Columbian exchange student enjoys time in Mills
Ashley Hagen firstname.lastname@example.org New York Mills has been a host to many exchange students throughout its history. Students come from Germany, Finland, Mexico, and many countries to get a taste of American culture and leave with experiences of rural Mi...
New York Mills has been a host to many exchange students throughout its history. Students come from Germany, Finland, Mexico, and many countries to get a taste of American culture and leave with experiences of rural Minnesota. New York Mills most recent exchange student, Paula Perez, comes from Columbia and has had many great memories to take back with her.
Paula has been staying with William and Connie Warner in New York Mills since her arrival in Minnesota on Jan. 20. She leaves NY Mills for her home country of Columbia on Nov. 15, having spent 10 months getting to know the American culture.
Paula says her stay so far has been wonderful and full of new friendships. Although some exchange students have had trouble with their host families, Paula has fit in well with her Mills family. Being able to live with a NY Mills High School student, Macailia Warner, has made Paula's stay much easier. On the topic of her host family Paula states, "It's perfect."
Big cities and small towns are obviously going to have many differences. Paula comes from a big city in Columbia, so coming to small New York Mills had much getting used to.
A major difference between Columbia and the United States, Paula says, is that Columbian parents have more control over their children. Because family life in Columbia compared to the United States is so different, Paula believes living in America has made her more independent and responsible. She says, "People here are more independent. There is more freedom here."
Paula's impression of America before coming here was what any typical non-American might think - "Everybody eats a lot and no one cares much about others." Even after living here almost a year, her opinion has remained the same to some extent.
Paula says her favorite memory is, "Being in softball and tennis, but mostly softball because I didn't have softball in Columbia."
When asked what she didn't like about her stay in America, Paula hesitated because she could not think of anything she disliked. But after mentioning the cold Minnesota weather, she says the cold is the only aspect of Minnesota she doesn't like and is glad she is leaving before the weather gets too bad.
After returning to Columbia, Paula plans to go to college to follow in her parents' footsteps and become a lawyer. After being asked if she would ever come back to America she says, "Yeah, I really want to, but I don't know when."
Paula Perez's overall American experience has been "so good, because you can learn culture and new people."
Paula offers good advice to anyone who will ever travel to a new country, "Try to be open-minded. I learned so much. Enjoy everything you have here. Time goes by so fast."