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From Bolivia to Barker

Barker High School has welcomed a new student into its hallways this school year. Through its American Field Service Club, Barker has been able to host a foreign exchange student, who is staying with a local family.

Adrian Reyes is 17 and lives in Bolivia. He is the oldest of three children and has a younger brother and sister. While Adrian is here, his family in Bolivia is hosting a student from Belgium. He says his family means a lot to him, and they are the reason why he finds himself missing home.

He does not regret his decision to come to the United States. He said he was eager to become an exchange student so he could become familiar with American culture and to meet new people.

Unlike here where we get a late start learning other languages, students in Bolivia begin to learn English in pre-K, so language wasn't a barrier for Adrian. He's says he is still glad to be learning more and correct English.

English isn't the only thing Adrian has been learning though. He's pushing himself with some of his other classes, too. He's taking the college calculus course and has been enjoying it.

In Bolivia, it's all about soccer. Adrian only has gym class once per week at home, and the only sport played there is soccer. He's had a ton of fun playing different sports during gym class at Barker, like a game called four corners, which is similar to kick ball. Adrian has also decided to be involved with the basketball team.

In the fall, Adrian was an assistant coach to Barker's modified boys soccer team. The team went undefeated.

Adrian said, "It was such an awesome experience."

He says he is grateful for the opportunity to coach the boys.

The time Adrian has spent here has also led him to experiences he didn't anticipate. December means snow around here, and Adrian had his first chance to experience it.

He also has found some new snacks to enjoy: peanut butter, pretzels and Twizzlers; none of which is found where Adrian lives.

Adrian will be traveling to North Carolina this spring with the rest of the club to stay with another family.

The school and community have both given Adrian a warm greeting. He's made a bunch of friends and has jumped right into his classes and school sports.

Adrian says his time here has been better than expected.

Sara Payne is a senior at Barker High School.

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