Meet foreign exchange student Cecilia Gomes de Oliveira


Exchange student, Cecilia Gomes de Oliveira, traveled here from Brazil.

Jada Caldwell, Staff Reporter

Have you met any of our school’s foreign exchange students? Cecilia Gomes de Oliveira is a sixteen year old, Brazilian exchange student who joined the Cougar family this year.

Oliveira had been to America once before coming with the foreign exchange program. All she had known about America was the combination of her only visit and what she was taught in school.

“In Brazil, I was taught that Americans we’re unhealthy. People are not healthy and people are really patriotic,” Oliveira said. “In coming here, I found it to be true, but not for every American.”

After her first visit, she realized her love of the English language, and that is why she wanted to be a foreign exchange student. She had debated between Canada, the United States and Australia—English speaking countries. She eventually chose America because Australia was too far and Canada was too cold.

Oliveira states that there are a lot of cultural differences, such as meals and holidays. However, she is still adjusting at a rapid rate.

“It was easy because I, at least I think I am, a person who’s open to everything. So, when I got here, it wasn’t hard for me. I quickly adapted to this school, the food and the people.”

Oliveira is happy to be in America, but she misses Brazil. In Brazil, she loved to travel around and go to the beach in her free time. Cecilia has many things she loves to do in her country, yet there are things she wishes were different.

“I like the educational system in the U.S. better than in Brazil because here we have a choice of electives. In Brazil, school is harder, and everyone has to do a lot of classes while here you can choose electives,” Oliveira said.

Now, Oliveira uses her spare time to sing, dance and play with her host sisters. As a JV Cheerleader at our school, she loves that our school offers so many sports.

“I really love that we have a lot of sports at this school because in Brazil we don’t have as many sports as you do here. As for the clubs, I don’t really know because I’m not in any of them,” Oliveira said. “I don’t know how to join. My English is not that good, and sometimes I cannot understand everything they say on the announcements.”

Oliveira has faced not only linguistic challenges but social challenges since she arrived.

“Sometimes you think that someone is your friend, and they’re not. You talk to them one day and then the next day, you don’t. You talk to a lot of people because you have the same classes, sports and afterschool activities, but it is hard to make true friends,” Oliveira said.

Oliveira enjoys interacting with her teachers.

“My history teacher, Mr. Monte really likes to talk with me about my country. I told all my teachers that I was an exchange student, and they know that I don’t always understand everything they’re saying. They are good with me. I like them,” Oliveira said.

To sum up her American experience so far, Olveira had just one word.