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Spanish exchange student learning about American culture, himself

Sergio Rivero

Spring Valley High School senior Sergio Rivero said the United States and Spain aren't necessarily all that different.

For example, friends hanging out in Spain do things such as go the the movies or bowling. In Spring Valley, kids also like to go to the movies and bowling as well.

"I think my favorite thing was going bowling because we were laughing a lot," Rivero said. "And then we went to eat pizza and that was a very fun day."

Homecoming week was also fun, he said.

"We don't have homecoming," Rivero said. "Here they do. So I love that because homecoming week is, like, very fun and also the homecoming parade. It was so exciting."

Though many things are similar, as Rivero said, some things are different. For example, Madrid is a lot bigger than Spring Valley. The biggest difference is the distance.

"In Madrid, we have public transport," he said. "It's easier because you are in a big city, so you have everything close to you. And here, you have to use the car."

Another big difference Rivero had noticed is the history.

"For example, in my country we have, like, a lot of history, because it's Europe," he said. "The United States, as a country, dates back to July 4, 1776, giving the country just over 241 years of history."

Rivero has enjoyed studying American history this year in class. He said his teacher made the class interesting and "fun to study."

He also has greatly enjoyed phy ed classes, because he loves sports.

Rivero has also been enjoying American food.,

"It tastes, like, really good, but I also realized that you have to be careful," he said.

He especially enjoys having bacon for breakfast.

"In Spain ... we have bacon but we didn't used to eat a lot of bacon," he said "So I like how it is done here."

Burgers also top his favorites list.

"My favorite burger is with onion, bacon, and cheese," he said.

Rivero has also gotten along well with his schoolmates, he said. Though school is different that what he's accustomed to in Spain.

"The first difference that I noticed was the size of the school, not the size of the building, but the size of all students," he said. "I used to have like ... close to 1,000 students in my school, and here we are like 400."

Because of the small school size, Rivero said, "This is a little place, and everybody tell(s) everything to everyone."

He said he doesn't enjoy that phenomena. But he does like the fact he can "know everyone here."

"Because there are not a lot of people, so you can know everyone," he said. "I like that."

Rivero said he chose to visit the United States to improve his language skills.

"And also to learn another culture," he said. "To be in a different place and to see how different it is from my country."

He's learned a lot more than that so far. He's learned a lot about himself. He's been trying to spend more time with his host family and less with technology.

"I realized, it's also important to spend time with your own family," he said.

After high school, Rivero said he plans to go on to college. He said he would be interested in attending a U.S. university.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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