Walk in their shoes
Get to know Gabriela Auricchio, our foreign exchange student from Brazil
Gabriela Auricchio is our foreign exchange student who has come here from Brazil. Gabi is a participant of the ISE (International Student Exchange) program. To be able to apply for the selection process, all interested students have to assure the organization that they preform well academically. “They don’t accept students with grades lower than C in my program,” notes Gabriela. To ensure that the grades are acceptable, applicants must send in their reports for review.
After submitting their reports, all applicants have to go for a couple of interviews to show their willingness for the travel, pass English tests, and fill in “a giant application and then send to the American Agencies,” as Gabi explains. “I had to wait for three months to find out if I was chosen for the program, and after I was informed, I had to pay for it,” she says.
Gabriela found interviews the most challenging part of the contest because she felt nervous when faced with these long tests. “I was almost quitting at one point,” she admits. But Gabi decided that she wanted to get the experience of a new life and know another culture. So far, she has succeeded.
“What amuses me is that when you are an exchange student, no one knows you and you kinda be whoever you want to be,” laughs Gabi. She has already met a lot of new friends and became acquainted with one more Brazilian student, here, in Colorado. “She attends Frederick school, but we hang out sometimes. We went to the movies, I visited a Frederick game at her school and we also go to Young Life together,” she says.
Gabi finds school much better in America rather than in her home country. “You can choose your classes and actually like them. Some of my blocks are pre-calculus, forensic science, English, and self-defense. My favorite ones are living on your own and PE, and I love my teacher in U.S. government. Generally, teachers care a lot more about students here,” she says. Another difference is that students move around after class. “At our school we stay at the same room and only teachers change.”
Here in the U.S., Gabriela has also gotten the chance to participate in sports. She is very happy with this ability and says, “Cross Country was one of the best choice I made so far. My favorite part was the team. First, I was a little shy, but everyone was so nice what helped me a lot. Plus the pasta parties were amazing! I am also in Track and Field, but it is in spring only.”
Gabriela thought she would go to school by bus, but as its route doesn’t include her neighborhood, Gabi always needs a ride by car.
She has no concerns or fears for her future here, but when she recalled the beginning of her exchange year, she said, “I had to find the way to treat people, since Americans are trying to stay in their groups and so are a little colder… I don’t mean everyone, but the majority, in comparison with Brazilians who talk more to each other”.
During the academic year at an American high school Gabriela has goals to receive a good SAT score and determine what she would like to do in her life after graduation as her goals. She remarks, “I would like to go to University of California, but I also want to visit Germany and stay a year there, considering that I could just study at the college in Brazil… I think I have to many ideas or choices, and kinda need to choose one.”
Gabriela has enjoyed the Americans holidays she has experienced. She says, “I went trick-or-treating on Halloween. On “Turkey” break we went to Chicago which is more similar to my city. I got to see a lot of tourist stuff like the Cloud Gate and the Willy’s tower, and I loved it!” After having great time on Thanksgiving day with her host family’s relatives, Gabi is looking forward for Christmas, her birthday, and skiing.