Alvaro, a senior from Spain attending high school in Pennsylvania, decided to join the PSE program “to learn English and the American culture, and to make American friends.”

He has made huge strides in accomplishing all of his goals since arriving on the program last Fall.

Recently, he celebrated a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday with his host family, enjoying the abundance of food and traditions that go along with it.

He has furthered his aspirations at school and through his participation in the school soccer team. Despite the restrictions on socializing due to COVID-19 protocols, including taking virtual courses half time and in-person courses the other half, he has been able to meet people nonetheless.

“I have friends in the classroom,” he shares. Of all subjects he is taking, Math is Alvaro’s favorite.

Kathleen, Alvaro’s local coordinator, describes Alvaro as happy, fun, polite, outgoing, and full of life. “He is loved by all of the students and teachers. He is a great soccer player and cook. I love his smile!” she shares.

Alvaro’s two most memorable experiences on the PSE program thus far have been playing on the school soccer team and traveling to Atlantic City with his host family. Soccer has been a passion of his for his entire life and he has been playing since he was four years old. “I have met two good friends on the soccer team,” he shares.

When asked about his host family, Alvaro enthusiastically responds, “My host family is the best that I could ever have! I have fun with them. My host family and I traveled to Atlantic City twice already, and I love going there.”

“Our family is very happy with Alvaro. We have great communication. He is wonderful, and we enjoy hosting him very much,” shares Carmen, Alvaro’s host mother. She continues:

“Alvaro is like another son for us. We cook together and laugh together. He has taught me how to make Paella, and we make it almost every Friday.”

Alvaro states that the exchange program experience has changed him as person and has made him more independent. “It has been a great experience!” he exclaims.

Before he returns to Spain, Alvaro would like to go to New York City and eat New York-style pizza. In the future, he plans to go to university and study Medicine.

Kathleen closes with this final message for Alvaro:

“Alvaro, I am so thankful and happy that I had the chance to meet you and have you as a student in the PSE program. You are an amazing young man, and you have been a pleasure!”

Written by Flo Ruiz; Edited by Ann Steffen

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