Three Network students from Spain exchange life and education experiences


Camila Oliva '24

Three Spanish exchange students visit the Sacred Heart Greenwich community.

From Barcelona’s sunny beaches to Sevilla’s vibrant architecture, three Network Exchange students share their Spanish lifestyles while visiting Sacred Heart Greenwich’s campus for a month.  María del Castillo Gonzalez and Carlota Rodríguez, from Santa María del Valle in Sevilla, and Clara Casacuberta, from Sagrat Cor Sarrià in Barcelona, compare their daily lives to that of Greenwich students.  The students embrace American culture by trying new foods, participating in school activities, and visiting new cities. 

María and Carlota arrived in the first week of September, and have since accustomed themselves to the lives of their hosts, sophomores Maggie Finn and Meghan McGrath, respectively.  In Spain, students remain in one classroom for the entirety of the day, but at Sacred Heart, the students change classrooms every period.  María and Carlota have adapted to the different mealtimes.  They normally eat lunch at 2:30 p.m. and dinner at 9 p.m., whereas their host families eat lunch at 12:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.  María expresses her liking of eating lunch with new friends. 

“During school, I am used to staying in the same classroom all day, so I don’t change after every class like you do here,” María said.  “I finish school at 2:30, so I don’t have lunch at school.  Here, I think it is so much fun to have lunch because it is a nice way to spend time with your friends and socialize with them.”

Maggie welcomes her exchange student to the United States.  Courtesy of Maggie Finn ’25

The Spanish exchange students gained new school and life experiences during their visit.  From Mystic, Connecticut, to New York, New York, the girls explored nearby cities and immersed themselves in American culture.  María and Carlota enjoyed visiting Times Square and the tall buildings that span across New York City.  Coming from different cultures, the students express how they embrace new ones with open minds.  Carlota explains her love for exploring new cultures and cities through traveling.

“I like to travel, so seeing new places was very beautiful because I got to see another culture and meet new people,” Carlota said.  “The people I have met through this school are amazing, so I hope to keep in touch with them even when I return home. ” 

Clara immersed herself in the Sacred Heart community by joining the junior varsity A volleyball team.  She does not have the opportunity to participate in sports at her school, so she enjoyed engaging with the athletic program during her visit.  Although she plays volleyball outside of school in Spain, she explains how she prefers the dynamic of school sports.  Clara also notes the activities she will miss most when she returns to her native country.

Clara joins the volleyball team on the court.  Camila Oliva ’24

“I will miss going to volleyball practice every day when I go home,” Clara said.  “I will miss not only playing the sport, but also the girls that I met on the team.  They have shown me how to play well together as a team and how enjoyable a sport can be.”

María and Carlota recognize the change in pace from living in urban areas to now suburban communities.  Living in a city, Clara mentions her ability to walk to school and meet with her friends.  She wakes up at 8 a.m. every day to go to school, but with her host, sophomore Lilly Dallesandro, she wakes up at 6:30 a.m. for a long drive to school.  Carlota comments on the change in the atmospheric environment between Sevilla and Greenwich. 

“Here, it is a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, and since I come from a busy city, I like it a lot more,” Carlota said.  “My life at home is much busier because I play sports outside of school, and I also go to an English academy outside of school.  When I got here it was nice because I took the time to relax.”

Featured Image by Camila Oliva ’24