Diaz’s host sisters.

While being hosted here in the US, Diaz has the opportunity to accomplish some of many goals she has set.

“What made me come [to the US] was the aim to know more English and more about the American culture,” said Diaz. “[I have come here] in order to see the world from a totally different point of view and become more mature and responsible.”

As one might expect, living in Spain and living in America are two incredibly different experiences. In Spain, Diaz experienced a different culture, school, classmates, and friends. For example, she stayed in the same class with the same 20 to 30 classmates during the school day while the teachers moved from class to class. Diaz prefers that system over the PRHS system of changing classes because it allowed her to get closer to her classmates. Other differences include the behavior and personality of citizens; according to Diaz, Americans citizens are more kind and giving.

“The way [the people] act is completely different. The food is really different. Almost everything. It’s a really different culture,” Diaz said.

Joining Diaz in her endeavor of being immersed in a new culture and country are foreign exchange students Manato Maeda from Japan, Javi Roy from Spain, Luca Sturaro from Italy, and Tobias Mäder from Sweden. She attends both International and Adventure club with the other students on Mondays and Tuesdays and is taking three advanced classes: Honors Pre Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry. Robotics, english, and US History fill the rest of her schedule. Her favorite classes are robotics and AP Physics because she loves anything to do with engineering.

Senior Matt Olsen

Senior Matt Olsen, Diaz’s partner in AP Physics, mentioned the cross country team to her in class during the second week of school.

“He told me about it and I really wanted to join,” Diaz recalled. She joined the Cross Country team on September 1 and runs with the team every day for one to two hours after school.

Diaz may be enjoying her time in Paso Robles, but she still misses home and the many familiar people and places there.

“I miss my relatives, the food, and my friends. A lot of things, in fact,” Diaz said.

Although she misses home, Diaz looks forward to her life in Paso Robles and has set goals for her stay. Experiencing a new culture, gaining more maturity, and improving her english are all included in those aspirations. She’s come to see the US for the first time and is happy for the opportunity to have the unique experience of studying abroad.



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