United Studies Student Alumni Spotlight - Andrea from Spain

15 April 2020

Meet Andrea, our United Studies Student Alumni for the month of April!

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Andrea, I’m 19, and I’m currently a Sophomore at the University of Seville where I study the double degree of Law and Business Administration and Management. I love traveling and meeting people from all over the world which was one of the reasons why I decided to be an exchange student!

Tell us about your exchange year in the US

I lived in Warrenton, Virginia during the school year 2016/2017 and I went to Highland School where I was a Junior. I'm going to start talking about that, my high school experience in the USA. As I said before I went to Highland school and I can only say good things about this place, everyone was so nice with me from the teachers and the classmates to all the people working there. The classes were dynamic and useful so I truly learned while having a nice time and I loved all the clubs and activities that they organized as Spirit Week, Prom, Empty Bowls or the theater functions.

But one of the best things about my school experience didn't happen in the classes but in the sport fields. I was part of the basketball and the softball team, and joining these teams was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My teammates became my best friends there and I made many greats memories which I still remember 4 years later, some of my favorite ones are when I skipped school to go to Virginia Beach with the softball team to play a game or when we won a game against our best rival in the last second during the basketball season. 

The other important part of my year was definitely my host family, I had to change it after three months but I ended up living with three awesome persons, my host parents and my host sister. I had a great time with them and I'm really glad that our relationship didn't end once I went back home since they came to visit me one summer and then I went to visit them in Denmark last Christmas.

How did your year in the US affect your life now?

My time on exchange has definitely helped shape me as a person, I returned not only knowing much more English, which as helped me in many ways since I went back home, but being a much more mature and independent person. Studying there has given me the confidence to continue pursuing opportunities that lie outside of my comfort zone, as studying next year in Italy or volunteering in my free time.

What is one thing that surprised you about living in the US? 

One of the things that surprised me the most was the fact that you need the car for everything, because here I can go everywhere walking or using public transportation so that was a big difference for me. 

What is one thing that you learned about yourself living in the US? 

I learned many things but the one that made a big impact on how I am today and the way I act is that I can't be the best at everything I do but I can always try to be the best version of myself. This can seem a cliche thing to say but is totally true for me, before I joined the basketball team at Highland I didn't used to do something if I knew I was bad at it. But after honestly being the worst player of the team and still having fun going to practice and supporting my team I realized that my goal sometimes should not be to be the best of the team, the group or the class but to be better than I was the day before. 

What advice would you give future exchange students? 

All my advices can be summarized in three words “ Do not compare”. Try not to think what you would be doing back at home or what your friends there are doing at that moment, because there will be times when you will be studying or at school while they are at a party or doing something that you really like but the opposite will happen too is just that you won't realize at the moment. But also don’t compare your year in the USA with the experience of other exchange students because most of the experiences are not better or worse just different. To finish I would like to tell future exchange students a quote that I read days before the start of my exchange year and which I really didn’t understand until I finished it, “Exchange is not a year in a life, but a life in a year”. So enjoy every moment and be yourself!

Want to learn more about hosting an exchange student like Andrea?  Visit our WEBSITE for more information!  

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