A cultural conquest

Welcoming a foreign exchange student from Barcelona

Story by Charli Hueter, staff writer

Laia Boter has only been to the United States once before, and it was to visit Lady Liberty two years ago. A vast shift of American perspective took place when she arrived in  the Sun Belt territory. Her home back in Spain is only ten minutes away from the buzzing streets of Barcelona’s urban district, where her parents and younger sister await her return in May. For now, she is a proud member of the Tiger tribe here at Texas High.

“Here there are a lot of options,” Boter said. “[There is] a lot more homework, whereas in Barcelona we have more exams. Everybody [in Spain] was all for soccer, and here it is football.”

Boter was given the opportunity to participate in the foreign exchange program through a scholarship at her school in Barcelona. While she is also a talented athlete, she achieved this particular offer due to her more scholarly assets. Thanks to a commendable grade point average, and superior testing capabilities, she was able to complete the compulsory set of interviews and paperwork necessary to get involved.

“When you apply for a scholarship, they try to find you a family,” Boter said. “The family chooses you. [My host family] is the Williams. They are very nice!”

The Williams’ will serve as Boter’s home for the following eight months, and so far language has not posed a considerable threat. She is proficient in english, however she initially did need time to adjust to the southern dialect.

“At first it was very hard to understand people because it is really different,” Boter said. “In Spain we learn British English, but [here] it is pretty difficult.” 

While the sport is heavily emphasized in Europe, gender segregation is a prominent component within the athletic industry.”

— Charli Hueter

Language doesn’t matter on the field, however, where Boter will be competing as a part of the Varsity soccer team. 

“I love soccer, and here female soccer is very important,” said Boter. “More than Spain – they just made soccer for men. Here it is more equipped.”

Fashion here at Texas High is also unique to Boter. Our jeans and baggy T-shirts create a relaxed and warm atmosphere in comparison to the higher standards for dress set by teenagers back in Barcelona.

“In my high school, everybody wants to impress people,” Boter said. “[They] buy expensive clothes. And here, I like it because the people wear jeans and T-shirts.”

In the span of these three weeks alone, Boter has already familiarized herself with the many quirky traits of southern America.

“I came to improve my english and become more independent,” Boter said. “The experience is totally different here. It has always been my dream.”