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EHS: Exchange student finds welcoming home with host family

Cecilia Gonzalez Gallego from Spain has been welcomed by her host family and is enjoying her new experiences in Ellsworth. Photo by Sara Tischauser

Families in the Ellsworth Community School District have opened their homes and lives to 11 foreign exchange students this year.

Cecilia Gonzalez Gallego from Gijon, Spain, said while she did not choose to come to Ellsworth she is very happy that her host family chose her to live with them.

"My host family is awesome," Gonzalez Gallego said. "My host family is very supportive, funny and good to me."

Host families welcome unknown students into their homes, and Gonzalez Gallego said her host family has really made her feel welcomed.

"They [my host family] really make me feel at home and I can't be more thankful of having them as a host family," Gonzalez Gallego said. "I feel very lucky."

While in Ellsworth, Gonzalez Gallego has adjusted to the way of life in the area. She said not having public transportation to get from place to place is different and the amount of people who drive places is a big adjustment.

"In Spain, we don't have our license until the age of 18, so it was very weird to see young teens driving and having their own car," Gonzalez Gallego said. "Also, here in Ellsworth, people drive everywhere while in my hometown [we] walk, use public transport or go by bike."

Traveling to the United States is something Gonzalez Gallego shares with her older brother Emilio and older sister Clara.

"Both of my siblings came to the U.S. so they encouraged me to come too," Gonzalez Gallego said. "But I have always liked to travel and learn about other countries so I thought it was a great opportunity."

While here Gonzalez Gallego has tried to participate and enjoy many activities including bowling, playing tennis, visiting the Cities, hanging out with her friends and host family and going out to eat.

"I enjoy almost everything because everything is new for me," Gonzalez Gallego said.

Enjoying her time in Ellsworth is important to Gonzalez Gallego and it makes her happy.

"For me, the most important thing in life is being happy," Gonzalez Gallego said. "Do what makes you happy and be with the people that cares about you and being able [to share] your happiness with them."