Foreign Exchange Student: Aroa Sanjuan Mas (‘24)


Aroa Sanjuan Mas

Rachel Ledoux, Editor

Every year, Bellows Free Academy welcomes foreign exchange students from various countries. This year, several foreign exchange students have joined BFA, one of whom is Aroa Sanjuan Mas (‘24) from Spain. 

According to Sanjuan Mas, not only are there obvious language differences between Vermont and Spain, but also cultural differences.

“One big difference that I like…is that you have a big variety of subjects to choose from,” Sanjuan Mas said. “When I arrived here, I could choose between a lot of [fun] and interesting subjects.”

Due to the welcoming nature of her host family, Sanjuan Mas said she isn’t experiencing much homesickness. However, she said that she is missing her classmates.  According to Sanjuan Mas, in Spain students have the same group of classmates for every class.

“This [means] that at the end of the year we have a very strong connection because of the big amount of hours that we have spent together,” Sanjuan Mas said.

She also noted missing the warm weather back in Spain. 

“I live 5 minutes away from the beach, so it is really warm all [year] long. I know that [the weather here] is gonna be really cold [soon]; I am scared,” Sanjuan Mas said.

Despite the fear of cold weather, Sanjuan Mas said she is enjoying her foreign exchange program.

“I have come here with a scholarship, so I really fight to come. I am really liking it because I am doing and seeing a lot of things. Traveling, meeting people, learning a new language…It’s an amazing experience,” Sanjuan Mas said.

When asked if she would recommend a foreign exchange program to others, though, Sanjuan Mas noted some of the challenges.

“I have to say that you have to be mentally well prepared because you are going to stay away from your family, friends and culture for nine months,” Sanjuan Mas said. “In fact, my program does not allow me to come back to Spain until the end of the school year.”

Sanjuan Mas also had a lot to say about how she feels about BFA so far.

“BFA is pretty good. The teachers are very helpful and comprehensive, which makes the classes a lot better. The students are so nice and kind, and I love meeting new people almost everyday,”Sanjuan Mas said. “In fact, the sports and variety of clubs that you have makes the BFA community a big family.”

Sanjuan Mas also added that her favorite class so far has been the health course “Taste of America.”

“We are always cooking new things [and] learning about the typical food of every region of the country, which I have no idea about. [The] teacher is [also] one of my favorites,” Sanjuan Mas said.

According to Sanjuan Mas, she is most looking forward to spring sports as well as meeting new people.

“I am really waiting to play tennis in the spring. [It] is the sport that I play in Spain, and that I would like to contribute to the BFA community doing that,” Sanjuan Mas said. “I also hope that I can meet more people [throughout] the year!”