Share America students explore U.S.

This year’s six exchange students from the Share America program arrived on Wednesday, September 4, ready to meet their host families for the month long trip. The Berna family and the Mutter family are two families who decided to host students from Spain this year.
Senior Chloe Berna has been a host since her freshman year of high school, and she had an exchange student in her house in previous years due to her older brother.
“I decided to host a student because my brother started participating in the exchange program when he was a junior, and his students and him always had an amazing time. I loved seeing them grow as a pair, and I wanted to do the same thing,” Berna said.
Each host family has had the opportunity to take their students to different places that they would normally go to so that the students from Spain get a glimpse at their host’s life.
“I went to the Willis Tower, a school football game, a Purdue University football game, a White Sox game, the Museum of Science and Industry, Buckingham Fountain, shopping, and I am going to Central’s Homecoming,” said Cristina Tudela, Jackie Mutter’s exchange student.
“We have done way too many things such as going to the corn maze [and] Lake Geneva. I have also been visiting Chicago every Tuesday and Thursday. We have been [to] two football games, which are such a cool thing [that] we don’t have. I am just following Chloe’s life, just getting the chance to be an American teen girl for three week,” said Maria Mengibar, Berna’s exchange student.
Since they spend a lot of time together, each host gets to learn about the culture of Spain through their exchange students. Berna and Mutter have had the ability to learn more through Tudela and Mengibar.
“I’ve learned about Cristina’s culture, and she has also taught me more Spanish. I also now know what it’s like to have a sister,” Mutter said.
“I think hosting students this year and past years has taught me a lot about cultures. Before, I had never really thought about how people act in different countries, but when I talk to someone who’s from another country every day, I learn a lot from them about their cultures and traditions. Also, for the future, it has taught me about how I will be able to make relationships with my colleagues/classmates in the future, in just a matter of days or weeks,” Berna said.
Since the students that come to America are from Spain, each one of them faces different challenges while being away from their homes.
“For me, the hardest part is the food. In Spain, a Mediterranean diet is followed by most of the people. We love veggies and fruit and the flavor they have in my country will never be the one that they have here,” Maria said.
Each student overall learns a lot about the culture of Spain and the culture of America, while also being able to build a relationship with someone that the students may have not met if they did not participate in this program.

Photo Courtesy of Chloe Berna
Spain students pose together at a party.