Foreign Exchange


Alaina Yeager, Independent writer

Paz Cardenau, a senior here at Fossil Ridge High School, is on exchange for a full year. She is from Necochea, Argentia and is here through a program called Rotary. Paz is staying with her second host family as of now, she left her first mid January and will move back to her original host family in April.

Cardenau has been speaking English since she was little, so it comes pretty naturally for her. She said she never has to translate anything in her head. “When I count, I count in Spanish but sometimes English when I’m speaking and my dreams and thoughts are generally in English,” says Cardenau. 

Her dad is in the Rotary Club in her city, so it was really easy for her to know about it. “A lot of people didn’t even know that Rotary exists and I’ve always known about it and it was easy to get all the forms, it takes awhile but it’s worth it,” she recounts. 

Cardenau has known for years that she has wanted to do an exchange, “because I always met kids who were on exchange in Argentina.” She had to fill out the forms a year before coming because it was such a long process. “My sister did an exchange and we had an exchange student at my house so I decided to but I always knew I would do one.” With Rotary’s organization it is random where people go but she knew people here that could host her here in Fort Collins. “I am here for one year. I came in August and I’m leaving in July,” she explained. 

She explained that, “School is one of the most different things I think because in Argentina, we have only one class with the same classmates and here you get to choose your subjects and you change classes and classmates all the time.” The one thing that she loves is that she gets to meet new people because there are so many classes and the school is super big.

With her host families, she said, “I had luck because both my host families are really nice and I know people who have trouble with them but mine are nice and they are very good about me being either friends.” She said it was hard at first because she has to adapt to another family but it was easier for her because they are similar to how she is. 

Cardenau says that the hardest struggle was winter break because there was not much to do and she missed her family and friends because in Argentina it was summer. “You’re gonna miss your family and your friends and your life but it has much more pros than cons you get to meet new people you get to make a new life in a year you learn the language from the place you go,” she exclaimed.

The thing she misses most are her friends, family and her life in general. “I’ve been speaking in English everyday, it’s gonna be weird when I have to speak Spanish all the time,” says Cardenau. Going into the exchange, she said she did not really expect a lot because she did not want to create something that would not happen. She came with an open mind to all possibilities. “I’m very happy with the way this is turning out, It’s really fun to do an exchange.”