Harrisburg Academy was pleased to welcome exchange students from Guatemala for a seven-week cultural exchange program through Faces & Our Cultures.  The students arrived mid-October to join our community, our classes, and our homes through early December.  Javi resided with the Niles family.

These weeks have been the best times and experiences I ever had.  I can say that I have the best host family, and we have done a lot of things.

The first week was calm; I was starting to adapt to my new family and know more things about them.  My host brother, Parker, and sister, Alexa, were so good with me and so welcoming.  My host parents, Chris and Stef, are great people, and they always helped me and talked to me; we laughed sometimes, too.

My host dad, Chris, talked to me about a program he works in about leadership, and I was so interested in that.  I always liked programs and activities of that type.  We went with my host brother, Parker, one weekend, and I can say that it was a life-changing experience.  I met a lot of new people and made new friends.  I liked that program so much that I went with Chris to Penn State; he did a leadership program in a school with a lot of activities and great things for the students.  I met people there as well.  I’m so thankful to Chris because he included me and showed me the Key Leader Program.

After the leadership program, we went to New York, the whole family one weekend.  I’ve always wanted to visit New York.  The first night we went to Times Square, one of the places I most wanted to visit, and it was amazing.  In the morning, we went to the Empire State Building.  We went to the top and it was an incredible view, we also went on a taxi ship to see the Statue of Liberty.

We went to Maryland Aquarium and Museum — the aquarium was awesome with a lot of incredible animals, and the museum was amazing; it had a lot of first-edition comic books.

I had an awesome time with my family and in school; I met and made new friends.  It’s a great school with great people.  This is the best experience I’ve ever had and life-changing… I’m so thankful to my parents and host family for everything they have done for me.

Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.