Morelia Robles Is Just Going For It
The decision to complete senior year of high school in a foreign country came easily to Morelia Robles, a Santa Clarita resident with a very interesting story to tell. After finishing three years at Saugus High School, Morelia took a leap of faith and made the bold, exciting decision to finish her high school career in Brazil.
Through an exchange student program called Rotary Youth Exchange, Morelia set up her stay in Brazil and divided it between three Brazilian families with diverse ethnicities: a Japanese family, an Italian family, and a Portuguese family. This experience was enough to expose Morelia to new cultures and traditions, and it provided her with opportunities to form exciting memories throughout her stay in the country. “It really brought me out of my comfort zone, but it made me stronger, and I learned to adapt,” she shares when asked what impact the exchange program had on her life overall. “I also learned how to relax, and to enjoy life,” she mentions, laughing as she claims that Brazilians tend to take life more slowly and enjoyably.
Morelia admits that she was “more nervous than scared” about the exchange program, though she was readily emboldened by her previous experience in another exchange student opportunity through Saugus High School that landed her in China for a summer.
However, despite her nervousness and reservations, Morelia enthusiastically shares that the experience was incredibly positive, and granted her the opportunity to experience a new culture blooming with diversity and energy. She grew a lot, laughed a lot, and, most importantly, learned a lot.
On a typical school day, Morelia would ride the school bus and arrive on campus at 8 AM, at which time classes would commence and run until around 4:20 in the afternoon. Electives such as violin and various fine art classes were available for students’ choosing – an opportunity that had been put into place for students the very year Morelia made the move to Brazil. Additionally, sports such as handball and soccer were popular extracurricular activities, though she mentions that there is not as much of an emphasis on school sports in Brazil as there is here in America.
The fondest memory she has of her experience in a Brazilian high school was that of the care and compassion of her teachers, stating that “the teachers really care for you and want to be your friend”, citing a few examples in which she developed a closeness with various teachers throughout the year. And, of course, there was the added benefit of having no homework at the end of a long school day!
Although her high school in Brazil did not feature many of the events associated with senior year here in America (such as prom or homecoming), Morelia reflects on her time in the country as nothing but positive, and recommends the experience with full enthusiasm to others who may be interested in participating in an exchange student program.
“Don’t be afraid to take the risk – just go for it!” she shares when asked what advice she had for students who may be toying with the idea of studying abroad. “It really gets you out of your comfort zone and opens you up.”
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