Exchange student adapts to new school, sport

by Abby Hurst/Staff Writer

Photo of Virginia Caballero taken by Izan Caballero Vazquez, Virginia Caballero’s brother.

Exchange student Virginia Caballero will be attending GC for the entire school year. Caballero, 11, is from Mexico. This is her first time visiting Greenfield.

In Mexico, Caballero spent her daily life going to school, spending time with her family, and playing soccer. She lives on the border, so sometimes one could catch her shopping in Phoenix, AZ.

She is enjoying her time here. She is on the girls’ varsity soccer team. “I like soccer. I play soccer,” Caballero said. Through soccer she is making friends and is able to enjoy her time here. “[My friends] are on my soccer team.” Caballero said. Kelsi McLaughlin, 9, who is on the soccer team also, said, “She is a great defensive player. She was shy her first day because she did not know anyone, but now she has lots of friends.”

Caballero said her favorite classes are her EB class and her drawing class. “I love to draw,” Caballero said.

McLaughlin admires how Virginia handles different situations. “What I like about Virginia is she is really nice, funny, athletic, and always has a positive attitude. She gets along with everyone,” McLaughlin said.

Caballero’s host family include Robbie and Allison Miller. The Millers have two children named Ella and Abby. Caballero communicated with them before she stayed with them. They emailed back and forth twice a week before she came to live with them. When she got to their residence, they gave her a day to rest, and then threw a pool party the next day to make her feel more welcome. Her host mother said, “Virginia is a sweet girl.We love the fact that she picked us to be her host family. She is kind, caring, and devoted to learning about the American culture.”

Greenfield is very different than Mexico, Caballero said. One of the differences Virginia has noticed is the climate. Caballero said, “I live in a desert. So here it’s too green, the temperature is different, and Mexico is really hot. [Greenfield is] cool.” She also said that the school is different as well. “We have one class[room].” She said has been a big transition to have to go from class to class in such a short time period. Caballero also said that the food here is different. “Here [Greenfield] has fast food.”

Another challenge she has had to overcome is missing her family and friends. But McLaughlin said, “She is doing well here and just thinks it’s different.” Her host mother said, “Virginia’s coming to the U.S. has been challenging. She had to give up her culture, family, and friends. She has adapted well and has been a part of our family since day one.”