Alejandra Caballero (12), Adam Biloveský (12), Gonzalo Crespo (12), and Paavo Tanskanen (12) are four new faces to our Franklin community. This past August, they all arrived to begin their abroad programs in Portland. Coming from all around the world, the four were anxious but thrilled to explore a new city, connect with new people, and experience a different culture. Biloveský, Caballero, and Tanskanen met through the American Field Service, or AFS-USA, a leading organization in international student exchange programs. Crespo travelled through Education Travel and Culture, a similar exchange program offering opportunities abroad. The four students add interesting new perspectives to Franklin as Caballero is from Paraguay, Crespo from Spain, Tanskanen from Finland, and Biloveský from Slovakia.
The students described their motivation to participate in an abroad program as a way to continue seeking new opportunities. For both Tanskanen and Crespo, this is their second time being exchange students. Tanskanen went to Italy and Spain in the ninth grade with his school and from there was inspired to go abroad again. Last year, Crespo lived for the entire year in a small town in Ireland. He described the transition from living at home to living as an exchange student as a bit shocking. “It’s kind of different to learn to call the people here family and feel at home,” he voiced. Crespo is not alone in his views of entering a foreign environment. According to Go Overseas, some of the biggest challenges studying abroad can be the overwhelming mix of a new culture and new customs. Complete immersion in a different environment can be intimidating; however, it provides students with an opportunity to expand language skills and encourages broader understanding of worldly perspectives.
In the three months the students have been in Portland, they are very impressed with Franklin and what Portland has to offer. “[Portland’s] a very creative city,” Caballero noted, after describing her recent trip to the Saturday Market. Crespo travelled to Bend earlier in the year where his host family has a vacation home. He really enjoys the abundant nature of Portland and its surrounding area. In addition to visiting the Oregon Coast, Tanskanen went to see the Pendleton rodeo in early September.
The students are eager to explore more of the Pacific Northwest and continue learning about American culture as well as forming new relationships at their new school and home.