Mexican exchange student enjoying challenges

Diego Bayardo Gonzalez, a foreign exchange student from Merida, Mexico, is eager to learn more about American culture.

Gonzalez is staying with the Chardoulias family. He said, “They are so nice.

I like all the family,” and he was grateful for the opportunity to learn from them. 

Gonzalez said his goals during his time at Cedar Falls High School are primarily to immerse himself in American culture. “It is not difficult. but it’s confusing for me because it is in English, and I don’t understand English so well, but it’s OK.”

Hailing from Merida, a vibrant city in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Diego encouraged others to consider participating in exchange programs. “If you have the opportunity to come here, you should. It is because it is so fun, it is a cool experience and it is good.” 

To participate in his exchange program, Gonzalez had to take tests and attend English classes to qualify. He said it was a bit challenging, but it was worth it.

Some other things are challenging for him too. He mentioned that “I don’t get all the slang in English.”

With plans to return to Mexico after a year at Cedar Falls High School, Gonzalez dispelled some misconceptions Americans might have about his home country, He shared that Mexico is much more “chill” than people think, not as poor as some believe and safer than led to believe.

He said Cedar Falls High School is more relaxed compared to schools in Mexico. The class lengths and basic subjects were quite similar, but there are more advanced class options here. 

Gonzalez doesn’t plan to visit his family back in Mexico during winter or spring break. He wants to make the most of his time in Cedar Falls and soak in American culture.

As a senior, Gonzalez is still weighing his plans. He knows he wants to go to college in Mexico but hasn’t decided which college or what he’d study just yet.

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