By Shelby Stewart
Two exchange students from Spain are liking Brandon Schools, possibly more than their own schools in Spain.
“I don’t miss a lot of my school in Spain,” said Paula Porras, 14.
“I think I prefer this one. The schedule is the most different because it’s like, every day we do the same thing here, and in Spain, we have a schedule for the week and every day is different classes. We have in total 12 subjects, so in final exams, we have 12 exams.
“Also, the teachers aren’t good,” added Julia Lopez, 16. “Like here, they help you.”
Porras is from Tarragona, in the eastern autonomous community Catalonia, while Lopez is from a small city near Bilbao in the northern autonomous community of Basque.
“My city is very small, and you can go walking everywhere, you don’t need to take a car,” said Lopez. “There’s also more public transportation.”
“There’s people that don’t have a car, and people live in flats (apartments), and here all of the people live in houses,” said Porras. “If you live in a flat, you don’t need a car because there’s public transportation.”
Both areas of Spain where the two live have a greater population than Ortonville, with Tarragona having a population of more than 130,000 and the greater Bilboa area housing more than one million people
. “All the cousins and family live together, that’s different here,” said Porras. “Where I live, you can go like every day to my aunt’s house or my uncle’s house, and here you’re far away. They’re separated, they’re not in the same town.”
Spain is made up of 17 autonomous communities, as well as two autonomous cities, each of the communities then broken down into provinces. Some of the communities, including Catalonia and Basque, have more than one official language.
“In the part I live in in Spain, I live in Catalonia, I speak two languages,” said Porras. “In the city that I live, you can go to a restaurant and you can speak in Catalan or Spanish and all the people know both languages.
So in the school, I study Catalan, Spanish, English and I did German for two years but I won’t do it again because it’s very difficult.”
Both of the students are enjoying the new experiences in America, in addition to school.
“You grow as a person,” said Porras. “When there’s a problem, you have to solve it by yourself,” added Lopez. “Not ‘Mom, can you help me?’”
Both of the girls also participate in sports after school. Porras is on the junior varsity girl’s basketball team and Lopez is on the Pom Pon team. Porras also plays basketball back in Spain while Lopez dances. In addition to extra curriculars, both have also found classes they enjoy.
“I like zoology,” said Lopez.
“We talk about different animals, and we also dissect.”“I like geophysics,” said Porras. “Not like the subject because I don’t really like science, but the teacher that I have in geophysics is like the best.”