Cloud Forest School exchange student Miguel

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Costa Rican exchange student Miguel will attend Catlin Gabel as a sophmore for the 2009-2010 school year.  Miguel is our 3rd exchange student from the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica.  Catlin Gabel boasts a 7-year relationship with the CFS.  The Middle School sends 8th grade Spanish students every spring to study language and ecology, live with home stay families and do service projects on campus.

I asked Miguel to respond to these questions before departing Costa Rica for the United States.  The questions come from the Cultural Transitions Interview Project.

Why did you decide to go for this experience?
*My whole life I wanted to represent my family, not even one pased the colegio or they just dicided to live it because of economic problems or just wanted to explore the world. Well, the thing is that going to the states and study was one of my goals since I entered high school and I knew that my english was really going to develop much better.
 
Do you think traveling outside your community is an important thing to do?  Why?
*Yes, because you can learn from different people, cultures and communities and maybe teach what you have learned in your community in order to have a better place.
 
What part(s) of this experience are you most nervous about?
*I really am not nervous...but I can say that living a long time without your family is hard.
 
What part(s) are you most excited about?
*Im excited about everything:
                -New friends
                -Being in an awesome school
                -Learning many new things  
                -Participating and doing  new things I havent experience
                -Having activities and using things my school or community cant provide
                -To know that for first time im going to the states and at the same time in an airplane
                -To visit the awesome Oregon and even more Portland
                -That my english is going to develop to higher level
                -That im going to be a speeking english a whole year
                -To go study to another country

What goals do you have for your time away?
*Develop my speaking in ENGLISH
*To come prepare as a new person/proffesionally
*Work hard to receive good grades in a high level

What do you think will be the hardest parts of this experience?
*Maybe living far from my family and working the doubble of hard now that I know is a hard school.

What might be your greatest contribution to the community in which you will live?
*Teach them of my community and help those communitys with problems.

What does it mean to you to be a citizen from Costa Rica?
*A person with different ideas, from a different culture, someone that loves nature and those who surroud them.

How do you describe yourself as a person?  How would others describe you?
*Someone that is humble, friendly, likes helping others, loves sports, doesnt thinks about him but for others.
*Others describe me as a nice guy, crazy, good artist, happy, good student, inteligent.

How do you expect to be viewed in your host culture? 
*As a normal person, no reason just because im from Costa Rica, they speak me in spanish. Im no different. Also respect and friendship. That they see me as a person that comes to learn and have fun.

What tangible items from your home culture might you bring along with you to share with your host culture?
* My little "virgencita". Costa Rica´s soccer team T-SHIRT. The "PURA VIDA" frase writen in
t-shirts and in other items. The national orchid( made from plastic material). The "carreta". The national bird-"yiguirro". Natonal flag, dance, song,...

What would these items tell someone about the contrasts and/or similarities between your culture and your host culture?
*That our religion is "catolicos". That we have many tipical things that represents our culture.