By: Olivia Bachmann ’20
The ﬁrst day of school can be an underwhelming yet an exciting experience catching up with your friends and attending your new classes, but for junior Aranza Marquez-Mora, the circumstances are completely diﬀerent. Her ﬁrst day starts half way through the year and includes receiving her iPad, meeting with the vice-principal and coordinator, and being given a tour of Regis Jesuit, for she is an exchange student from Mexico spending the next ﬁve months in the United States.
Her and ﬁve other students are attending Regis to learn the English language, meet new friends, and overall, soak in the American experience that you would simply not receive in a foreign country. When asked why she chose to participate in the exchange program, Aranza said, “In Mexico, it is a long exchange program and the best one, and I want to perfect my English and just try something new.”
Aranza was not surprised that various diﬀerences existed between her school in Guadalajara, Instituto de Ciencias, and Regis. “First of all, the language is diﬀerent, and second of all, they only have two days of schedule. In Mexico, [the classes for] every day are diﬀerent,” said Aranza. She was most amazed when she found that her classes are only with girls, as Ciencias is co-ed. But amongst all of the diﬀerences, she has found qualities of Regis that she appreciates. “They have so many clubs and I love to see my friends in history class. I love my dance class too because I dance salsa and tango.”
It may seem that living in another country is demanding enough, but, as a requirement of the exchange program, she must host a student of the family she lived with in Mexico as well. That in itself has multiple challenges. “I think hosting is more diﬃcult because you have to be super attentive to everything, and with being hosted, everything is ready for you,” Aranza says. Although they are so distinct, she explains that she enjoys “being the new one in something” as well as having the experience of showing someone her culture and lifestyle.
Of course, there are many things to be excited about being an exchange student. Aranza has been to Boulder, attended the National Western Stock Show, and recently snowboarded for the ﬁrst time. With a smile, she says, “I’m excited about doing things that I cannot do in Mexico, like skiing and playing soccer and having friends and prom.” However, for her, everything is an opportunity to try something she has never been exposed to before and an invaluable memory to keep. Without being asked, Aranza says, “And yes, I would do this again.”