Visiting Chilean students see new perspective


Photo used with permission of Morgan Strahan and Camila Burgos.

Camila Burgos and sophomore Morgan Strahan take a selfie before the homecoming dance on September 21.

From September 20 through October 4, students will be hosting 10 students from Chile. The program was a product of the Spanish classes and a school in Chile, where students signed up to host a student. For the Chilean students, they wrote an essay as to why they wanted to visit America, and the students were chosen based on their writing.

Sophomore Morgan Strahan is hosting Camila Burgos, who is in her second year of secondary school, which is for teenagers ages 15 to 18. Although they only met recently, they have already found multiple things in common, such as TV shows and shopping.

“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Strahan said. “It’s like we have nothing and everything in common at the same time.”

According to Burgos, American school has many differences compared to her school in Chile, although she is still enjoying her time at FHS.

“I like it here a lot, but it is different,” Burgos said. “Here, you go around to your classes. In Chile, the teachers switch around the classes and you have the same class every year with the same people. Also, my school is like 60 people per grade, and it starts at 9 a.m. and ends at about 5 p.m.”

Strahan takes Spanish classes, but she and Burgos communicate mainly in English. However, Burgos’ fluent Spanish has been useful, primarily when it comes to school.

“Camila helps me with my Spanish homework,” Strahan said. “We mostly talk in English, although I like hearing her talk to her friends in Spanish; I find that fun.”

Throughout the school district, the earliest a student can begin a foreign language is the eighth grade, and many students start in the ninth. Also, an academic honors diploma requires three years of a foreign language class to graduate. These are both contributors to the language learning gap in the United States, according to ZME Science. In Chile, however, learning English is prioritized from an early age.

“I started learning English in preschool, so by now I am just as fluent in English as I am in Spanish,” Burgos said.

Throughout their stay, the Chilean students have had numerous new opportunities outside of school. They go on numerous day trips throughout the state, and also had the opportunity to attend the homecoming dance. For both the Chilean and FHS students, they have the opportunity to form a friendship.