MHS welcomes Senior foreign exchange student


Noelani Elizalde

Foreign Exchange student Carolina Cocera practices interviewing with a PNN classmate.

As a foreign exchange student from Madrid, Spain, Carolina Cocera is here to conclude her senior year of high school at MHS. 

“I came to the U.S. because this country is like a movie. Life is so different from every other European country here,” Cocoera said. My brother was also an exchange student in this same high school and that influenced me.”  

“The first days are a little bit difficult. You arrive thinking that you know English so well. In Spain we have Spanish and English. It is also a big cultural shock. It is so different and I have to adapt to everything.” 

Although the first few days were a bit difficult for Carolina, there are some aspects she is enjoying at Merrillville High School.

“I like it so much here because high school is so fun,” she said. “People are so nice to you. Teachers want to help you in everything and that is a really good thing.”

The high school environment and experience in the U.S has many noticeable differences for Carolina.

“Here, we have many specific classes that I pay attention to because they’re so interesting. There are football games and dances, and we don’t have any of that,” she said. “In Spain, high school is only for study. That’s why it is so, so boring.” 

In 2008, Carolina’s older brother also attended Merrillville High School.

“My brother was here also in 2008 with the same host family,” she said. “So it is familiar. It is so weird living with a host family because it isn’t really your family but at the same time it is. The first days it is a bit uncomfortable, but when the time passes, it is like your real family.”

After being here for just a few weeks, Carolina has primarily adjusted to high school here.

“High school, the people, and the houses are so cool,” she said. “It is like a movie. You can choose many classes like Newspaper, PNN, and Photography. I also joined the Robotics Club.”