schuh ugg Exchange student finds time in Fox Chapel
Mili Ibanez has packed the life of an American teen into 10 months.
Just like any student new to school, she made friends, studied hard, attended the prom and marched in Fox Chapel Area High School graduation. This month, she will return to her home in Salta, Argentina.
Last August, Ibanez arrived via Atlanta and New York City before busing across Pennsylvania to meet her American family. The Edgecombes, parents Sandy and Dick, and their daughter, Margaret, brought the teen from South America into their Highland Terrace home.
Sandy said the family didn change much except to add more driving to their schedules.
“They come knowing they will have an American experience,” Sandy said. However, the majority of her time was spent in Pittsburgh.
“I like to try new things all the time,” she said.
Ibanez had some false expectations based on American movies and stereotypes. She thought there would be banquets of junk food.
While she learned that Americans eat healthy foods, too, Ibanez has come to love doughnuts, bacon and ranch dressing.
“I literally put salad on my ranch,” Ibanez said.
Sandy usually packed Ibanez lunch, but during the last few days of class, Ibanez tried the chicken, mashed potatoes and salad served at school and liked it.
Meals in the United States,
she said, are much different from her home, where people eat beef nearly every day.
In general, Ibanez found Pittsburghers more polite than the people from her hometown.
There are unspoken rules here, she said. The community understands those rules, and everyone in the neighborhood knows each other.
Language flowed relatively smoothly for the native Spanish speaker.
Ibanez started learning English when she was in the third grade. She watches “Grey Anatomy” and other American TV programs. She said after spending time here, she started to dream in English, which she thinks is neat.
While here, she took a math course, Advanced Placement Chemistry, English II and an anatomy class, which she particularly liked because she wants to become a doctor.
Ibanez now will return for her senior year in Salta.
She plans to leave her Ugg style boots here. She said she never has been so cold as she was this winter.
While she won miss the cold, there are many aspects of the United States she will miss.
“I grew up in ways I didn think was possible. After doing this, I should be able to do anything I want in life,” Ibanez said.
If she could, Ibanez said, she would take this country Halloween back to Argentina and bring Da de Reyes, or Three Kings Day, Jan. 6, here as a holiday.
She looks forward to afternoon naps and hanging out downtown with friends upon her return home.
“I never thought I would bond with the people here,” she said. “I have made so many friends I love.
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