Each year, exchange students set goals for their exchange year. Whether it’s wanting to try new things, grow as a person, or learn new skills, we love seeing them work hard and reach their goals. For Paula from Spain, the goal was to break records. With a passion for swimming, Paula was excited when she found out her high school had a swim team and that she would have the chance to participate. She shares her achievements both in and out of the pool during her exchange year.
“This year has been a very important year for me in terms of achievements. I’m a swimmer and I made the swim team at my high school. I have achieved many awards in different competitions, but from the first day, I set myself two very ambitious goals: to break a high school swimming record and qualify for the State Championship. I have achieved both, and twice!
I managed to beat my high school record in the 100 freestyle, which had been in effect since 2003. I managed to drop it by 1.20 seconds, setting a new mark of 55.75 seconds. For me, it was a big day and I was very proud of myself. They congratulated me through the school’s Instagram and published it over the public address system the next day!
I also managed to break, along with three other classmates, the high school record in the 4×100 freestyle relay. We managed to lower the mark in 3:53 minutes.
I appeared in several publications as the star of the day for my victories in the different championships along with other competitors from other sports disciplines. In addition, I was interviewed by some newspapers. This led me to be proposed as the best athlete along with 4 other candidates in other sports. The whole school was campaigning for me and everyone knew me, even the mayor! I did not win, but I am very proud of all the support I received from everyone, for which I am very grateful.
I managed to go to the district championship. I got second place in two races, so I qualified for the state championships. It was another very happy day for me, I had worked hard to achieve it. In the state competition, which was near Seattle, I got 10th place.
On the other hand, I got another achievement with STS Foundation. I entered the cooking contest they organized with all the exchange students in the USA and… I WON! I won with my potato omelette and my ‘mal feta’ cake, typical of my home. The prize was a dinner with my host family in a restaurant of our choice. We enjoyed it very much and had paella for dinner.”
We are so proud of Paula and all she has accomplished! Students just like Paula are currently setting their exchange year goals and wondering which American family will be there to cheer them on. Join the STS Foundation family and help them reach their goal of living the life of a typical American teenager for 5 to 10 months. If you are interested in helping a young student like Paula, we invite you to learn more about becoming a host family with STS Foundation.
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