María Fernández living the American Life


María, second from the left, standing with her host siblings.

3,658 miles away from home, fifteen year old María Fernández just recently stepped out of her life in Madrid, Spain to face the exciting obstacles of Lansdale, Pennsylvania for an entire year. At first a surprisingly scary dream was coming into a reality, but now a confident and excited girl is ready to have the experience of a lifetime.

“I am not scared now, but I am so happy to be here learning and making friends, I have an excellent host family and I like them very much. They are so nice!” explained Fernández.

Living with a host family might seem scary and a little awkward at first, but soon tight bonds form and strangers turn into family. The Broadhurst family has taken María under their wing for the next year and are showing her our amazing town. One new country isn’t enough for them as they have already traveled together to Niagara Falls in Canada before school started.

“My whole host family and I are now are like siblings, so it’s not weird,” said Fernández.

Since it is a direct exchange, Sophia Broadhurst, the daughter of María’s host family, is living in Madrid with the Fernández family, which makes keeping in touch even easier and a lot more fun hearing about both of their occurrences.

Education is widely diverse- how different subjects are taught and the learning environment, and the difference between North Penn and María’s old school in Spain is vast. At her old school, she had different schools for each learning level, but here she can have all different levels of classes and subjects under the same roof.

“I thought my school was big then I came here and I was like oh, my school isn’t big at all!” exclaimed Fernández. At North Penn, she is looking forward to improving her English and other subjects while simply enjoying her time in America.

Although she is a junior, being an exchange student comes with the perks of being treated like a senior. Fernández, like many other students are thrilled to be able to go to prom and to finally go to graduation. Another perk of attending North Penn this year is the sports because it plays a big role in her life and a part of how she defines herself.

“I love sports, and here you have everyday practice and I love it. Here is the WNBA and I love basketball,” Fernández answered when asked her favorite part of America.

For this year, Fernández hopes to share her culture, food, and traditions while absorbing the life of an American. But in the future, she aspires to be working after college in the field of music or sports. The brave decision to cross the world to live with strangers for a whole year doesn’t phase María Fernández at all as she will remember this experience for the rest of her life.