The true perspective of a foreign exchange student: Esperanza Modino Sanchez (’25)

While in Spain,  Sanchez enjoys a picnic on a nice sunny day.

Courtesy of Sanchez ('25)

While in Spain, Sanchez enjoys a picnic on a nice sunny day.

In September 2022, Esperanza (Espe) Mondino Sanchez (’25), a Spanish exchange student came to East in hopes of living the true American high school experience.

When in Madrid, Sanchez attended Colegio Joyfe, a private school that is much smaller than East. In addition to it being a private school, Colegio Joyfe does not have many clubs or activities separate from the actual classes.

Sanchez experienced a school day that no East student could ever imagine – classes go from 9 am to 5 pm, with a two hour lunch break. While this may seem like a short time to some, students at Colegio Joyfe stay in the same classroom all day long while the teachers move around.

Compared to East, Colegio Joyfe only requires you to attend through 10th grade. However, students must go through 11th and 12th grade in order to attend college.

Sanchez’s recent move taught her much about the differences between Spain and America.

“From my experience. people here are way more independent, because everyone has their own schedule, whereas in Spain I was used to doing everything with my group of friends, since we had the exact same classes,” Sanchez describes the impact this had on her, “Due to this, at first I felt really sad and alone, I was missing my friends and family too. But now, I know that has made me grow and be a more mature and independent person.”

Sanchez has helped herself by getting involved in numerous activities at East, including Latinos and Amigos, Hospital Support Club, Environmental Club, Decorating Club, and Spring Track.

East has been very helpful in Sanchez’s move to Cherry Hill. Guidance counselors Ms.Tracye Walsh and Ms.Yolanda Mclainn have helped her to create her schedule and meet new people. Additionally, Sanchez has taken the opportunity to go to spanish classes to teach about herself and her culture. She has had the chance of educating students taking Spanish on what life looks like in a Spanish-speaking country. Getting the chance to share what her life was like in Spain helps Sanchez to connect with the other students at East

Coming to East, Sanchez has learned how to be more open-minded and outgoing. Not only has she learned a lot from the other students that she is surrounded by, but she has learned so much about the American culture through East, the community, and her host family.

“Out of all the places I could have gone to, I think New Jersey is a great location. It is close to major cities, and it is also not that far from Spain, so the time difference is only six hours,” said Sanchez.

While Sanchez could come back to Cherry Hill in the future, she is only allowed to attend East during this school year.

Sanchez feels “at home” now in Cherry Hill, and knows that her host family has made a name for themselves in the Spain community as well.

“I know I am going to have a second home here, as well as they are going to have one in Spain,” says Sanchez.