Spain to Montana: A 4,905 Mile Journey

Maisie Evans, Writer

What does it feel like to travel to a different country, live with an unknown family, and go to a brand-new school full of students who do not speak your native language? After a crazy COVID-19 year, Helena High School is once again hosting foreign exchange students. We currently have 7 exchange students, one of whom is Macarena Vazquez Vidal, from Spain.  

Vazquez Vidal, a sophomore at Helena High, arrived in Montana about 2 weeks before the 2021 school year started. Back home, she lives with her parents and her younger sister. She enjoys going to the beach, which is about an hour drive from her house. When not at the beach, she is either at school, hanging out with her friends, spending time outdoors, or just walking around in their downtown area. 

So far, Macarena is enjoying her time in Montana. She traveled to Glacier National Park where she did some hiking, and she went shopping at the local stores in Missoula. She enjoys skiing and is looking forward to heading up to our local Great Divide ski area this winter.  

She is taking advantage of the opportunities available at Helena High. In Spain, she played soccer for fun with her friends, but now she is a part of a team, making the JV girls soccer team. In the spring, Macarena plans on playing tennis for HHS as well.  

Although she is having an amazing time in Helena so far, she has noticed a couple major differences. Vazquez Vidal said that the food “is much sweeter than most things in Spain.” Another change is the classes Helena High offer. Her school back home just has the basics: math, English, science, and history. Here, she has the opportunity to take classes like yearbook and other electives that aren’t offered at her high school in Spain. 

For Macarena, being an exchange student is not as scary as one might assume. Instead, she sees it as a really interesting and fun experience to do something out of her comfort zone.