Spain to Dmas


Ale Hidalgo

Immersed in as many activities as possible, Ale Hidalgo (right) joined the winter cheer team.

Ale Hidalgo, Staff Writer

   My name is Alejandra “Ale” Hidalgo, I am a junior and foreign exchange student from Madrid, Spain.

   People always ask me, “How can you be an exchange student?” I never really know how to explain the way I feel when people ask me this question. It feels amazing because it is something I know that I will never experience again and never forget. At the same time, sometimes it sucks. I always think about why I wanted to do it, constantly questioning myself. 

   Some people ask, “How can you be this far from your family and friends and live with a ‘strange’ family that you’ve never met before?” To be honest, it is very hard being away from my family and friends for a whole school year. However, I have developed a good relationship with the family I am living with and have made so many amazing friends. 

   I started learning English in Spain by watching movies and listening to songs. I didn’t really understand them at first but the moment I did it felt so good. In Spain they teach English, but only the basics. It was a huge change when I came to the U.S. because I pretty much thought I knew and understood English. Once I heard the way Americans speak, it is completely different. It took a few months to adjust to this, but friends helped me a lot. 

   Aside from missing family and friends, the school part was difficult at first. Schooling is more difficult in Spain than the U.S. Here you have to walk to each class. Back in Spain teachers come to you. Besides that, teachers here at Damascus have made me feel welcomed and have helped me throughout this year. 

   Even though I am half way through my experience, I still have four more months. It’s sad for me to think about it because it reminds me that I won’t be able to live this again,and maybe I won’t see all the people I’ve met this year ever again. On the other hand, I’m excited to go back to Spain, see my family and friends, tell them everything I’ve learned this year and all the experiences I’ve had. 

   I know this experience taught me a lot of new things that will help me now and in the future, but I still have many more things to learn. Hopefully I will be able to visit the U.S. again.