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The Wave Breaker

The great exchange

Villalba experiences one of many American traditions for Thanksgiving.

Richelle Kimberling

Villalba experiences one of many American traditions for Thanksgiving.

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As Daniel Villalba wakes up each morning he prepares to take on the day ahead of him. Some daily routines are altered, but one difference is a major one. Villalba is an ocean away from home.

Villalba is a foreign exchange student from Spain. His journey began when he arrived to his temporary home in Summerville not long before the school year started in August.

To Daniel, being a foreign exchange student is all about new experiences.

“I wanted to learn more English and live new experiences in a new culture that I don’t understand” he says.

Adapting to a new environment was not hard for him. “It was not difficult to adapt to life away from home because I had been living in the Netherlands for three years. Now I’m used to it,” Daniel explains.

Richelle Kimberling, English teacher at SHS, was encouraged to get a foreign exchange student because of the students she already had in class.

“I was speaking to a couple of girls from one of my classes who are exchange students and they mentioned there was one student who didn’t have a host family. Next thing I know, we were host parents” she says.

Being away from home can have a positive or a negative impact on a person, but Daniel is quickly becoming accustomed to life in the States.

“I didn’t really have any concerns [about him adjusting away from home]. I figured if he became homesick, we would work through it” she says.

“I just want him to have a good experience here, so that he will have great memories and stories to tell once he gets home” says Kimberling.

Kimberling, whose family was previously stationed in Guam, knows the value of sharing and appreciating other cultures.

Now she gets to share America with Villalba, and Villalba gets to share Spain with the Kimberling family.

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The great exchange