Foreign exchange student Marta Mariscal hopes to improve her English and learn about American culture during her sophomore year at SCHS


Eunice Oh

Sophomore Marta Mariscal appreciates the experience of her easy transition to America.

Sophomore Marta Mariscal, from Spain, hopes to travel the world and learn about more cultures after her sophomore year here at SCHS. Mariscal moved to the U.S. on Aug. 2, 2018 by herself with the foreign exchange program, Cultural Homestay International.

The program pairs one or more foreign exchange students with a host family. Their main goal is to “exchange visitors to come together and share culture, values, skills and life experiences,” according to the CHI website. Mariscal is currently living with sophomore Elianna Lageschulte’s family.

“I moved here because I wanted to learn how to speak fluent English,” Mariscal said. “I wanted to have a different experience without anyone I knew and meet people in a different country.”

Mariscal is fluent in Spanish, English and French. Currently, she is taking English 10 and AP French Language and Culture at SCHS. Mariscal has chosen to take non-accelerated courses with the exception of AP French since she will return to Spain at the end of the school year.

So far, Mariscal has been enjoying her year at SCHS. She loves the weather in America and the culture of extracurriculars at SCHS. In Spain, there are no rallies, cooking, art or music courses.

“I learned how school is not just for studying,” Mariscal said. “In Spain…you don’t have rallies and sports. It’s just for study.”

Another major cultural difference for Mariscal is that America is far more ethnically diverse than Spain.

“The Bay Area is like a melting pot,” Mariscal said. “When I arrived here, I was so surprised by how diverse the whole state was. I think it’s amazing how there are so many cool people to meet and things to learn.”

Schools are also larger than in Spain. Mariscal is used to a small school of 60, but at SCHS, there are close to 2,000 students.

Mariscal easily discovered her niche of friends. She has found a lot of people where she feels like she fits in easily. Mariscal said that everyone is very open to her.

Despite the enjoyable experience she has had here, Mariscal had a difficult time transitioning into a foreign country without her family.

“The first two weeks were really fun, and [I was] living the American dream,” Mariscal said. “After weeks, I realized I’m alone here without my mom and dad to help me.”

Mariscal hopes to stay in another foreign country and explore more about different environments. She also wants to learn more about Portuguese and Italian cultures. In the meantime, Mariscal hopes to take advantage of her time here and learn as much as she can.

“I realized that I’m here to have fun and do my best and make new friends,” Mariscal said. “I won’t know them forever, but I want to learn new things about how people live here.”