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Camila Zavala: Slinger's Peruvian Exchange Student

posted Nov 28, 2016, 4:46 AM by Jeffrey Wolf   [ updated Mar 6, 2017, 7:40 AM ]

By: Madeline Hoitink, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Posted November 28th, 2016

Camila Zavala is from southern Peru, more specifically Arequipa.  However, she will be staying here in Slinger until July 30, 2017 as an exchange student.  Camila arrived in the United States towards the end of August and is very excited to have the opportunity to live here for almost an entire year.  This semester, she is living with the Umhoefer family.  Next semester, her host family will be the Neidinger family.  In Peru, Camila lives with her two parents, her older brother, and her grandma.

Although Camila was nervous about this trip, this is not her first time in the United States.  She and her family have travelled a lot, so she has been to a couple other places in America: Florida and New York.  In addition, Camila and her family have travelled all around the world: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, France, and Switzerland, Brazil being her favorite.  Surprisingly, Camila has been to more countries than I have been to American states.

A significant difference between life in Peru and the United States is the amount of time spent with family.  In Peru, every Sunday is reserved as a family day.  This is a long-lasting tradition in her country.  On Sunday’s Peruvian families spend all of their time together, whether they stay at home all day or go out to lunch together.  This was a challenging transition for Camila, as it was hard for her to be away from her family, even on Sunday’s.  “My second weekend here was not very fun,” comments Camila.  “I missed my family so much.”  However, Camila has gotten close with her host family and is now enjoying her time in America!

School was originally intimidating for Camila, but she now looks forward to every school day.  The English in the classrooms was challenging for her to understand at first, but now, she has met many new friends and enjoys her choir and Spanish classes the most.  There were also many changes in school to which Camila had to become accustomed.  “American school is better,” Camila claimed.  “In Peru, we don’t have lockers or study halls, and we can’t choose our classes.”

This fall, Camila decided to participate in volleyball and International Student Club at the high school.  She may join the soccer team this spring.  She also had the chance to attend the majority of Slinger’s football games and her first homecoming dance.  

This is just a snapshot of Camila’s life in Slinger, and she is looking forward to spending the rest of the year here!