Exchange Student Brings New Perspectives to LCA
October 18, 2018
“She’s honestly one of my best friends,” Ella Wilson (12) said regarding Dani Corrales. “She became one of them within the first few weeks that I met her. She is one of the most genuine people I have ever met.”
Foreign exchange student Daniela (Dani) Corrales sat dressed like a girl from the 90’s in participation of “Decades Day” for Spirit Week. She mentioned that she was nervous for the interview, but those nerves seemed to subside as she began speaking about home and what she loved most about it.
Dani was born in Cali, Colombia, but has lived most of her life in Palmira, Colombia. She has described Palmira as a very small town where everyone knows everyone. She said there is not a lot to do, much different than living in Lexington.
Dani first decided to go to LCA 2 years ago, when Physical Science and Chemistry teacher Mrs. Payne led her on a tour around the school. Dani has known Mrs. Payne since she was born, due to the many trips Mrs. Payne has taken to Colombia. Dani described her community’s attitude toward Mrs. Payne saying that when she visits everyone thinks, “Jesus is here.”
Her plan had not been to come and study, but after looking around, she became very intrigued by the possibility of studying here. Last December, Mrs. Payne informed Dani’s parents that she was able to come to LCA for a semester of her senior year. Last March, after her parents Luciana and Javier took time to save money, Mrs. Vance was able to send her family the paperwork to get her started on her registration.
Mrs. Payne said, “Dani is such a joy to have in my house and in my class!”
Dani discussed the differences in American high schools and her Colombian high school back home.
“‘The schedules are different,’” she explained. She went on to say there are different classes each day, and students are given a schedule and have no say in it. Every student has the same classes, many being science, Spanish, and English classes. Art and health are seen as hobbies rather than a class requirement.
Dani explained that her school in Colombia starts at 6:00 AM and ends at 2:00 PM. At home, she participates in dance, and practices 3 days a week, unless there is a competition, in which she practices everyday that week. But she says after school and dance, there is not much to do. Homework is not overwhelming or like the amount LCA gives. She mentioned that she chose not to be on the LCA dance team, due to the amount of work her class
es give and how different dance is here than what she is used to.
When asked about her favorite class at LCA, she could not choose one.
“‘All have something special and useful to me’”.
She does find difficulty in Government, as she struggles understanding even Colombia’s government system, let alone America’s. Overall, she finds joy in all her courses.
She continued to talk about the differences between her home and Lexington.
“‘There is more free time in Colombia, all day here you are super busy’”. But she went on to say the lifestyle is better here in America. She enjoys the organization and structure of a schedule, and even enjoys the busyness that the days bring.
She proceeded to discuss her favorite aspects of America. Dani loves the food in America, especially doughnuts, brownies, bagels, hash browns, and what she expressed as most notable, cookies.
Dani explained how she loves the people at LCA, and how available everyone is. One of her most enjoyable things is to simply hang out with friends and talk to them.
When asked about how people back in Palmira view America, she said young people view it as a place that allows freedom without consequences and involves partying all the time. Old people have a different take on America, and view it as a more peaceful place to live.
Dani described how the driving conditions back home are not easy, and that her parents do not allow her to drive due to the dangers on the roads. Dani said teens are able to drive alone and with passengers the day they get their permit.
“People of my age drive so bad and it is too dangerous,” she described.
She was then asked of her favorite things about Colombia, and she talked much about the kindness of everyone.
“People are so happy and excited every day,” she explained. Another one of her favorite aspects of Colombia is the food, especially empanadas, which is a fried pastry usually filled with beef and cheese.
When asked about her plans for the future, Dani was uncertain about several things. She is not sure whether she will live in America permanently at some point, even though she loves it here. She does know she will be attending a college back home in Colombia, where she is interested in psychology. Dani hopes someday to be a family psychologist. Unlike Colombian high schools, where boys and girls are separated, college will be attended by both males and females.
Dani said she will miss LCA and the many people she has met when she has to leave at the end of the semester. She is very thankful to Mrs. Payne for the opportunity of staying with her during the school year and the help with classes.