What would inspire a 14 year-old from Valencia, Spain to spend three months in Eugene, Oregon in the USA?

For Paula, it was the desire to live as an American teenager. “I wanted to come to America to live like an American teenager and learn about the culture.”

Paula has certainly embraced the experience and is taking advantage of every opportunity her high school in Eugene, Oregon, has to offer.

In her short time in the USA, Paula has joined the cross-country team, attended high school soccer and football games, made many friends, bonded with her host family, traveled with her host family to California, and has attended the Homecoming dance.

“Paula has embraced all of the school-based activities which they don’t have available in Spain,” says Kim, Paula’s host mother. She describes Paula as a sweet, quiet girl who is more engaging when she is around friends her own age.

“My exchange experience is going amazing!” exclaims Paula. ” I made lots of friends and my host family is super nice. I have learned how to be more independent and solve problems by myself. This exchange helped me to have a better level of English and to not depend so much on my family.”

Among her favorite cultural discoveries in the USA is her love of a classic American hamburger, and especially enjoys going to In-and-Out Burger with her friends and host family.

Among her favorite experiences on the PSE program thus far are attending the high school Homecoming dance, as well as a trip she took with her host family to Southern California, where she visited Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, San Diego, and Coronado Island.

“It was so much fun! We went to the Pacific Ocean. The water was freezing, but it was so cool!” she shares.

More than anything, Paula enjoys visiting new places and spending time with her friends and host family. In the two weeks she has left, her host family hopes to take her to visit Crater Lake National Park and other parts of Oregon where she can enjoy the state’s natural beauty.

“Hopefully, she will see some snow before she returns home!” says Kim.

Though she is still young and her future is unknown, Paula believes that she would enjoy living in America when she grows up.

“I think it is an amazing country, and all the people are so nice. Also, I want to travel a lot around the USA. I would like to visit Miami and New York,” she shares.

Sandra, Paula’s Local Coordinator, who describes her as being very sweet, caring, respectful, and easy to get along with, hopes that she does return. She leaves her with this final message:

“Thank you for participating in the PSE Trimester Program, Paula!  Keep practicing speaking English and please come back to visit!”

Written by Flo Ruiz; Edited by Ann Steffen

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