This is the initial write-up introducing the AFS exchange college students researching in West Hartford this academic 12 months.

Interviewed and edited by Jamie Cohen, AFS volunteer (now), host sister (1980s) and returnee from Japan (1984)

Meet Maria Carvalheira from Cascais, Portugal. She is 1 of 3 foreign trade pupils residing in West Hartford and attending Conard Significant School this faculty yr. She is also just one particular of 7 international trade pupils in Connecticut, out of about only 50 learners who have been capable to arrive to the U.S. this yr thanks to the pandemic.

In most many years, there are much more than 20 AFS pupils in Connecticut and 2,000 in the U.S.

Maria in the snow. Courtesy picture

Hello, Maria! Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Lisbon, Portugal and I’m 17 decades aged and a senior at Conard. There are only a few pupils from Portugal who got to appear to the United States this 12 months, and I’m so joyful that I’m a single. In Portugal I have two young brothers. I like swimming and carrying out athletics. I like hanging out with my good friends and spending time with my family members. Here in the U.S., I have two sisters: one particular host sister who is American and a different “sister” who is also an trade university student from Denmark. We share our host relatives. So this year I get to learn two cultures – American and Danish! We have two pet dogs here, far too. Like most Portuguese I’m very affectionate, so when we are all vaccinated and you see me in the centre, you can appear give me a hug!

Why did you want to be an AFS exchange student?

What are the biggest cultural discrepancies in between Portugal and below?

Food stuff is Quite unique. My host family members doesn’t try to eat purple meat, which is definitely a transform for me. And in this article there is small general public transportation like in Lisbon, so we have to always ask for rides to go locations. But here I get to experience a (yellow) college bus to school! Right before I arrived in this article, riding a college bus was a dream – I’d only noticed it in flicks. And what the college students don to school is actually distinct, much too. In this article I see a whole lot of little ones in sweatpants and tremendous comfy dresses, and in Portugal we variety dress up for college.

What have you liked about Connecticut and West Hartford?

I seriously like the individuals that I’ve met in this article! Of program, it is been really hard to do a good deal of items and fulfill a lot of individuals due to the fact of the pandemic. But the people today I’ve met are fantastic right here. I’ve designed superior buddies, even even though it’s the pandemic.

Maria (significantly right) with Conard cross place teammates. Courtesy image

What do you do outdoors of faculty right here?

I joined the cross country jogging group in the drop – I met a whole lot of really great folks. They all ended up tremendous, super sort to me, even nevertheless I had to be a part of late.

What would you like folks looking at this to know about:

Portugal: The meals in Portugal is actually, actually very good! You have to test pastéis de nata (egg custard pastries)! And Lisbon is gorgeous. You need to occur go to me!

Hosting an AFS exchange university student: I imagine web hosting is a wonderful possibility to satisfy one more lifestyle and other customs. You have to be fascinated in each mastering and also in sharing your personal society. If you are pondering about it, you ought to! It’s a excellent expertise for the students and for the host people.

Becoming an AFS trade scholar: It is like bringing your individual lifestyle to yet another nation and group, so it is important since your habits can make persons have their only opinion about your state.

Bauti from Argentina (still left), Maria (center), and Marlena Pegolo from Maria’s AFS liaison family members. Courtesy photograph

About AFS:

If you are interested in hosting an exchange student next year, or if your large-school aged student would like to take part in an AFS trade visit To learn additional about AFS in West Hartford take a look at:

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