Simon Velez; Foreign Exchange Student

kali j, reporter

The Foreign Exchange Student Program helps high school and college students to travel and study in a new country. These students live with a host family, and attend a local college or highschool. With being a foreign exchange student, there are so many rules and regulations that must be followed. These consist of: no drinking, or purchasing alcoholic beverages, no smoking, no illegal drugs, no travel without written permission, no “official” jobs, but can babysit, or mow lawns, no moving without permission from the SAI local contact, and no major life changes while away from home. 

Simón Velez is a foreign exchange student here this year from Spain, for his junior year of highschool. He says, “I love being a foreign exchange student, I believe it is an experience that everyone should live, not only because it makes you a better person, but also because you have the opportunity to see different cultures and meet new people, which is always good. I personally love it here, everyone here is kind and friendly, and makes me feel very comfortable and welcomed.” When asked about how he likes being away from home and living with another family, he says “I really like living with a host family, they make me feel really comfortable and we do a lot of things together. Being away from my family is not as hard as I thought it would be because I’m having a great time here and everyone is making it feel like home. Although, I do miss my family and friends back home.” 

Simon also thinks that here is safer than Spain, where he is from. He says, “I already knew about the laws and regulations here in the US and I consider it sensible that the age to drink is 21. In my country you can drink at 18 so I consider the US is safer in that aspect. However, I was really surprised that here, a 15 year-old could get a driver’s license. I find extrange that there aren’t buses to move between places in the city.” All in all, many of our Foreign Exchange students here are feeling welcomed, safe, and very comfortable when it comes to being themselves.