The Hudson Star-Observer plans to feature exchange students visiting the community throughout the 2018-19 school year. Get to know Juan Jose Mario Zambrano Hernandez, a senior at Hudson High School visiting from San Felipe, Chile.

Name: Juan Jose Mario Zambrano Hernandez

School you're attending this year: Hudson High School

Age: 17 years old

Grade: 12th grade

Name of your family back home:

Zambrano Hernandez

Name of your host family: Marnell

What is the name of your home city, home country: San Felipe, Chile.

How long are you staying in the U.S.?

I will stay for nine months.

What do you want to do after graduation?

I would like to go to university and study something related to engineering.

How did you decide to go on an exchange trip?

Since childhood, my dream was to travel the world and learn about new cultures, learn new languages and what better way to achieve it than living for a year in another country.

Why did you decide to come to the USA?

One of the goals I have is to learn fluent English so my options were Canada or the United States, and stay in USA.

What surprised you when you arrived here?

One of the things that surprised me most was the beautiful and green landscape.

What do you think of your host city?

It is a very beautiful city, but very dispersed and I miss public transport a lot.

What is your host family like?

They are great and very nice people; they have made my stay here very pleasant.

What do you like to do with your host family?

As much as possible, they involve me in their activities and these are fun.

What tourist sights and events have you visited so far in the U.S.?

I went to the State Fair, the Mall of America, and the Prairie burning festival

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

Learn to speak fluent English and know as much as possible.

What do you think of your host school?

It's very different from my school in Chile, it's a sudden change. I like certain things like modernity but it's a very strict regime.

What are some of the biggest differences you noticed between your home school and American schools?

It has many big differences as the number of students, in Chile we have a course with the same classmates always, the rest times are a little longer, but the school day is longer and we do not have the same subjects every day.

What are some of the biggest similarities you noticed between your home school and American schools?

The truth is that there are not many; it could be the number of degrees and the subjects are similar.

What is your favorite memory from your trip so far?

Spend a weekend in the cabin of my host family; it was great and had a great time.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far on your trip?

The language is a great challenge, but the biggest challenge has been getting used to the school and the pace of life of my host family.

What are some things you have learned about the U.S., and American culture?

I have not been here for a long time so I still do not learn many things, but I was pleasantly surprised by the culture of recycling and environmental care from home.

What did you learn about yourself through this trip?

I have learned not to be afraid to speak another language, even if I do not speak it well.

Would you like to travel abroad again?

Of course, I still need many countries, cultures and people to know.

What advice would you give anyone who's thinking about doing an exchange trip?

Think about it well, because it's not easy, not everything is nice, but it's worth it.

Do you think going on this trip has changed your perspective in any way?

As I said before, I still have very little time, but I've noticed some things and changed my perspective that the Americans are cold people.

What will you do after you return home?

The first thing I would do would be to reconnect with my family and friends, and then go back to the routine and prepare for my entrance to the university.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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