Eliana Briceno’s daughter, Valeria, is taking part in a student exchange program at Malvern Collegiate Institute, through which she will travel to Spain in March, to attend classes and live with a host family for two weeks.
In October, the family hosted Teresa, from Spain, who attended classes at Malvern and took the opportunity to enjoy life in the Beach, with visits to downtown, for two weeks. Both girls are in grade nine.
Eliana asked questions of both Teresa and Valeria about their experiences so far.
Questions for Teresa, from Spain:
What did you know about Canada before coming?
Why Canada, and Toronto?
It is a big city and it is different than what we are used to.
What are your thoughts about Canadians?
People don’t show their feelings, they are colder than the people in Spain.
What do you think about the living conditions in Toronto?
Houses look more like village houses, lots of trees, and it is a huge contrast with the downtown that’s so cosmopolitan.
Do you feel safe in Toronto?
Yes, I feel more secure here than in Valencia.
What do you think about the weather?
What was you major concern before coming?
Not knowing the hosting family.
What were you looking to find here?
To learn English and visit a new city.
What are the major differences between your school and Malvern?
The size of the school – mine is smaller, and the level of education is more advanced in Spain.
What is one of the main differences between Valencia and Toronto?
The transportation system, that you don’t have to pay again when you get off the subway to take the bus.
If you ever have the opportunity to move to Toronto would you do it?
Which differences have you found between what your age group do in Spain and here?
The schedule in Spain. We go late to bed, and we have dinner between 9 or 10 p.m, and stay out until 10 or 11 p.m.
What have you been missing from Spain since you have arrived?
What have you liked the most?
The downtown core and the CN tower.
What have you not liked so far?
The lack of affection. In Spain we kiss our friends and family when we greet them and when we say goodbye.
If you had the power to change Toronto, what would you change?
I would put heaters in the streets.
What are your thoughts about hockey, did you like it? Or do you prefer to watch Barcelona play football?
I love the speed of hockey, and find that it is a very interesting game.
If you could take something or someone from Toronto what would you take?
I would take my hosting family.
What are you taking back in your heart from this experience?
A new way of living.
Questions for Valeria, from Malvern:
What expectations do you have of this exchange?
To have fun, makes friends and meet a new culture.
What were your concerns about hosting a person that you didn’t know?
That maybe we would not get along.
What have you found that you and Teresa have in common?
We are very similar personality-wise. We share the same interests.
Do you have any concern about going to Valencia at your student’s house?
Not at all, I feel as if I have known her forever. I also got the chance to meet her friends and they are a blast to be around.