From Portugal Poway


    Imagine flying across the world to an environment entirely different from what you are used to. What cultural changes would you encounter? Some dream to explore new foreign places, and for Carminho Coelho, it has come true.

   Coehlo, a foreign exchange student from Lisbon, Portugal has been living in San Diego since she moved here in August and stays with senior Sophia Ott and her family in Poway. Out of all the states in America, was sent to California. 

   Coehlo has dreamed of studying abroad her entire life. Her friends back home finally convinced her to apply to make her dreams become reality. 

   One of her favorite things about Poway is the school spirit. But school isn’t the only adjustment she has had to make. 

   “Cultural shock is a real thing. One funny thing I noticed is that most people don’t use knives for dinner, that really confused me,” Coehlo said. 

   New friends, and teachers make the adjustment much easier. With three other exchange students, and helpful teachers she has formed unique relationships. One of her favorite teachers, Daniel Cook, has taught her valuable things, but he has also learned from Coehlo.

   “Carminho is a phenomenal student, and is a great source of knowledge. She allows everyone to benefit from her perspectives including myself,” Cook said. 

   Coehlo appreciates how her teachers challenge her in her classes – in Cook’s sociology but also Brian Fitzgerald’s human biology class. Adjusting in this environment isn’t easy, from the way teachers lecture to how homework is turned in, all the changes can be overwhelming. Fitz tries to make it as smooth as possible though. 

   “We take things for granted to be familiar with something, but she adjusts to the behaviors,” Fitz said. 

   Coelho has experienced a whole new lifestyle, while keeping up with the cultural changes she faces. At the end of the school year, she will be returning to Portugal to finish her senior year at home, but with memories that will last a lifetime.