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Víctor Amengual Flies into Westford

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Víctor Amengual Flies into Westford

An Instagram picture of Víctor near a school bus

An Instagram picture of Víctor near a school bus

Photo provided by Victor Amengual

An Instagram picture of Víctor near a school bus

Photo provided by Victor Amengual

Photo provided by Victor Amengual

An Instagram picture of Víctor near a school bus

Srinithi Raj, Staff Writer

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Leaving home, even for a short amount of time, can be a liberating, yet frightening experience for most. Every year or so, Westford Academy hosts an exchange program that allows foreign students to experience the culture of New England: more specifically, Westford. Víctor Vicente Amengual is a Spanish exchange student at WA taking on this adventure.

Amengual is from a small island in Spain known as Mallorca, who previously attended a high school named Mata de Jonc. He came to Westford on August 9, 2018, starting school the same day as the freshman, and intends to departure by this August. He is now part of the sophomore class.

But, before Amengual could even come to The States, he had to undergo the long application process, consisting of multiple tests and an array of paperwork,

“It’s really hard [to apply], and it takes a long time because I started in September of last year, more than a year ago. First, you have to take a written test and also a speaking test, and after that, you also need to have good grades and have to meet a lot of other requirements that not a lot of people have. When they finish checking that you come under all the requirements, they send you papers that you have to fill in, and you have to write a presentation paper, like a resume or transcript, around 1000 words. You keep doing interviews with other people; because I live on an island and there isn’t any [embassy] office, I had to fly to Barcelona and there you have to meet with people from an organization, which takes a while, and then you go to a US embassy. It’s not easy because you can do everything and complete everything, and then at the embassy they can say, ‘No, you cannot come [to the US].’ You don’t know whether or not you are coming until April the next year, which was a lot of stress,” Amengual said.

Adding to the difficult application process, there was also the uncertainty of where he would be placed in the US: would it be a carefree high school in a state with an amazing reputation and great weather, or would it be somewhere that is challenging and hard to adjust to?

Amengual was especially afraid because the embassy can send him anywhere in the world, as his school did not have any links with WA as some of the schools of other exchange students had. Fortunately, New England was on his list of places he wanted to go to, and they found him a suitable family that also happened to be in New England.

“My school in Spain and WA don’t have any relationship […]  I just came here just with an independent exchange company. I really wanted somewhere like here, New England, or somewhere near the big lakes, but definitely not somewhere like California. My best friend is in California, but it’s really similar to where I live, and I wanted more change than anything else,” Amengual said.

When Amengual finally arrived, he didn’t know much of what to expect. One of his fears coming to The States was making friends and whether or not he would be accepted.  His main goal was to meet new people, one of the main reasons he signed up for the program. Lucky for him, making new friends was not a huge weight on his shoulder. Amengual has made numerous friends over the course of the year, with whom he regularly spends time with outside of school.

Yet, as he had expected, one of the most difficult aspects that Amengual had to learn how to handle was how to manage his classes. Although Amengual is a sophomore, he is taking junior classes so he does not have to repeat the year back in Spain. Some of his classes include physics, algebra II, US history II, English 11, and his favorite, chemistry.

In addition to core subjects in school, Amengual also takes part in a number of extracurricular activities such as recreational soccer, the international club, ski team, and is thinking of participating in more activities in the later seasons. Photography continues to be one of the things he does in his free time after school.

“It was really hard the first two weeks to get adjusted [to new routines]. I was kind of lost the first couple weeks and had to do a lot of work. I was very confused at times by how the American schedule worked. It was difficult to understand the teachers, and the classes were also structured a lot differently. There [in Spain], we had all our similar classes like algebra, geometry, and such, all in the same block. Because all the classes are in English, you also get a little tired trying to understand stuff and learn at the same time, but after a while it got more fun,” Amengual said.

Something that Amengual enjoys the most about the classes now is that he is able to learn through experience and interaction, something he was not able to fully experience back at home. He enjoys the fact that American schools focus more on creative methods of teaching, and not the traditional fact-memorization routine.

Another minor culture clash that Amengual experienced was with his new exchange family.

“At home, I guess I had a lot of freedom, which I guess came from me knowing everyone in the area and that my family was completely familiar with everyone and everything. Here, my host family, who was very sweet, they wanted to do certain things as a family and spend lots of time together for more things: something I wasn’t as used to. I told them that I was able to make a lot of new friends and that I wanted to do some more things with them, and there were a few disagreements. It wasn’t a bad relationship between me and my host family, but it wasn’t a great match either. I ended up moving out and staying with a friend for a while, and now I live with a new host family that I guess I’m more comfortable with,” Amengual said.

Ultimately, there are parts of both the American and Spanish cultures that Amengual has learned to appreciate over the course of the time he has been in WA.

As for American culture, Amengual really likes the high school culture in general, and how it has enabled him to explore his interests. He has also grown to like the family relationships here, even though it was a bit hard to adjust to at first, and likes how people want to do things together and make time for each other.  

There are also aspects of Spanish culture that Amengual wishes to share with people here.

“I want to mostly share Spanish food and hospitality in America. I come from an island, and we have our own culture there, like holidays and more. I miss some things about home, but overall I really like it here in America,” Amengual said.

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About the Writer
Srinithi Raj, Staff Writer





Hello, I'm Srinithi, a freshman. Some of my passions include science and literature.



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