Welcome To Windsor: Foreign Exchange Program Is Back

Due to the pandemic, the program did not take place last school year.


Courtesy of unsplash.com

Andrea Gonzalez Fernandez is from Alicante, Spain.

Olivia Limpert, Staff Writer

Imagine being a teenager and traveling 4648 miles away from home for an entire school year.

Andrea Gonzalez Fernandez is now getting to do just that.

For this school year, Windsor welcomed five new exchange students, including Gonzalez Fernandez, who is from Spain. While traveling away from family can be nerve wrecking, especially during a global pandemic, it can also lead to some lifelong memories. 

“It doesn’t really make me nervous. It is more exciting than any other thing I have ever done before. Even though having to take a train and a bus to go from one plane to another in a New York City airport is kind of scary,” she said.

Sadly, because of the borders being closed due to COVID-19, Windsor did not have the exchange program last year. It’s now back for the 2021-22 school year. 

“I’m happy we are able to allow students to come and experience our school community,” counselor Ellen Dorsey said. 

Gonzalez Fernandez, a senior from Alicante, Spain, is enjoying her experience so far. 

“So far so good, I’ve met lots of new people…It’s super different from my Spanish high school,” Gonzalez Fernandez said. 

One of the major differences is the way high school is conducted in the United States. In Spain, high school goes from grades 7-10, or students can continue to 12th grade if they want to continue with school. 

Gonzalez Fernandez said, “Back in Spain, I used to have at least eleven different subjects, and you always go with the same people, all of them have to be in your grade.” 

The size of Windsor is much different from the school in her hometown of Alicante.

 “I was told that this high school would be bigger, which it is, which I wasn’t expecting,” Gonzalez Fernandez said. “My last school had 700 students but we were six different grades. It was way smaller and we didn’t have as many facilities and classes.” 

The landscape in Missouri is much different from her hometown. Alicante is known for its beautiful beaches. 

“Alicante is a beautiful city but way different from St. Louis. I really enjoy the forest here and all the big trees and the deer,” Gonzalez Fernandez said.

Apart from school, she said she had been to St. Louis a few times.

 “I went to St. Louis a couple times. I visited the art museum and I loved it,” Gonzalez Fernandez said. 

While she is enjoying her time in the United States, she does miss some things from her home.

“What I miss the most is the food. Here it feels like everything is hamburgers, fries, pizza etc. I mean I like that but I miss my food. Obviously, I miss my friends and family, too,” Gonzalez Fernandez said.